condition trumps location, earns $1,875/ft in busy corner of northeast Tribeca

not quite a million over 2007 purchase

The “1,200 sq ft” Manhattan loft #15C at 395 Broadway that just sold at $2.25mm has seen some upgrades since it was bought by the recent sellers back in April 2007 at $1.295mm, but it is hard to say how much, beyond carpentry. The overall Manhattan residential real estate market is up only 16% from the April 2007 purchase and September 23 sale (per the StreetEasy Manhattan Condo Index, of course), while this lovely little loft is up 74%. Guesstimate 2 new spectacular baths, a little kitchen tinkering, and some carpentry to create two rooms in what was formerly an open loft at … what? … $200,000?? That’s gotta be high, but if you add $200,000 to the April 2007 purchase price, the sellers’ gain drops to an even 50%, still vastly over-performing in relation to the overall market.

Let’s start with what the recent sellers started with. The StreetEasy listing from 2007 lacks photos or floor plan, and the description just peters out mid-sentence. But here’s the relevant except from the broker babble back then from our listings system:

Currently configured as an open loft, this easy 2-bedroom 2-bath is situated on the top floor of an excellent prewar elevator condo building. 4 huge north facing windows and an oversized skylight allow light to stream in all day. Designer chefs kitchen with Gaggenau oven and range, Meile dishwasher, Viking refrigerator, Varenna mini bar and cabinetry, and a Sub zero wine cooler, 11 foot ceilings, 5 inch Brazilian cherry plank floors, walk in closet with custom shelving, and a magnificent Kohler bath with a double 2 person steam shower and Jacuzzi tub that leaves nothing to be desired. Apartment even has its own water pump for extra power.

The 2014 babble about the kitchen sounds similar:

fully-equipped chef’s kitchen with a Gaggenau oven and range, brand new Sub-Zero refrigerator and Sub-Zero wine refrigerator, Meile dishwasher, Varenna mini bar and cabinetry….

And the 2007 kitchen photo in our data base suggests that the new kitchen is basically the old one, with the kitchen shifted from the back wall to the near corner, with new facing on some cabinetry:

the new frig is where this wastebasket is, the same cabinets are now blackened, and maybe the island has been re-shaped, right?

The new one looks like this, of course:

(from Town, of course) that’s a “brand new Sub-Zero”, replacing the old Viking frig, and a new island top; the rest looks familiar

There’s still Brazilian 5″ flooring and central air (specified in our listing system, though not in the babble) but the formerly deluxe (single) bath (no picture survives, alas, but it was a “magnificent Kohler bath with a double 2 person steam shower and Jacuzzi tub that leaves nothing to be desired”) is now two jazzy “spa-like baths are featured on Houzz, the largest collection of design and decorating ideas on the internet”. In other words, they ripped out one lovely bath in favor of two different and lovely baths. You own it, you can do what you like, but it is not likely a rational market would give them credit for more than a second bath, in terms of added value. The new home theater also adds some value, but that can’t be significant at this scale.

Again: bought for $1.295mm in April 2007, upgraded as noted, and re-sold 3 weeks ago for $2.25mm. Nicely played, folks; nicely played.

loving baths, and closets

The floor plan tells you how much those recent sellers like baths and closets, Of course, the dimensions given are only approximate and the drawing is not to scale (blah, blah, blah disclaimers!), but compare the scale of the master bedroom to that of the master bath and that humongous closet:

it can’t be a coincidence that there are no dimensions given for either bedroom

The master utilities, taken together, are longer and wider than the master bedroom, and are maybe half again as large. The study/guest room is as wide (er, as narrow) as the master closet, but shorter. Not to mention irregular due to the sellers’  need for a second full bath. From the kitchen photo comparison above, it seems pretty clear that the 2014 sellers extended the kitchen and the master bath and the walk-in closet east (by the width of the new frig), and that the principal renovation effort was behind (south of) the kitchen wall.

Since that’s an area of about 400 sq ft, I doubt they spent as much as the $200,000 guesstimated above.

location, location, and location are, in each case, a matter of taste

It is the job of an agent to babble in an enthusiastic manner, about things for which one can be enthusiastic about. This qualifies:

The prime Broadway address between Walker and White Streets sits amid excellent gourmet dining, shopping, incredible schools and transportation options, and in close proximity to City Hall, SoHo, TriBeCa, Nolita and Chinatown. And steps from a brand new Gourmet Garage on Franklin.

In Tribeca terms, “395” can qualify as a “prime” Broadway address, as there are none better (yet) in Tribeca. And the location is “amid” a bunch of stuff and “in proximity to” even more stuff. Indeed, even a cynic would admit that there is very good subway access here, especially compared to prime Tribeca buildings west of Hudson, and north. But if you’ve walked this block of Broadway you know that no one will step out of the lobby and think “charming” when they regard the pedestrian frenzy (alongside the gentlemen-start-your-engines experience when the canal Street  light changes to release the tour buses, taxis and trucks that have been impatiently waiting). In other words, the positives of this precise location will appeal to some in the buyer pool (obviously), but will be at least a negative (if not a deal-breaker) for others.

At the moment, the street level retail along Broadway is not very edifying, even extending up into Soho. Nor are there any high end loft buildings until you get to Franklin at least, and then not many.

but wait … isn’t $1,875/ft evidence of a high-end loft building?

395 Broadway is a lovely (condo!) building, but it will never be confused with a high-amenity condo, even with “live-in super who accepts packages, laundry room on every other floor, a bike room, and a stunning planted roof deck with 360-degree views”. Until a few years ago, The Market consistently put lofts here in a non-prime price zone for Tribeca. Manhattan Loft Guy readers have gone here with me a lot over the years, and this is the second sale here that is not only above ask (here, it was a mere $1.98mm, I’ve forgotten to note until now) but a sale that will be impossible to (rationally) fit into comps.

I touched on this in my February 15, 2013, about that bidding war for (not THAT) well-dressed 395 Broadway loft, about the pretty spectacular#14A  when it sold for $2.106mm off an ask of $1.675mm. See that post for links to many prior Manhattan Loft Guy visits to 395 Broadway, but here’s how I concluded that post:

Stepping back from this dynamic sequence to cold hard facts, before October 25, 2012 no one looking at market data could have thought that loft #14A was worth anything close to $2.016mm. The initial ask was in the range of a reasonable upper limit, based on 6 data points of lofts of the same size, in the same building, from December 2010 through August 2012, all in a reasonably narrow range. There is no reason to think that anything about this building became more attractive to The Market in the Fall of 2012. There are no reasonable comp adjustments in favor of #14A over the prior 6 sales that I can imagine that justify #14A at 48% more than the prior building high sale.

I am sure there was no mortgage contingency on the winning bid. I would love to see the bank appraisal if there was a mortgage.

Since the #14A sale at $2.106mm 21 months ago, the overall Manhattan residential sales market is up (thanks StreetEasy!) 20% and there have been no fewer than five sales at 395 Broadway before #15C, at $1.9mm, $1.825mm, $1.589mm, $1.65mm, and $1.55mm (StreetEasy build page, here), with those last three having been within the last 5 months. In other words, The Market treated the #14A super sale at $1,680/ft as an outlier.

But here’s #15C at $1,875/ft. Well within #14A plus 20%, but then you have to ignore the five intervening sales. And the fact that #14A had better views than #15C does, and may be even more nicely renovated. As I said above, “I am sure there was no mortgage contingency on the winning bid. I would love to see the bank appraisal if there was a mortgage.”

corner to corner, northwest to northeast in Tribeca

The buyer pool for loft #15C has absolutely no overlap with the pool for the loft three times larger that I hit yesterday (quiet & “quintessential” northwest Tribeca loft in move-in condition sells at $843/ft). But c’mon … $843/ft and $1,875/ft.

I find this pair fascinating. That one punished for new development that will not “obstruct” the south or west windows, despite being in a “high rent” micro-nabe; this one not punished for being on a heavy commercial strip, and lacking brag-worthy views. That one needing a full renovation (at least, at its price point); this one being ‘done’, but only for the 1-bedroom plus guest room buyer. That one with a great deal of loft character; this one … not. That one a coop; this one, a condo.

And, of course, $843/ft and $1,875/ft …  c’mon.

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2 comments on “condition trumps location, earns $1,875/ft in busy corner of northeast Tribeca
  1. Danny Davis says:

    I enjoyed reading this. I happen to the broker who successfully sold both 14A and 15C for huge numbers… and several others in the building over the years. Curious to know, did you actually visit apt 15C? And just to let you know, 14A did in fact appraise! Have a good day. DD

  2. Sandy Mattingly says:

    Double D: Nope, I didn’t get to see #15C, nor did I see #14A. (Though I had a client you showed #14A to just as The Super Storm Technically NotKnown As “Sandy” was about to hit; he bid, but too low.) Curious about how you feel the finishes compare in the two units: comparable, though of a different style, or was one superior to the other? And why did it take #15C so long to get into contract?

    I’ve been following this building for years, and have had different buyers bid on different units, though none has purchased. I *am* surprised #14A appraised, as I just don’t think the comps (especially as applied by appraisers who follow the rules) can support that price. (Not saying it’s not worth it, of course.)

    Good to see you here on my turf, Danny. Thanks for stopping by, and for sharing. And have a good day, yourself.

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