telltale $9 shows bidding war for 100 Hudson Street loft

seriously: what’s so special here?
The fact that the “1,080 sq ft” Manhattan loft #8E at 100 Hudson Street recently sold with the last digit being “9” tells you that the loft almost certainly sold after a bidding war; that the clearing price is higher than the ask tells confirms it. As with most (but by no means all) bidding wars, this one was quick: it came to market on January 9 at $1.35mm and found the contract by January 31 that closed on April 30 at $1,400,009. That’s $1,296/ft for those of you scoring at home.

Yes, this is prime Tribeca (across the street from Tamarind, cater-corner to Nobu), but $1,296/ft in this no-frills coop exceeds the value of these similarly small-ish lofts in full service new-century condo conversions that have recently sold:

  • the very mint-y “1,308 sq ft” loft #3B at 43 East 21 Street (2004 conversion), which sold at $1,185/ft on April 24
  • the “upgraded” “984 sq ft” loft #3L at 655 Sixth Avenue in the O’Neill Building (2007 conversion), which sold at $1,280/ft on April 24
  • the “1,314 sq ft” “super chic designer” loft #4F at 21 Astor Place (2003 conversion), which sold at $1,218/ft on March 21
  • the “1,163 sq ft” loft with “numerous upgrades” #5L at 99 Jane Street (old century: 1999 conversion), which sold at $1,290/ft on March 14

And that is just in the last two months.

No disrespect intended, but neither the broker babble nor the pictures reveal anything special about loft #8E. The enthusiasm in the babble is remarkably specific: both “sun flooded” and “brilliant light all day”, with “great closet and storage space” and “soaring 12 foot ceilings”, with the single comment about finishes being “brand new appliances”. While there is a lot of utility crammed into “1,080 sq ft” (real bedroom + office + den), the floor plan has but a single bathroom, a limitation not addressed in the proposed alternative 2-bedroom floor plan.

answer: it’s tapping into a rich vein
My best guess is that the marketing campaign for this loft hit a rich vein of buyers looking for relatively inexpensive starter lofts in Tribeca that can support 2 bedrooms and are in move-in condition. In order to be a relatively inexpensive starter loft in Tribeca, of course, the loft must be relatively small, and the more mints the more dollars. These are modest characteristics; the only plus factors for this loft are the location and the light.

The inter-firm listing system shows that there was a single open house in this campaign on that first Sunday. It is not hard to reconstruct what that must have been like: wall-to-wall people or 90 minutes, most standing for a long time looking out those corner windows northwest, and down at Tamarind and Nobu. More than one set of visitors muttered to each other “this can work”, while looking nervously at all the other people doing the same thing they were doing (loitering with intent).

There is just not a lot to buy in Tribeca around $1.35mm. (A Streeteasy search today found 5 listings between $1.25mm and $1.45mm.) if you go back to the beginning of the year on the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 you will find only 7 loft resales below $1.4mm, including:

  • the “1,200 sq ft” loft 184 Franklin St #2 that sold on March 27 at $1.085mm with an “architectural design” but no elevator
  • the “1,300 sq ft” loft 395 Broadway #9A that sold on March 16 at $1.275mm as an open loft with abundant possibilities and great light
  • the “1,300 sq ft” very problematic “raw maisonette” loft at 39 N. Moore St #1A that sold on March 3 at $725,000
  • the very primitive “1,100 sq ft” loft 474 Greenwich St #5N that sold on March 1 at $999,000, which I hit in my March 29, primitive loft at 474 Greenwich Street sells at $908/ft
  • the “1,163 sq ft” loft 395 Broadway #11A that sold on February 2 at $1.365mm with renovated kitchen and bath
  • the ground floor “1,439 sq ft” loft 130 Watts St #1S that sold on January 30 at $1.375mm

If you have been counting along, you have noticed that there is one loft missing from the list above. That would be a very interesting counterpoint to loft #8E: you already know that the “1,080 sq ft” loft #4B downstairs at 100 Hudson Street closed on April 4 at $1.17mm as a collection of lovely bones, because I hit it in my April 20, “great bones” 100 Hudson Street loft sells above where it “should” have. That was $207/ft below where #8E closed, which puts another spin on the #4B sale. In contrast to the move-in-but-not-’done’ #8E, #4B should be able to be renovated to exceed the condition of #8E for about $200/ft. Perhaps that #4B buyer got more of a bargain than I originally thought (though that thought was supported by data). Or (horrors!) perhaps the #8E buyers just overpaid. If so, they have an excuse: The Market made them do it.

To recap: there are not many starter lofts in Tribeca, and fewer still in prime Tribeca in move-in condition. In the current environment, there are enough buyers looking for starter lofts in prime Tribeca in move-in condition that when one comes to market at the right price, fisticuffs ensue.

There’s a trick to this, but it is not easy: at the right price. That’s how you get a loft selling at $9 above a very round number.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012


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