necessity, that mother, yields strange floor plan for 39 Worth Street loft

not necessarily an inspired invention for this Tribeca loft, but interesting

For having a footprint that is a classic Long-and-Narrow (maybe 23 x 85 feet, with a cut-out for the elevator and building stairwell, windows front and back), the floor plan of the “2,125 sq ft” Manhattan loft #3W at 39 Worth Street is hardly classic. First, it’s backwards, with the bedroom at the front, by the elevator, and the kitchen at the back windows; second, the middle of the space benefits from high-in-the-wall windows, but the few ‘rooms’ don’t take advantage of the light (move that ‘office / guest room’ 6 feet north and it becomes a ‘bedroom’; or shift the ‘den / library’ from the east to the west wall to the same effect, if those windows are big enough to qualify for Building Code purposes).

it is even more backwards than it looks

This early-ish Tribeca coop (1981, as babbled) sits on the north side of Worth Street, just a bit east of West Broadway, so not only is the bedroom at the wrong unconventional end of the loft because the elevator is right there, those bedroom windows face Worth Street, instead of the typical mid-block (quieter) back of the building. The light’s not great across Worth Street here, and there’s no south view to speak of, as confirmed by the half-pulled blinds in the bedroom photo:

if there’s a view, they take the picture with the blinds open, right? (an Elliman pic)

The conventional Manhattan floor-through loft layout would put the bedroom(s) on the back (north) wall, but in this case that would be an expensive proposition because the kitchen is in the northeast corner of the loft. You could probably move it (more on that, below) but that’s probably the nicest element of the loft (“luxurious kitchen has Jenn-Air stove and oven, refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher [and l]ovely veined marble countertops, abundant cabinets and a breakfast bar to enjoy the morning”). Rip out the most expensive part of the loft, if you like, but that’s a different economic proposition than buying and living as-is.

 a relevant sale, downstairs, a while ago

I talked about the sale of the loft right below loft #3W in my March 26, 2013, took a while for architects to wake up to gut project loft at 39 Worth Street, after loft #2W sold in bring-your-architect condition. That loft was in different condition (obviously) and sold in a different market (obviously), but the second floor kitchen is as far from that of the third floor as possible, in the southwest corner. That suggests that the kitchens were put where they are on each floor a long time ago, when (most likely) the lofts were otherwise more open. That also means the third floor kitchen could be moved, if only one had the stomach and budget to do so.

I also talked about the light and ‘views’ in this line in that March 26 post last year:

“light from enormous windows” is one-sided

The babble brags on the “light from enormous windows”, and the listing photos show very tall windows, front (kitchen) and back (bedroom). But the rear photos are so washed out that you can’t tell what is on the other side of those windows. Indeed, you’d never know without being in the space (or peering between buildings around the corner on West Broadway) that there can’t be much light coming in those enormous rear windows, as they face the new New York Law School building that wraps alongside and behind 39 Worth Street, dwarfing this 5-story loft. (If the Google Maps page holds together in this link, click to look directly at the gap around the corner on West Broadway between the Pamper Ur Pets storefront and the New York Design storefront; you are looking at the west wall of 39 Worth in brick, to the right, and the monochrome law school colossus on the left.)

In other words, there ain’t any light and even less of a view from the rear of loft #2W. I bet that surprised (and disappointed) a bunch of potential buyers.

To prove that there’s no view and not much light from the third floor here (just as just below), check the windows (mostly washed out), blinds (mostly closed), and view (mostly absent) from the north end of the loft, with the kitchen:

how much light is there if the lights are off?

The loft just below is a fascinating comp: same footprint (obviously!) and (finally) absorbed by The Market as a total gut job a year and a half ago at $1.55mm. To use #2W as a comp for #3W, you’d need to adjust for the gut renovation required downstairs and for the time between the two sales. Let’s play in that ballpark, shall we?

If #2W had been fully renovated well but efficiently, add a round number half million bucks to its February 2013 value, to $2.05mm. Adjust roughly for the different market in February 2013 when #2W sold and the current market for #3W using the StreetEasy Manhattan Condo Index as a single-number guide, and we’d need to add 21% to the (adjusted for condition) value of #2W. Those exercises imply that #2W today, if renovated so as to add $500,000 in value, would be worth about $2.5mm.

I am not saying that the sellers and selling team went through this same analysis, but coincidence or not, that’s where they came out. It just didn’t work.

May 17 new to market $2.5mm
July 8 $2.375mm
Aug 5 contract
Sept 29 sold $2.325mm

(Perhaps the buyer wasn’t persuaded by the analysis, but if I’m the sellers, I think The Market owes them $175,000.)

meanwhile, next door, in years past

For such a small building, I’ve been here quite a few times. Indeed, I have blogged about the other third floor loft twice. At that time of my March 26, 2013 post the most recent sale in the building was the “2,560 sq ft” loft #3E, which sold for $2mm on June 7, 2010. From that March 26, 2013 again:

That was definitely not marketed as a wreck, or even in much need of updating, but we know that the buyer did a major renovation. (That unusual before-and-after opportunity was featured in my April 18, 2011, ever so rare before and after shots of 39 Worth Street loft.)

I believe that is the only time I have been able to see a loft in both as-sold and after-renovated condition, without the loft having been sold a second time. Bt the way, if you look at the ‘before’ floor plan of #3E, you will see that kitchen is midway on the wall shared with loft #3W, so there are likely still more choices for the “west” loft kitchen than taking up a window and putting it in the northeast or southwest corners.

a backwards loft can still find a buyer

All this neighbor-gazing aside, this post is about layouts. I suspect the recent buyers plan on using loft #3W without substantially changing it. (the numbers don’t work so well, if that is their plan.) Thus, proving that there is a market for lofts with no views; indeed, for lofts in which the you can’t even see out the windows in the main public room. In most of that 43′ living and dining room, the only windows are nearly 10′ above the floor. (No one has toes that tippie.)

Kinda sorta like the loft I hit in my November 11, how much money earned by floating floors, dropping ceiling of 200 Mercer Street loft?, which, as it happens, also featured on (true) bedroom. This post has gone on long enough (tell me about it …), but I have to believe that “apartment” buyers would not accept the layout compromises inherent in the 39 Worth Street not-quite-prime Tribeca lofts, or in that line at 200 Mercer Street at the Noho edge of Greenwich Village. That’s a conversation post for another day ….

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