some stories never get old
I can’t explain why, but I take particular pleasure in noting Manhattan loft sales that hit a particular narrative. In this case, the narrative for the recent sale of the “1,600 sq ft” Manhattan loft #5A at 335 Greenwich Street (aka 20 Jay Street, Hanover River House) has to do with the nuclear winter that swept the overall Manhattan residential real estate market after the Lehman bankruptcy filing in September 2008. That was a bright line marker between the end of The Peak and the beginning of The Trough in the overall market, and the #5A sale at $1.75mm after the same loft in the same condition sold for only $1.355mm just over 3 years ago shows how deep that trough was for some chilly sellers.
one and a half exposures, but “1,600 sq ft”?
Loft #5A is booked at “1,600 sq ft”, with a floor plan that is more squat than Long-and-Narrow, showing 4 west windows and 2 south “windows”. Those last quotation marks are because of this bit of creative broker babble: “two Southern unobstructed glass block windows adding to the naturally bright property”. “Unobstructed” because there is no wall right outside, so they add some natural light on that long south wall. Google Street View shows why those “windows” are glass block and why they are high up on the wall: the building next door to the south is five stories, with a roof line that hits somewhere on the #5A wall below those glass block “windows“; that roof probably contains noisy mechanicals and/or a private roof deck and/or some other usage that you wouldn’t want looking down into your #5A living room.
With that window array, this footprint logically fits only one real bedroom, as another on the west wall would take pretty much all the light from the public space. As configured, #5A has an interior room by the entrance, used by the sellers as a nursery. All the plumbing in this line is bunched on the other side of the entrance, leaving little flexibility in potential layouts.
If fitting only a single (real) bedroom into “1,600 sq ft” feels as though it should be easier than with this floor plan, (a) see if you can find a more efficient way to allocate those 4 west windows, and (b) consider that you don’t really have 1,600 sq ft to deal with.
One Manhattan real estate story that is always old is that the loss-factor for apartment and loft dimensions can be distressingly high, particularly in coops. (For just one Manhattan Loft Guy rant, see my November 3, 2010, the square footage dilemma: REBNY "leads" by protecting brokers, not buyers.) In this case, the interior dimensions show a space 30 feet wide and an irregular 43 feet long. Your calculator may tell you the floor plan has less than 1,300 sq ft of interior space, but the coop offering plan apparently allocates “1,600 sq ft”. Sigh.
If you read between the lines of the babble, you will see two things are deemed brag-worthy: the bones and the kitchen. With no bathroom bragging or photos, I assume that element of the loft (at least) could use an upgrade. This is very likely in similar condition (kitchen aside, probably) to loft #9A, which I hit in my November 3, 2011, West Village owner sells above ask to buy 335 Greenwich Street loft above ask, when it sold at $1,735,500 after a bidding war. That one had only a single bath, but had 5 real south windows in the floor plan, with (truly) “magnificent” open southern views at this height. (I called it one of the best views in Tribeca.)
Frankly, the relative deficits of #9A compared to #5A can be solved by money (a more extensive upgrade, including a second bath), while #5A can never get the views and light that #9A enjoys. A more efficient market (ha!), or a hypothetical world in which I could make these two lofts that actually sold a year apart in the same building compete head to head, would probably price #9A the more valuable. But that’s just my opinion. And fun.
the old story that is still fun
I will close with just two recent Manhattan Loft Guy links that deal with the 2009-as-trough meme:
- October 17, psst! wanna see a picture of The Trough? look at 477 Broome Street loft sold in 2009 and 2012
- November 2, renovation after 2007 gets 55 N. Moore Street loft 15% over 2009
They are not likely to be as much fun for you as they are for me, but it’s my blog, so I get to have the fun. Enjoy, if you can.
© Sandy Mattingly 2012