Post scoop: celebs close on raw loft at 427 Washington Street at $869/ft

Post flub: price
I can’t find a public record behind the lead celebrity real estate item in today’s Gimme Shelter feature in the New York Post on ACRIS, StreetEasy or The Shark, but according to our data-base Jennifer Gould Keil got the price wrong. The Manhattan loft in question is the full 2nd floor at 427 Washington Street (Tribeca Tower). It is clear from the listing (“opportunity to have a true Tribeca raw space as your canvas”; the pix are better, and full screen, on the Corcoran site) that they won’t be moving in for quite a while (and many dollars).

First, the scoop:

Power couple Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber’s extensive downtown home hunt has ended with the purchase of a full-floor loft on Washington Street in TriBeCa.

The acting duo have closed on the 4,315-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op for $3.95 million. The dramatic loft, which has 14-foot ceilings, oversized windows, river views and keyed elevator access, was listed for $4.5 million.

Next, the flub: Keil has the price at $3.95mm but our data-base (remember: it was a Corcoran listing) says $3.75mm.

There is a lot of interesting angles to this sale, quite apart from the actors involved: a 2007 comp, the character of the space, that this looks like original sponsor (“unsold”) shares, the deep discount as negotiated, and prior attempts to sell. Where to begin?

the raw canvas is concrete
The “4,315 sq ft” space is nearly square, and yet to be combined from half-floor lofts. Taking down that wall between the units (floor plan is on the Corcoran site) is the simplest demolition project, though the few other walls and spare kitchens and baths are not much more difficult to dismantle. The open square has 3 exposures, 13 windows, a river view down Vestry Street, and but 6 columns as the only load-bearing elements. With big windows and 14 foot ceilings, there is a great deal of ‘volume’.

Nothing quite says “raw loft” more than concrete floors. Unless it is interior curtains separating sleep areas, as in the 3rd pic.

unsold shares are ancient
I wish I knew the story about this building. This bit of (sadly) shouted broker babble (“NO BOARD APPROVAL”) is likely not the draw that it would be in a fully finished and much less expensive loft and was likely not an incentive for our Power Couple. But it implies that the coop shares associated with these lofts have never been sold in the long history of the coop (since 1979). They must have been held by the developer directly, or by someone who was granted Unsold Shares status in the coop prospectus.

You don’t see many Unsold Share sales in Tribeca any more.

long campaigns, finally concluded
The seller picked exactly the wrong time to try to sell before, coming out 6 days after Lehman filed for bankruptcy. Remember those chilly days?

Sept 21, 2008 new to market $4.5mm
April 28, 2009   $4mm
Jan 17, 2010 hiatus  
June 1, 2011 new to market $4.5mm
Dec 27 contract  
Jan 11, 2012* sold $3.75mm

(*per our data-base)

On the one hand, that is a six event time-line over 5 different years. On the other hand, there were only 2 different asking prices. On the third hand, even in the thawed market of mid to late 2009, they could not find a buyer off the $4mm ask. On yet another hand (sheesh!) they had to take a 17% discount to (finally!) make a deal.

But this part is really funny (if you laugh about the Manhattan residential real estate market): they probably did about as well as they could in getting $3.75mm for a “4,315 sq ft” gut renovation project on this corner of northwest Tribeca.

a near Peak value
The entire 6th floor in the building was bought in March 2007 by a single buyer, a full year before The Peak of the overall Manhattan residential real estate market. The loft #6E side was billed as a “true artist’s loft” with “great bones”, and sold for $1.8mm. The loft #6W side was a bit more polished (perhaps they salvaged some of the “master bathroom of glass and stone” or the “kitchen with professional appliances”), going for $2mm.

The ceiling height is not as dramatic on the 6th floor (either 11 or 12 feet, or something in between the two claims) but boast “intense sunlight from the South and the West”. (If the 2nd floor can claim “protected river views”, the 6th floor should have that same angle, or more.)

Same footprints on both floors, with same need to gut and re-build. The 6th floor cleared at $3.8mm in March 2007; the 2nd floor for $3.75mm in January 2012. Pretty strong current value, I would say.

visualizing the potential
I am sure that our Power Couple has access to a Power Architect. But they need not look far for inspiration for dealing with this footprint and these plumbing stacks (e.g., here). Whether that kind of transformation really would create more than $2mm in value remains to be seen, when The Market judges.

Tribeca Tower does not offer the amenities that other celebs have chosen down the block at River Lofts, so it will be interesting to see (if only we could!) how much room there ends up being between this sale at $1,276/ft for #3E at 416 Washington Street and $869/ft + renovation ($400/ft??) for the 2nd floor at 427 Washington Street.

In that context, the 2nd floor sale seems an even stronger value. Fun stuff, without getting to the movies of our Power Couple.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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