not all lofts have open kitchens, least not at Chelsea Mercantile at 252 Seventh Avenue


who knew?
One of
the hallmarks of residential loft-style living is an open kitchen; indeed, I would argue that this element was one of the early dividers between people who liked “lofts” compared to people who liked “apartments”. To generalize quite a bit, prewar “apartments” had kitchens that were enclosed by walls (often, with a door to complete the enclosure), some (smaller) postwar “apartments” had pass-through kitchens, and most original (‘classic’) residential lofts featured kitchens along one wall or in a corner, but entirely open to the main living space.


Personally, I believe that the popularity of “loft-style living” has greatly increased the number of open kitchens in new developments, particularly in relatively small cookie-cutter 2-bedroom condos. There’s nothing cookie-cutter about the residential lofts in the iconic Chelsea Mercantile, so I was surprised to note that the recently sold “1,481 sq ft” Manhattan loft #4F at 252 Seventh Avenue features a floor plan that is much more “apartment” than “loft”, with the closed kitchen tucked away by the entry, a long way from the living room. Put a nice door in that slot and a visitor would never realize there was a kitchen in the place.

The Merc is a huge residential loft conversion with a footprint that had been 4 buildings on half the block back toward 8th Avenue, with a light well cut into the center, so there are a great many different floor plans. There may be others, but #4F is the first floor plan I have noticed with the closed kitchen.

Can’t say that it hurt the marketing effort: to market on March 15 at $2.525mm and in contract by April 16 at a polite discount, then closed at $2.45mm on June 12. That’s $1,654/ft for a low-floor, no-view loft. That is a slight premium over the much larger loft 5 floors up that I hit in my February 25,
market corrects too-low price drop at Chelsea Mercantile, just as it’s supposed to, and a considerable premium over the Chelsea Mercantile sales I hit in my December 10, 2012, no view needed to sell small 252 Seventh Avenue lofts at $1,339/ft, or at $1,593/ft, which also mentioned a series of 2012 sales under $1,300/ft.

knock yourself out
If you want to test whether there is a price difference in the building for open compared to closed kitchens, go right ahead. I’ve used this very large loft building as a laboratory for exploring the value of views (see my January 20, 2012,
privileged Chelsea Mercantile loft clears near $1,700/ft at 252 Seventh Avenue, for example), but I don’t have the energy to try the kitchen thing. (And I doubt that you will find the data leading to hard conclusions.) This post will be the 25th Manhattan Loft Guy post tagged “Chelsea Mercantile” if you want a headstart, and some context for individual loft sales here. (Note that some posts only mention The Merc, while being about a different loft building’s sales.)

I really hope they took that picture that way on purpose

In closing the pre-holiday period, the 5th listing photo is a candidate for the Hall of Fame. Look out the window (in large format, of course). If the photographer didn’t get that sign across the street intentionally as a perfect image outside a child’s bedroom, the photographer is the luckiest photographer working in New York, and I want him or her for my next listing. The only way it could be better is if the lettering across the street spelled S W E E T  D R E A M S instead of T I C K L E.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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