for 69 Murray Street loft, The Peak was then, and almost now

off by a rounding error
The “1,800 sq ft” Manhattan loft on the 8th floor at 69 Murray Street that sold in a very Peak-y sale on January 31, 2008 at $2.275mm just resold in the same condition at $2.25mm. That’s a trivial ‘change’ in value of $25,000 or 1% for those of you who haven’t had your coffee yet this morning. I’d call that essentially flat to a Peak sale. And, in that, impressive. (Note to self  … find more such resales at Peak on the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008.)

You have to go the the Stribling site to see pictures, but the floor plan is on StreetEasy. This is your classic Long-and-Narrow footprint with a rather extravagant set of 7 windows on the long east wall. Plumbing is widely spaced on that east wall and there’s a stack for the washer-dryer on the west fall. At 23 feet wide at each narrow end, there is room for multiple rooms in the back; in this case, a master suite and a sequence of home offices, though this could easily support side-by-side master and second bedroom. Typical of full-floor Manhattan loft footprints, the middle of the loft is more narrow than the ends, where the common hallway, fire stair and elevator pinch into the residential footprint, but in this case that is a relatively long pinch (more than half the length).

a long pinch
The grown-ups have allocated to themselves a master suite with two home offices at the rear, leaving anyone else who sleeps there to use one of the two “sleep areas” in the pinched area along the long east wall. Props to the floor plan designer: the sleep areas are big enough to be legal “bedrooms” and each has a window; I assume they are called “sleep areas” because those windows are on the lot line. Here’s where that pinch truly pinches: in a loft of “1,800 sq ft”, the smaller sleep area is 9 x 11 feet before considering that it is further pinched by a structural column. That’s what can happen when the grown-ups take up all the prime sleeping space across the broad rear.

The pictures show a lovely loft with the selling point being those large living room windows. (With 11 foot ceilings and 3 exposures up front, that living room screams ‘volume’.) The kitchen appears to have been updated in the not too distant past, but the broker babble emphasizes bones, not finishes:

This home with 11 ft ceilings and WBFL enjoys RARE open city views through large picture windows in the open living/dining/ kitchen area. Currently this loft accommodates a master bedroom, two additional sleeping areas PLUS two offices (one with a large window). Fully finished with prewar details and featuring C/A/C, private storage area, great closets, laundry room with sink and hardwood floors….

Of course the sellers wanted more than they paid at The Peak, but they were negotiable: they came out at $2.495mm on May 10 and worked to 10% discount to sign a contract within 7 weeks, closing at that $2.25mm on September 7. That suggests either that sellers knew they were unlikely to get their 2008 purchase price, or they were quick learners. Good for them.

height matters, when it means light
I am surprised by the value of all those windows on the 8th floor, and of what is outside them. I wouldn’t necessarily call “open city views” from an 8th floor loft in Tribeca “rare”, as these selling agents babbled it, but their value is on the order of $700,000 … one-third of the value of the loft!

That surprising math is based on the December 8, 2011 sale of the 2nd floor (exact same footprint, equal or better condition) for (only) $1.525mm. Maybe the 2nd floor floor plan is less attractive than on the 8th floor, with the ‘master’ bedroom squeezed into the front (a long walk to the bathroom), leaving a public space (kitchen, dining, living) that has a bowling alley feel (say, 14 x 56 feet) and a master bedroom with walls that do not reach the ceiling.

I can imagine a market discount for that layout, but $725,000 is rather extreme. The 2nd floor babble boasts of “south [windows] providing beautiful daylight in the living room, dining area and master bedroom”, but the rear bedroom photo has blinds drawn, a hint that there is little light and no view in the rear.

I struggled with the 2nd floor value when that loft sold, in my December 29, 2011, why did The Market put the hate on 2nd floor loft at 69 Murray Street?. I used the Peak sale of the 8th floor as a comp in trying to figure out why the market hated the 2nd floor so much:

The 8th floor is babbled as being in similar condition to the 2nd, though without the “gourmet” claim about the kitchen or the Aardvark, and with much better light from 7 windows on the long east side at this height.


To be conservative, take 10% off of Peak pricing for the current market and another $150,000 off the 8th floor for having better light and views, and you are left with an adjusted value for the 8th floor as a current comp of $1.9mm — a full 25% higher than the 2nd floor sale. Take another $100,000 off for the view and light, and you are still at an unexplained 18% premium for the 8th floor over the 2nd floor.

In a bit of Additional Twitter Serendipity, I see the same JammySod @JammyPup whom I credited last week in my September 21, flip city: 99 Reade Street loft sold in 2011 sells again, up 4%, also provided a theory about the 2nd floor hate at 69 Murray Street. As in the update at the bottom of my December 29, 2011 post, he suspect the “v noisy bar” next door is responsible for the slaughter. I can’t say that I have experienced that very noisy bar on a very noisy evening (or in the wee small hours), but there has to be some reason for the huge spread between the 2nd floor at the end of 2011 and the 8th floor at both the beginning of 2008 and this month.

adventures in archive diving
The Manhattan Loft Guy archives also tell me that I hit the 8th floor loft when it was an active listing (back when I did such things) before it sold at The Peak. In my August 30, 2007, new + understated at 69 Murray, I had the temerity to imply that the then-ask of $2.35mm might be a bit of a stretch:

The price represents a pretty good Tribeca premium, considering its South Tribeca location and (relatively) high maintenance for a coop without amenities.

Silly me, as the facts (frothy as they may have been) reveal that the 8th floor was then worth $2.275mm, a mere 3% off the ask.

Regular readers won’t need the archives to remember my August 15, indispensable source tracks commercial upgrades on Murray Street, in which I used a very useful review of restaurant and bar activity on Murray Street by hyper-local blogger Tribeca Citizen (“the intrepid Tribeca Citizen”) as an excuse to review loft sales up and down the street.

That post has a bunch of links to Manhattan Loft Guy posts about a bunch of Murray Street lofts. Given the spread between the 2nd and 8th floor sales at 69 Murray Street, the last sale in the building next door is interesting. Recall that 69 Murray Street has “(relatively) high maintenance for a coop without amenities”. Yet the 8th floor has no sold twice at $1,250/ft or higher. The scale of lofts at 71 Murray Street is different (“4,002 sq ft”), but it is a condo with full-time doorman and taxes and common charges that are, nonetheless, only about $1.50/ft. (Compared to the 8th floor maintenance of $1.60/ft.)

The 10th floor next door sold to A Famous Couple, as was freshly recounted in my October 20, 2010, interesting price history of 71 Murray Street loft bought by Famous Couple. I will resist the opportunity for any Paul Ryan jokes, and note only that the 10th floor loft at 71 Murray Street has 4 exposures and boasted “dramatic northern city views”, yet it sold closer to the 2nd floor than the 8th floor of 69 Murray Street on a dollar-per-foot basis ($976/ft v. $847/ft v. $1,250/ft).

Did I mention (today) that comping is hard?

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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