quiet & “quintessential” northwest Tribeca loft in move-in condition sells at $843/ft

… so, of course there’s an explanation (there are hints in the broker babble)

The raw numbers associated with the three-week old sale of the Manhattan loft #3W at 466 Washington Street yield a stark equation: “3,500 sq ft” + $2.95mm = $843/ft. There are nearly 200 loft sales on my Master List of Manhattan loft sales between $500,000 and $5,000,000 since July 1, exactly two of which sold at less than loft #3W on a price per foot basis. And this one is in that corner of northwest Tribeca that is only getting more and more high end development.

The loft lacks the high ceilings that characterize truly great residential lofts, but there’s lots of good stuff here: [h]and sewn beams and columns” are the highlights, but the exposed brick is far more interesting here than in many lofts (that massive brick wall in the living room has arches and other detailing). Having seen the loft, I understand why the broker babbled “[b]ring your architect and interior designer” but the place, as is, is definitely in move-in condition. (Just not likely to be left alone after being purchased for $2.95mm.) But the condition has little to do with the discount.

As listing photos often do, you can’t quite tell from the angles and windows (and in what is barely visible outside the windows) what The Issue is. The map helps (if you know your new development sites), and as quality broker babble often does, there is a lemons-into-lemonade aspect disclosed in a positive way:

The Southern lot line windows will NOT be obstructed. In fact, those windows will overlook the courtyard to the Related building current being erected. Additionally, the Western windows will face the garden of 290 West Street, a beautiful new development condo by VE Equities that will likely be priced well around $2500/sf .

Nope, the south windows in what is now the living room won’t be “obstructed”, but did you notice that in the alternate floor plans, the living room is either moved to the west wall or reduced in size? That’s because the coming courtyard (still under construction when I saw it) with the associated building, of course, won’t be much of a ‘view’. I gather the south exposure will admit light, however. The news about the west windows is better, and worse.

What you can see out the window on the left side of this “dining room” photo is the corner of the building to the west and south. What you can’t see is what is just to the right of that view:

(from Town) the mystery view is just out of view to the right …

That’s where “the garden of 290 West Street, a beautiful new development condo by VE Equities that will likely be priced well around $2500/sf” will go, with its associated building, of course. And pretty darn close to the west walls of 466 Washington Street. So formerly open views from loft #3W extending way south and west over the river are both obstructed somewhat blocked by new condo developments. But if the new neighbors at 290 West Street cooperate, #3W will still have a river glimpse … glimpsed when the new neighbors cooperate by keeping their window treatments open on both the east and west windows. (When I saw the loft, you could see clear through the window openings, to the river.)

Hence, $843/ft.

this “truly unique loft in the heart of TriBeCa with original details and a charm that is impossible to replicate” will be renovated, nonetheless

You noticed that the broker babble says nothing about finishes, only character and charm. Having seen it, I can assure you that it is in move-in condition … but not for buyers who are already paying $2.95mm and who are faced with a floor plan that was laid out when there were open views south and west. Shrink this loft enough to be sold for $1.5mm in (say) the West 30s, and I suspect that it would be purchased by someone who would move right in, then maybe update kitchen and/or baths. But not the $2.95mm buyer in (yes) “prime Northern Tribeca”.

My guess is that it will be gutted, as the two alternate floor plans imply. There are many options, with plumbing stacks all over the place. (Again, look at the present and two alternate floor plans for the varied bathroom and kitchen placements.) Personally, I’d line up 3 bedrooms along the north wall and leave the reset of the place as open as those massive brick interior walls permit. I suspect the light from the south and west will be lovely, once the Oh So Chic (and expensive) neighbors are fully built out.

timing is, as always, everything

Sometimes aphorisms really do say it all. The recent sellers have been trying to be “sellers” for quite a while. They tried for 8 months into the Summer of 2012 and then for 7 months into Spring 2013, asking $2.9mm and $2.995mm, respectively. Had a buyer in any of those months been willing to pay $2.95mm, they’d undoubtedly have taken it. In that sense, their pricing was too early.

Yet at the same time that The Market was rising to meet their price, the fact that construction eventually began on the two new developments just to the south and to the west added, in my estimation, a serious drag on their hyper-local market. Having seen the loft, and stood for a long time with buyer clients at the west and south windows, it is difficult for most buyers to fully envision what those views will be like, even with the structures already rising above the 3rd floor at 466 Washington. In other words, I suspect there was a significant penalty suffered by these sellers that will (likely) be removed once the two Oh So Chic (and expensive) neighbors are done, and occupied. There are a great many lofts that have light but not views, and that do very well in the resale market.

In prime northwest Tribeca, $843/ft does not qualify as ‘doing very well’, even allowing for a $400/ft gut renovation.

celebrity connection, lost in my memory

There is one design element in the loft, as is, that might survive a gut renovation. There are no pictures (obviously) and a mind (my mind) is a terrible thing to waste, but the current master bath (placed, awkwardly, in the middle of the footprint) has a wall that was either tiled or muraled by A Famous Musician. I wish I could remember the details, but my buyers were not impressed (enough) with the loft and certainly not by The Famous Musician for it to have stuck in my mind. I am thinking John Cougar Mellencamp, who (may have) rented the place before the current sellers bought in 1995.

In other words, a very narrow slice of the Manhattan loft buyer pool might be tempted to preserve that wall in some way. Maybe the new owners are in that slice….

Let’s bring this to a close with a fun fact about that 1995 purchase: $580,000.

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4 comments on “quiet & “quintessential” northwest Tribeca loft in move-in condition sells at $843/ft
  1. NW Tribecan says:

    I’d just like to point out that the actual square footage of this apartment is 2900, making the price more like $100/sq. ft.

  2. NW Tribecan says:

    $1000/sq. ft!

  3. Sandy Mattingly says:

    NW T (yoyo): StreetEasy has it at “3,500 sq ft”, as does our listing system. Did you get “2,900 sq ft” from the offering plan, or by measuring / estimating based on stated dimensions?

    I assume the loft is not, in fact, “3,500 sq ft”, but I don’t have a principled basis for using a different number than is in our system or on StreetEasy; hence, I use the number given. To do otherwise is to invite chaos, and make it impossible to compare lofts.

    Is this a crappy system? Damn right. I consider it a scandal. I’d say it was REBNY’s dirty little secret, except that it is not secret. (Dirty, for sure.)

    My views on this *with a proposed solution* were expressed way back in November 2010, with citation to people smarter than me. Caution, this is a long post: http://manhattanloftguy.com/manhattan-real-estate-business/the-square-footage-dilemma-rebny-leads-by-protecting-brokers-not-buyers/

  4. NW Tribecan says:

    I live in the building, in the same line.

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