2 new bathrooms and a market thaw earn $195,000 gain for 520 LaGuardia Place loft over 2009

not much, eh?
Let’s stick with that meme about the Trough Of 2009 another day, following yesterday’s November 26, particularly deep trough discovered, as 335 Greenwich Street loft sells 31% over 2009. Today’s exhibit is rather more equivocal. The “1,400 sq ft” Manhattan loft #6S at 520 LaGuardia Place near the bottom of central Greenwich Village sold in a very chilly market on February 19, 2009 for $1.575mm (it came to market back then within two weeks of the Lehman bankruptcy filing … brrr) and again recently (October 24) at $1.765mm. The only differences in condition that I see from the broker babble, floor plans and pictures is that “[b]oth bathrooms have been gut renovated with top of the line fixtures and finishes and radiant floor heating and a spa-like shower in the master bath” and the second bedroom has been given another east window in between the two sales $195,000 (12%) apart. (The vintage marketing is here; old floor plan v. new floor plan.)

If you have been following that meme about the Trough Of 2009, you already know that a 12% spread from that trough is well within the convention (indeed, with an October 22, 2008 contract preceding that $1.575mm closing, that sale was about as nuclear as one could be). Yet the loft was improved after both bathrooms were gutted and refitted. I can’t see their books, but ballpark these changes at between $50,000 to $100,000, leaving even less of the $195,000 spread between February 2009 and October 2012 sales to be accounted for by the changed market conditions. As little as 6% of the spread if they spent six figures on the new bathrooms and bedroom carpentry.

That is an unnaturally shallow trough.

pity about those dropped ceilings
To the extent that there is a loft “style” in loft #6A, it is clean lines, clean palette, and a focus on the windows. Too bad there are no large format photos to work with, but the public area photos emphasize the white walls and smooth (dropped) ceiling, drawing one’s attention to the windows for drama. The layout, however, delays your appreciation of those windows, by putting that second bedroom immediately by the entry. You basically enter this loft by walking into the kitchen, then turn left before bumping into the kitchen island. You don’t see any windows until you’ve taken five steps and avoided that island.

When you do, you have the benefit of those south and east windows, as the corner “den” is fully open to the living room. With this layout, the “exposed wooden beams” are easy to miss in the listing photos, and they are probably mere accents in real life. Of course, my loft snobbery is evident in this description. There is a different way to arrange this space, and to adorn it.

If you were to come across the interior photos for the same loft footprint immediately above #6S in some different context, you would not immediately recognize loft #7S, as being in the same building, let alone having the exact same footprint, as #6S.

June 5 #6S   new to market $1.749mm
July 18   #7S new to market $1.695mm
Aug 4 #6S   contract  
Aug 7   #7S contract  
Oct 24 #6S   sold $1.765mm
Oct 25   #7S sold $1,852,520

As you can tell from my snobbish remarks, I prefer the classic loft look of #7S to the clean loft look of #6S. Hard to say, however, that The Market agreed, as the spread between the two lofts can likely be accounted for by the renovated kitchen on the higher floor. Clearly, both did well in that each went to contract quickly (9 weeks and 3 weeks) and both sold above ask (#6S by only 1%, but still).

loft lovers love lofts
With this head-to-head competition, each loft found the buyer who preferred each style of loft. Fascinating.

Notice how the public areas feel completely different, not only in style (open joists v. dropped ceiling) but in space. As you enter #7S you immediately see the east windows in a square living dining room, with the 3 bedrooms taking up most of the south end of the loft. But if you do not have to have 3 bedrooms, the more open living room + open den in #6S allocates 4 east windows and the 2 south at the corner to the open public area.

Different strokes for different folks. Probably valued at par, given the renovated kitchen in one. Did I mention that I love Manhattan lofts?

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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