little loft with great low floor light sells at $993/ft at 130 Nassau Street

a few topics of interest
The recent sale of the “901 sq ft” Manhattan loft #3J at 150 Nassau Street is interesting for several things, but the first thing that caught my eye was the broker babble “some of the best light in the Financial District” for a third floor loft. (Perhaps that “… in the Financial District” is a very heavy modifier.) You might be more impressed that the “901 sq ft” floor plan fits exactly one bedroom, or that “uniquely angled … hard wood floors” are a selling point, or even that the architect-owner put in some other brag-worthy features (“an incredible book/media unit”) but didn’t seem to generate a premium on resale for having done so; after all, it’s a free country.

But it’s my blog so I will start with the light. I often tell people that one of the interesting things about lofts is that in many classic Manhattan loft neighborhoods the quality of light and view can be surprisingly high from what would be on the Uppers (east or west) a “low” floor. Light and views are all about the angles, and varied building heights, and depth of lots. Having said that, the quality of light and views in Financial District lofts is often poor because of the skyscraper canyons down there. Hence my surprise to see light being babbled enthusiastically for a third floor loft. Especially a third floor loft with exposures south and east, in a building whose most open exposures are generally north and west. (Google Maps nicely shows that the monster Gehry sits just to the east of 150 Nassau, an adjoining building south, and open space north; but … it’s all about the angles.)

I am going to take the babble’s word for it (about the light, I mean), even though there is just a hint of that light in the main listing photo. That photo shows buildings taller than 4 stories directly opposite at least 4 of 5 living room windows, but there’s a streak of sun light angled across the rug, so maybe it’s all about the angles. (As well, I assume that no professional would brag about light in a loft that does not have “some of the best light in the Financial District”, so don’t take this as a slam against the agent or the babble, but as an appreciation for [rare] low-floor light in a tall building zone.)

did the architect owner add some value???
From a values perspective, light can be a premium feature, of course. Just as high-end and custom work can be, and as the subtle design elements added by architect-owners can be. But from a ruthless comp analysis, it is hard to see #3J as a premium sale compared to recent sales of other 1-bedroom lofts in the building.

The dollar-per-foot value of $993/ft hardly distinguishes #3J from the last 5 small lofts that have sold here. They are all smaller than #3J, but with true 1-bedroom layouts:

  • $1,028/ft     #9C Sept 14, 2012 $668,000
  • $1,028/ft    #5C May 2, 2012 $668,500
  • $1,000/ft     #6C Jan 19, 2012 $650,000
  • $975/ft         #5D* Aug 30, 2012 $675,000
  • $961/ft         #3D Dec 8, 2011 $665,000

*#5D was a private sale between next-door neighbors, though it appears to be within the range of market values

(Going back to that #3D sale permits me to capture 12 months of sales, and to include my January 10, 150 Nassau Street mini-loft sells at about 2004 pricing, in which I went into a bit of a metaphysical funk about whether market data points can be “irrational”, occasioned by the … er … unusual sales history of #3D.)

I am afraid to say that there is no evidence that either the light, the angled floors, or any of the other cool stuff added by the architect-owner to loft #3J since it was sold by the developer in 2002 can be proven to have added any value to #3J. I hope he will not be offended.

There is one wrinkle to a comps analysis for #3J, in that it appears to be the only 1-bedroom of its size that has re-sold since the initial offering. (Property Shark building page, here.) At “901 sq ft” it is considerably larger than any of the other 1-bedrooms in the table above, none of which reach 700 sq ft. It is possible, therefore that the ‘extra’ space in #3J is viewed by The Market as an extravagance, not valued at par. Personally, I doubt that, and there’s no way to prove it either way; but it is logically possible. But still: cold comfort to the architect-owner of #3J who went to the trouble of angling the floors and installing that “incredible book/media unit”.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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