of course the Tribeca loft at 363 Greenwich Street did not double in value since 2004

nice return anyway, in Manhattan residential real estate terms at least

Nope, you can’t say that the recent owners of the “2,010 sq ft” Manhattan loft #2B at 363 Greenwich Street doubled their money when they just sold at $2.995mm after having bought way back in April 2004 for $1.5mm. After all, that’s $5,000 less than twice their purchase price. But you also can’t say that they doubled their money because they put a nice renovation onto what had been a 1-bedroom loft with 2 bathrooms, a dark room, and a sauna between 2004 and 2013. You could say that they likely much more than doubled their money, once you take into account their original down payment (unknown) plus their renovation budget (ditto), which figure to be in the half million dollar range, compared to nearly three million bucks, but then you’d have to factor in the mortgage balance (unknown) and mortgage payments and … it gets complicated.

Regardless of how well the recent owners did, we know that the loft (essentially) doubled and that this result out-performed the overall Manhattan residential real estate market over that time, at least as measured given ‘a feel’ for by the StreetEasy Manhattan Condo Index. From April 2004 to October 2013 (the last month available), that Index was up from 1,480 to 2,184, or (only) 48%. Let’s pretend that the 2004 renovation cost about $150/ft; the loft in selling for $2.995mm was still up 66% over the purchase + (assumed) renovation expense.

classic Tribeca loft, with some funk

Loft #2B has a classic Long-and-Narrow footprint, with windows only front and back. (It’s a floor-through but not a full-floor, as the condominium has 9 units with 9 windows spread across a long frontage opposite the northern Independence Plaza building.) The elevator is, as I have described in other old loft buildings, in the “wrong place”, taking up a front window, rather than further back along one of the side walls, as is common in loft buildings that were built with elevators. The two bedrooms share the back wall, with the plumbing arrayed in the middle of the long north wall. (Floor plan, here.)

The listing has no bedroom photos (other than the glimpse off in the distance of pic #4), which is a shame as I am very curious about how “bright” they can be. (“Quiet” bedrooms generally face the backs of nearby buildings; this is a second floor loft; and the liberal use of “frosted glass panel wall[s]” (see media room photo #4 and the floor plan with similar lines for the second bedroom) suggests this material was used to bring light into the back. Plus, I’d love to see what those lines in the second bedroom do, other then separating that room into two 9×9 foot squares.

I don’t love babbling that leads with awkward grammar stylings such as “classically-styled yet chicly modernized”, but it hits the high notes (my emphasis added):

luxurious light-filled living space, with high ceilings and refined finishes at every turn. The generously-sized living/dining area with oversized windows, hardwood flooring and white painted brick walls with original arched details is divine for entertaining, with meals served from the huge discretely hidden gourmet chef’s kitchen adorned with sleek marble counters and premier Miele, Subzero and Fisher Paykal appliances. Behind a frosted glass panel wall, the den/media room with a wall of custom cabinetry is the perfect spot to relax with a good book or movie. Both bedrooms are bright and quiet. The master has a separate dressing area with custom walnut cabinetry and an opulent ensuite bath with double sinks, a glass-enclosed rain shower with Dornbracht fittings and radiant heated floors. Other highlights include a stylish guest bath with a custom Calacatta marble vanity, soaking tub and radiant heated floors, Lutron lighting on dimmers throughout, plus a washer/dryer.

I also don’t love a “discretely hidden” kitchen that is, nonetheless, open to the dining room and (on an angle) the part of the living room. I get it that it is not a classic open loft kitchen configuration, but “hidden” implies a higher level of trickery than is evident here.

The proper proper names and materials suggest a near total renovation, sometime after 2004. Assume the hardwood floors and brick walls were restored (and in the case of brick, painted). You can’t see the former floor plan in our listing system, but it is very similar to the current set-up, which is less a suggestion that the renovation was limited than it is a recognition that there are only so many ways to use a limited set of plumbing stacks in a Long-and-Narrow footprint.

I happen to love the way that the panels inside the arched brickwork have been painted (one a rich blue, one a rich red, with no view of the other arch in the living room or the one in the second bedroom), but your mileage may vary. The primary colors are completed by the yellow sprinkler pipes below the ceiling, another nice (loft-y) touch.

I am so easily distracted by odd loft elements

Do you see that door and insert (fire door?) on the long (south) wall on the floor plan? At first scan I assumed that that was the elevator entrance, and the opposite door in the front corner cut-away was to a stairway. But that is incorrect, as the Google Streetview shows the outline of cinderblocks in the windows directly above the blank wall just to the right of the Pig ‘n Whistle’s red column and just to the left of the condo entrance marked “363”. Obviously (as noted above), the elevator is in the ‘wrong’ place, in a front window, and loft #2B includes the window just above the “363” entrance and the next one to the right.

Then I got fixated on that change in floor height around that door on the south living room wall. (You see the sunken square with a red floor mat in the left of the first listing photo.) What the …? You’d think there is another loft in the same condo on the other side of that wall, rather than a common stairway. (Again, look at Google StreetView for the from window array; there are 3 windows directly above the Pig ‘n Whistle and another 3 on the other side of #2B.) Whether or not that neighbor has a separate entrance (again, the StreetView distracts me on this), there has to be another loft behind that south wall door in #2B.

Why is it sunk below the level of the current floor? Is there a similar door on the other side of the brick wall, similar offset and lower in that loft’s floor? I assume that in buildings of this age, the arched brickwork means that there were a series of co-owned buildings (in this case, apparently 3) in which material could be moved from one building to another, through those (at one time) open arches. But I’d love to know …. (Sigh.)

nice comp, for this sale

Loft #3A sold last year, so we have a basis for comparing the recent #2B sale as well as another floor plan in this condo to tell us how the puzzle fits together. First, to the puzzle. The #3A floor plan fits nicely alongside that of #2B, once you flip the #3A plan over. The plumbing walls are back to back, and that #3A entrance could easily be a different wall in the same keyed elevator that services the “B” line. This would make #3A the loft two floors above the Pig ‘n Whistle, those first 3 windows from the north.

Loft #3A was also nicely renovated and enthusiastically babbled, and is essentially the same size as #2B (StreetEasy says “1,974 sq ft”, the babble claims “in excess of 2,010”), with “high ceilings” that are probably not as high as the 11 foot ceilings on the second floor (compare the window heights in the listing photos). Loft #3A got a quick contract last Spring off an ask of $2.65mm before closing at $2.525mm on July 13, 2012. Since then, the StreetEasy Index is up 10%, which would imply a recent value of (only) about $2.75mm for a comparable loft. Loft #2B seems to be that comparable loft, but it sold for $2.995mm, an ‘extra’ $220,000 or so, 19% above the #3A sale 17 months ago.

Maybe The Market gives #2B a premium for (slightly) higher ceilings, or for that hidden kitchen (that of #3A could hardly be more open), or for having (what looks to me as) a more loft-y feel. But #2B just sold for more than this 2012 same building comp implies, as well as more than the StreetEasy Index implies as a same-loft sale pair from 2004.

I don’t think that loft #4A is a good comp, even though it is more current than #3A, having sold in March 2013 for $4.9mm. Loft #4A has many more differences to account for as a comp for #2B: it is much larger at “3,006 sq ft”; it has two terraces of almost 1,000 sq ft to be adjusted for; it was probably renovated to a higher standard than either #2B or #3A (“ZenSational” and all that), as I hit in my April 11, penthouse loft at 363 Greenwich finally sells, only 29% above 2004. Plus, #4A has an opposite relationship to its prior sale in 2004 than #2B: #4A sold for $3.8mm in July 2004, so gained only 29% by 2013; a much smaller gain than that of #2B over essentially the same period. I wasn’t playing with the StreetEasy Index when I did that post 8 months ago, but the Index was up 22% over the period covered by the two #4A sales.

That puts #4A in a different light, but let’s stop there. (Or else I would wrestle with the June 2010 sale of #3B at $2.6mm. Hmmm….)

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