crappy layout does not keep 131 Perry Street loft from $1,704/ft sale, 30% above Peak

for serious Manhattan loft brick fans, apparently

Exposed brick tends to be one of those love-it-or-hate-it elements of Manhattan lofts, with a great deal of passion expressed by both camps. I suspect the main listing photo for the “1,555 sq ft” Manhattan loft #2A at 131 Perry Street in the West Village did what good marketing is supposed to do: separate (and attract!) the seriously interested buyers from people who would never buy the loft, no matter what.

There are probably people out there who looked at this and thought “I’d love to paint that ceiling white”, but that’s a lot of work and treats a feature as a bug. As the headline suggests, the layout is enough of a bug to turn off a lot of buyers to the loft, so considering the ceiling feature a bug would shrink the buyer pool even further.

The footprint is square-ish, with opposite diagonal corners inset, but suffers from a single (true) exposure and from inconvenient plumbing placement. The only real windows are over Perry Street (those “newly replaced casement style windows” that seem to fit within the former “[f]our massive teak, French window [frames]”) so only the living room and master bedroom get windows. And the “master” is cater-corner to the bathrooms, rather than en suite, as a proper master would be.

Those bathrooms are as oddly spaced as any I have seen recently, presumably by necessity. The plumbing is arrayed in a squat “T” at the back of the loft, with one bath and the kitchen along the rear wall and a washer-dryer and second bathroom jutting out to the south. Necessity must truly be a mother here, as the result is a “room” (not a bedroom) barely over 7 feet in width, with the larger of the two baths en suite. That skinny second bath is squeezed between that skinny “room”, the washer-dryer, a column, and the dining area. It’s not pictured, but seems to be a full bath so that shower feature must share space with the sink and commode, as in Euro-baths. The floor plan makes this more clear than my words:

More weird, still, to use that bath you have too take a big step up, into that glass doorway that appears to float in listing pic #5. I don’t imagine many folks use that bath when the dining room table is in use, or that the folks who sleep in the “master” use this one much.

Other floor plan foibles are in the northeast corner: the second “bedroom” is well short of legal width, at 6’9″, and seems to be on a light well or courtyard of some kind. (Note the brick ‘views’ that peak through listing pic #3.) That bedroom could be widened, of course, but at the cost of shrinking the “dressing closet” for the master.

The floor plan is clearly optimized for however many people sleep in the master. The tiny “bedroom” can fit even a teenager, of course, but would seem ideal as a nursery, if not an office or guest room. (Did Mr. Murphy install anything? There’s no bragging about that.) It’s not illegal for anyone to sleep in that other tiny “room” (with the en suite bath), but that doesn’t seem to be the point of the layout. As I said, a crappy layout, presumably dictated by a series of necessities. hardly ideal for the 2-bedrom buyer market, and less than that for the 3-bedroom buyer pool.

All that said, the chronology and dollars suggest the buyer pool was robust: to market on April 14, in contract by May 15; asking $2.795mm and getting $2.65mm, which might feel like a non-trivial discount, but the July 18 sale was a premium of nearly 30% over the last time the loft sold (May 2010 at $2.037mm) and the time before that (remember The Peak? $2.08mm in April 2008). That’s what I call robust.

same, same, but many more nickels and dimes

That 2010 sale seems to have been private (not to mention, at a tiny loss) but the April 2008 sale was a public affair. StreetEasy’s only got one of those listing photos (and a blurry one at that) but our system has a set of six. The pix and that 2008 floor plan reveal that there have been no significant changes to the loft from 2008 to now. As enthusiastic as the recent broker babbling got (more on that below), the 2008 babble included this bit of bragging: “featured in three architectural publications”. That babbling was also more specific than the latest version:

The sleek kitchen consists of stainless steel counter-tops, Gaggenau stove-top and oven, Subzero refrigerator, and Miele dishwasher. Bathroom sinks and fixtures include Duravit, Kohler and Dornbracht brands.

Details like the dining room light fixtures are the same, 2008 and 2013. The ceiling, walls, and floor appear to be identical, with the only visible change evident in comparing the photos is subtle in the photos but highlighted in the broker babble. As noted above, what had been “[f]our massive teak, French windows” are now “newly replaced casement style windows”.

Yet: $2.08mm in April 2008 and $2.65mm in July 2014. Robust!

not a fan of the babble, but Your Mileage May Vary

I was distracted by the word salad of the broker babble, and it took me a while to realize that the ceiling is described as not brick, but tile. I’ll take the agent’s word for it, but I will stick to my introductory comment about the listing photos appealing to brick lovers. The tile may be more interesting than brick (the colors are certainly varied, and the rectangles are larger than standard brick), but I suspect most people will ‘read’ the photo as brick, even if the ceiling is more clearly tile In Real Life. Regardless, barrel vaults are cool (not to mention, authentic), and halfway between common and rare in Manhattan lofts.

There are enough peculiar locutions in the broker babble to be distracting. To me. Civilians who don’t read these things for a living may have a more gentle response, but these jar:

  • … inherently rich …
  • … further enhanced with striking lines yielding an authentic, organic one of a kind residence …
  • Hallmarked by a tile Barrel-vaulted ceiling …
  • … the large open living area adjoins …

I am not even sure what “inherently rich” means.; that second one is a highway pile-up; ceilings can “hallmark”??; and I suppose “adjoins” is a verb, but it seems to have sprung from a thesaurus rather than a Broker Babble Bible that focuses on communication. End of rant….

One more time: this marketing campaign worked. Contract within 5 weeks, 30% higher than that achieved near The Calendar Quarter Formerly Known As The Peak. Can’t snark about that. (Sigh.)


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