one of the rare small lofts of Tribeca sells at 151 Hudson Street in need of architect for $1,374/ft

right size, but hard to see as starter loft at that price

There are not many lofts in Tribeca the size of the “963 sq ft” Manhattan loft #6 at 151 Hudson Street and if its recent sale at $1.325mm is indicative of The Market, there’s hardly any “starter loft” market left in Tribeca. It’s bad enough that the footprint allows pretty much the single floor plan option already in place, with the sole bedroom at the east end (forget 2 bedrooms; it’s less than 1,000 sq ft), the kitchen in the middle next to the bathroom plumbing stack, with most of the loft open. There are windows along the long south wall, but the whole space is only about 45 x 19 feet.

One more thing: there’s some bragging about bones (“manual freight elevator [, …] authentic old world charm….[,] exposed brick, 10’ ceilings”) but none about finishes, with this fraught hint: “[b]ring your architect and recreate this home to its full potential”. That kitchen might be okay, but there’s no mention or photo of the bathroom. That hardwood floor may need some work (in addition to stripping that bright blue paint) and the brick wall in the bedroom is painted red and in the living room, white. So add a renovation budget to the $1,373/ft purchase price, taking the loft project just a bit more beyond ‘starter loft’ values.

One more more thing: the authentic old world charm that the manual freight elevator adds to the loft experience is not without cost. Somebody has to take it down to the first floor, and leave it there. (That’s the ‘charm’ of a ‘manual’ elevator.) That someone then has to get himself / herself back up without disturbing the elevator. I.e., walk the stairs. (Only 3 flights, but still.)

Yes, Virginia, Tribeca ain’t cheap.

The kitchen is almost embarrassingly large in scale, in relation to the rest of the place. Chances are very good that the two steps that raise the kitchen are cosmetic (someone’s idea of a design flourish, from back in the day) rather than required to run the plumbing underneath. (The plumbing risers must be in that wall between the bath and the kitchen, with the sink and washer-dryer on that wall.) So add a modest demolition charge to the renovation budget, to get a space than can all be on the same level.

The recent rental listing for loft #4 shows what loft #6 can be, and even suggests an alternative use of the space. It might be a little bigger (“1,118 sq ft”, they say) but has the same shape and south exposure. In this unit, the floor plan is flipped, with the kitchen to the east of the baths (there are 2!) and the bedroom up front near the elevator, with the living room at the east. The photos show a much nicer level of finishes in unit #4. (Note the elevator photo in the 4th photo if you doubt what I said about the elevator having to be taken down to the ground floor after use.) That rental broker babble also hints at the much more primitive condition of the upper loft.

Built in 1910 with a brick masonry façade and beautiful stone details, 151 Hudson was fully renovated in 2010 as a boutique condominium with only 8 residences.

Although “fully renovated in 2010 as a boutique condominium”, I suspect that unit #6 was not included in that boutique-y renovation. The unit #6 interior looks nothing like the unit #4 photos. Nothing in the building has changed hands since the 2010 conversions, so there are no hyper-local comps.

it can be hard to make sense of even the most simple loft numbers

Neither StreetEasy nor our listings system makes it easy to know where in the building loft #6 is. In many small loft buildings, you would expect a unit numbered six to be the 6th floor. But not this time. If you click the Overview tab on the StreetEasy building page, you get this helpful description of the building’s layout:

Recently converted prewar corner 6 story yellow brick with charming terra-cotta details,condominium loft building…. Law Firm on ground floor… floors 2, 3 and 4 are split with East and West units….2 lofts per floor, 5th and 6th floors are full floor lofts, with the 6th floor having the majority of the roof privately…. […] There are 2 large freight elevators East and West sides of the building. … West units have a Hubert entrance East units(2,3 and 4th floors) have a Hudson Street stairway entry both East and West elevators open onto Hubert Street.

Now notice the different addresses associated with the deed record for the sale of loft #6: while the seller is identified as in “#6” at 151 Hudson Street, the buyer is an LLC in “#4E”. In numbering units in the condo, it seems that the first floor commercial unit must be condo unit #1, the second floor seems to have units #2 and #3, the third floor #4 and #5, the fourth floor #6 and #7, with the fifth and sixth floors being (ugh) #8 and #9. (Note this recent rental listing for “#9”, a ” top floor unit”.)

Sadly, the Past Activity tab on the StreetEasy building page mixes condo unit numbers and what might be called post office addresses, so the loft #4 rental listing I noted above with the more glossy finishes and flipped floor plan is unit #4 on StreetEasy for rental purposes but when you click on the floor plan with this listing it is identified as “#3W”, and it was “#3W” when it was offered for sale in 2010. (It didn’t sell then, asking $1.295mm for 4 months toward the end of 2010, even though it seems to have been in much better condition than #6 [aka #4W].)

Things as simple as identifying which unit is which should not be so difficult.

Back to the beginning. A rather small Tribeca loft that definitely needs some work and has a complicated relationship with a manual freight elevator and 3 flights of stairs just sold for $1,373/ft directly behind the Holland Tunnel spillways. “Starter loft” buyers weep.

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