lofts sell by the foot, not by bedrooms, as at 53 N. Moore Street in Tribeca

a serendipitous pair of closings at The North Moore line right up with Theory

I’ve had this conversation so many times, about how room count (specifically, bedroom count) is the key to the size (and value) of Manhattan “apartments”, while size (the slippery “square feet”) is the driver for Manhattan lofts. That’s one reason the awesome tools of UrbanDigs.com are not so useful in the downtown Manhattan loft market, compared to their great utility for the apartment market (particularly, the both-sides-uptown commodity buildings with 3-digits of units). The conversations, even among seasoned professionals, can feel so … theoretical. Imagine my joy on seeing that two essentially identical-in-utility lofts in the same building sold last month, at prices that reflect their differences in size, not their similarity in rooms (real or imagined).

That would be the “2,436 sq ft” loft #5F at 53 N. Moore Street (The North Moore) that sold at $4.13mm on June 24 and the “1,887 sq ft” (down the hall?) loft #5E that sold at $3.28mm on June 16. If there were no dimensions on the floor plans, they’d be hard to tell apart:

#5F is your basic Long-and-Narrow with 2 BRs splitting the rear wall

 

#5E is your basic Long-and-Narrow with 2 BRs splitting the back wall

It has been a while since I have been in 53 N. Moore, so I can’t remember how the units fit into the overall condo footprint. This residential loft conversion, circa 2000, integrated what had been four buildings (paper mills, according to the StreetEasy building page), which can make for some interesting (if subtle) intra-condo differences. Three of the originally separate buildings are evident in this photo, running west along N. Moore Street:

both #5F and #5E have eastern exposures but neither has windows south, so you can’t see either one in this photo … right?

[For loft-nerds like Manhattan Loft Guy, this sort of same building variation is fascinating, if frustrating. Kinda sorta like using neighboring lofts as comps in fairly large Manhattan loft residential conversions like 252 Seventh Avenue (the iconic Chelsea Mercantile, made up of four buildings), 250 Mercer Street (four?? separate buildings??), 28 Laight Street (Cobblestone Lofts, originally three buildings, with many lofts having load-bearing walls along the former intra-buidling lines), 77 Bleecker Street (Bleecker Court, originally three buildings), and 303 Mercer Street (Snug Harbor, out of three buildings, only two of which have elevator access); there are probably dozens of other examples.]

The two units sound somewhat similar, but the broker babbling suggests that the smaller #5E may be just a bit nicer:

luxurious living space and nearly 11′ ceilings…. The chef’s kitchen has commercial grade appliances including a vented 6 burner Wolf range with an over the stove faucet, massive granite counters, a glass sub-zero fridge/freezer, stainless steel sinks, a garbage disposal, and an under counter micro/convection oven. Custom cabinets, a huge slide out pantry and a built-in Electrolux washer and dryer are some of the extras. … a state of the art garbage/recycling chute that sorts your glass/metal/paper and trash with the push of a button. … a separate bar/entertaining area with a wine fridge. The sun-drenched living room faces east, has oversized windows, a hidden surround sound system with wall mounted controls and has been pre-wired for further expansion. The large master bedroom has walls of custom closets, huge west facing windows, and picturesque views. Its bathroom offers a soaking tub and a large walk-in shower with a resting bench plus great counter/storage space. The second bedroom offers the same views and huge closets. There are gorgeous wood floors throughout, custom features, prewar details and a stunning full second bath.

Maybe the #5F selling team was simply more restrained, but this is a different level of enthusiasm about the finishes:

east facing windows that provide great light. The kitchen includes Bosch stainless steel appliances, ample counter space and a pass through sitting bar. … the over sized master bedroom includes a walk-in closet/dressing area and en-suite bathroom; equally as large, is the 2nd bedroom and nearby is the 2nd full bathroom. Both bedrooms can accommodate king beds with dressers, seating and space to spare. There is also a small interior room that could be used for office or storage. Washer/dryer in unit, A/C throughout, and internet/cable connection in every room.

The “F” line at The North Moore is wider than the “E” line (and longer!), and has more loft character:

sorry about the dropped ceilings, but the massive beam and column (neutered here in an all-white scheme) could be more prominent

Blame the sponsor for the dropped ceilings and (probably) the soffit running north-south in the “E” line (for central air??), which needs no column to keep from falling down:

note that the “E” line east windows are very different from the “F”, in both size and array

As a bonus, note how the “B” line lacks even the beams of the “E” or “F” lines:

this unit has only south windows, so it is somewhere off the corner, down N. Moore from Hudson Street

Same condo, three rather different lofts. Ain’t comping fun??

the 3-bedroom Tribeca loft market has a different buyer pool from the 2-bedroom pool, though there’s some overlap

Generally speaking, buyers who have to have 3 bedrooms look at different lofts than buyers who have to have 2 bedrooms. That’s nearly tautological, in fact. Though the #5F broker babbling claims that “there are endless possibilities to add a 3rd bedroom or office”, I doubt very much if any 3-bedroom buyers took that seriously. The extra width compered to loft #5E means that you can steal some windows from the living room (east exposure), as in the first alternative floor plan, but consider what that does to the volume of the space, converting a nearly square living room (apart from the dining room opposite the kitchen) to more of a bowling alley with a nearly 3:1 ratio:

just ‘cuz you *can” doesn’t mean you *should*; this array also cramps that lovely column + beam

Note that the flexibility of the “2,436 sq ft” loft #5F resulting in a sale last month at $1,695/ft, compared to the 2-bedroom-only footprint of the “1,887 sq ft” loft #5E, which sold at $1,738/ft. On the one hand, that’s a trivial difference of only 2.5% (well within the range of ‘market noise’, a level susceptible to over-determination); on the other hand, that is an observed-in-fact preference for the smaller loft on a dollar-per-foot basis, however mild.

While we are noodling over $/ft differentials, it is interesting (if distracting) to note that the developer thought that #5F was worth $401/ft in the original sale, and #5E $459/ft (they sold within 10 weeks of each other in 2000; scroll down and click “see all activity”, then scroll down again). That’s a 2000 dollar-per-foot spread of nearly 15%. Which spread is sufficiently greater in scale than the 2.5% in 2015 to prompt a digression about the differences between wholesale sponsor pricing (acceptable to The Market) and single-unit-single-seller pricing (acceptable to a single buyer), but that’s one digression too far for today.

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