stable loft market at 303 Greenwich Street, since 2009 + since 2005

nice to see simple data once in a while
Frequent readers of Manhattan Loft Guy know that I am intrigued by sales that don’t fit The Overall Narrative, such as loft sales implying a 15% change in the market in the same building in a short time, or bidding wars on mature listings, or a lovely loft that closed recently just 5% above its 2005 price (to look back at just October posts). Maybe the recent sale of a Manhattan loft at 303 Greenwich Street (#4J ) compared to the November sale of another (#4AB), plus the fact that both these lofts also sold in 2005, now strikes me as noteworthy because of the prosaic, dog-bites-man quality. But strike me they did!

3 mints at $969/ft 4 weeks ago
The recent sale was #4J on September 30 for $1.425mm, “1,470 sq ft” that was marketed with an exhausting list of modifiers for the loft itself, before getting to any babble about finishes:

Minimalistic, modern recently renovated[,] gorgeous [and] fresh, clean and comfortable

#4J came to market on November 28 at $1.695mm; as we will get to, that was just 26 days after #4AB closed. The Market did not leap at that price for #4J, but the March 24 price drop to $1.595mm attracted a buyer who signed a contract by June 23 with a further discount-from-ask of 10.7%.

My guess is that #4J was in the same fab condition when it last sold, in February 3, 2005 at $1.305mm, because there is still only one bathroom and that marketing harped on the fact that

Neither style nor expense was spared when this fabulous 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment was recently renovated

(Among other things, these two descriptions of what is probably the same loft in the same condition suggests that REBNY might want to invest in training about what “recently” means when talking about renovations; but I digress.)

That February 2005 no-expense-spared sale comes out to $887/ft, using the city’s measurement. (One more digression: our data-base has this unit at “1,300 sq ft”, making this the unusual situation in which the city thinks the loft is bigger than the inter-firm data-base thinks.) That is an 11% appreciation from the February 2005 sale and the September 2010 sale, which seems roughly consistent with The Overall Market trends, 2005 to 2010. So, no “news” there, no man biting dog.

another mint at $922/ft in November
I don’t think agents really mean that a loft described as “A Mint Renovated” loft or apartment is qualitatively different than a “triple mint” renovation, let alone that one is three times the quality of the other. I think agents just get bored with the Same Old, Same Old broker babble, so use Triple Mint and Mint Renovation interchangeably. (No, I see no need for REBNY to do broker education on this locution.)

#4AB is the one marketed with the (single) Mint renovation, but that one came out in a much different market than when #4J was new to market. #4AB was newly offered on March 6, 2009 (repeat after me:  brrrr), starting at $1.795mm. They made a fairly quick price adjustment in a still-chilly market (April 3, to $1.695mm) and when that did not do the trick, they dropped again to $1.595mm on June 3. Whether they just got stubborn at that point, or (correctly) detected that The Market for Manhattan lofts (and apartments) was starting to loosen up in June, they held at $1.595 until signing a contract at $1.4mm on September 21 (another 12% off the ask).

To me, that’s a reasonable range of value between #4AB in November 2009 and #4J in September 2010. On a price-per-foot basis, #4J sold for about 6% more than #4AB, with #4J coming out right after #4AB sold, and #4AB living through a chilly market. That’s dog-bites-man stuff.

comping backwards, to 2005
As I noted, #4J last sold in February 2005 at $1.305mm. There’s nicely parallel data here again, as #4AB sold last in May 2005, at $1.315mm. Neither our system not StreetEasy has a listing for that #4AB sale, so I have no information about the condition, but note how close those prices were then. #4J at $1.305mm comes to $887/ft, while #4AB at $1.315mm comes to $866/ft 90 days later.

To me, they are valued essentially identically by The Market (on a price-per-foot basis) at essentially the same time. More dog-bites-man stuff. It is nice when there are pretty clear examples of The Natural Order Of The World being respected.

are these lofts “lofts”?
I concede that there is an open question as to whether these two units  are “lofts”, but I am comfortable discussing them because units in the building are often marketed as lofts and because part of the building includes old lofts. I remember when this building was built in the mid-1980s, along with the Greenwich Court siblings at 275 and 295 Greenwich Street, as we shopped at the Food Emporium across Greenwich and often pushed a stroller into Washington Market Park directly opposite.

Personally, I consider the Greenwich Court at #275 and #295 to be loft-like, while The Tribeca at #303 is (just barely) on the loft side of the scale, with the balance tipped because 303 Greenwich Street has an old and new mix lacking at Greenwich Court. The 11-story structure at the corner of Greenwich and Chambers was built new (completed in 1987) but it incorporates two 5-story old loft buildings, one that had a Chambers Street address, one with an old Reade Street address. You’d probably have to look closely at the StreetEasy building photo to see the Chambers Street 5 story structure integrated into (and re-clad to match) the 11-story structure on the corner.

more history (good news, bad [old] news)
This building was The Dalton when it was converted to condos in the 1980s; now it is The Tribeca. Paul Goldberger waxed ecstatic in the New York Times about how well the three new condos on Greenwich Street at #303, #295 and #275 play off each other, and with the neighborhood. (July 10, 1988, Good Buildings That Make Respectful Neighbors.)

I suspect that the name change was part of a re-branding effort in the late 1990s when this condo was in dire financial straits. The condo developer had gone into bankruptcy in the mid-1990s, no longer paying common charges on at least 12 (of 89) residential units and the four commercial (rental) spaces, resulting in remaining unit owners being assessed to make up the cash shortfall. Those were the days!

© Sandy Mattingly 2010

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