176 Broadway loft finally sells (at $556/ft!)

apparently, buyers prefer windows (go figure)

I know of no downtown Manhattan loft building that The Market treats the way it does 176 Broadway. There remains a mystery (to me*) legacy that causes things like this to happen: the “1,906 sq ft” Manhattan loft #8D at 176 Broadway just sold for $1.06mm (yes, $556/ft) after taking 18 months to find a contract. It is decidedly not a wreck, or even a project:

fully renovated … stunning hardwood floors, exceptional closet space, many built-ins, central air conditioning…. large eat-in gourmet kitchen [with] stainless steel Sub-Zero refrigerator-freezer, Viking range, and Bosch dishwasher, with beautiful dark hardwood cabinets and an extensive work area with Corian counter-tops

The footprint is very close to the square that can be ideal for loft living. But, to repeat: FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY-SIX DOLLARS PER FOOT. I have not updated all the $/ft fields on the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 yet, but that will easily be the lowest such value of 2013 apart from a ground floor and below working artist loft at 18 Mercer Street (and including a loft destroyed in The Storm that has yet to be rebuilt, which I hit in my June 18, when bad things ($605/ft!) happen to nice lofts, super storm edition at 79 Laight Street). And remember: loft #8D is “fully renovated”.

not hip to be square like this
The difficulty with the footprint is more evident from the photos than it is from the floor plan. Do you see how bright the living room and kitchen listing photos are? Do you see all the mirrors? Do you see any windows?

All the windows, such as they are, line the least wall of the loft, and are within the library, the office, and the bedroom. In other words, that nicely proportioned great room and kitchen completely lack windows. And if you look at (through) the windows in the photos you see … not much. There’s a nearby building through there, and little (if any) light.

The other limitation on the floor plan is numeric: 1.5, as in a full bath in the “master” (only) bedroom, and a half bath abutting the kitchen. If you converted one of those working rooms with windows into a bedroom, you need to add a tub or shower to the half bath. (Not a difficult task, very likely, but more than some buyers of “fully renovated” space would relish taking on.

Given that the buyer pool specifically interested in low-light lofts or apartments is rather thin, it is not so surprising that this loft had a history like this:

Oct 6, 2011 new to market $1.45mm
Feb 20, 2012   $1.3mm
April 20, 2013


June 17 sold $1.06mm

The market for 1-bedroom lofts near 2,000 sq ft may not be similarly small, but the thin-on-small combination can account for timing and pricing problems.

The full history shows that the seller had considerable timing and pricing problems. She worked her way up to the final successful campaign:  tried to sell in
2006 (3 months, asking $1.7mm [!]) and in 2008 (5 months, asking $1.495mm and $1.275mm) and in 2010 (10 months, starting at $1.3mm and getting down to 6-figures). The final 18 months needed to get a contract done is nearly a linear continuation of those earlier efforts.

As much as a cynic is tempted to carp at a seller who has such a hard time finding the right price in the right market, give her credit: she started
seven years ago, she used 4 firms, but at the end of the day she took a final 18% off her last asking price to sign a contract.

‘tis a puzzlement
* I have touched on this mystery as long ago as six years ago, in the text and some commentary to my August 2, 2007,
more BOM pain / 176 Broadway is back. In reviewing then-recent sales activity, I commented

That’s four lofts in nine months at an average of $664 per sq ft.

In contrast, #4D is a low floor, overlooking a courtyard, and probably needs updating and a second bathroom. $611/ft seems a reasonable asking price. A bargain for people who love the neighborhood; unthinkable at any price for those who do not.

I’ve not been back here often, with the only other post that comes up being my December 9, 2008,
176 Broadway has a closing 40% off the original price (in which the headline only hints at that top-line story: that loft sold for $515/ft before adjusting for two patios).

Facts is facts, but reasons are reasons. If a reader knows why the market beats up on this building so much, please let me know.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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