loft at 65 West 13 Street disguised as prewar apartment sells at $1,572/ft

why do people DO these things??
I am fascinated by things that don’t fit, such as a person selling a Park Avenue prewar to move to a classic loft, or an artist selling a Noho loft to move to the Upper West Side, or an open plan prewar apartment, or a classic loft dressed up like an apartment. The recent sale of the “2,989 sq ft” Manhattan loft #8G at 65 West 13 Street (the Greenwich Condominium) fits that last misfit category, with a classic loft floor plan and 12 foot ceilings dressed up like a Park Avenue dowager: ceiling moldings (there must be a technical name for that) to go with the corner molding, fancy baseboards, wood paneling part way up the living room walls, at least three archways marking the transitions between spaces, a massive mantel for the (fake!) fireplace, and wall and ceiling light fixtures to match. There’s even a “library”.

I am out of my league here, so I don’t know if a true Park Avenue dowager might have a 40 foot living room, but if it did it would have the good taste to close the kitchen to view from all that living. That blasphemy of an open kitchen aside, the listing photos could stand in for a classic seven on either side of upper town.

Yes, I am a Manhattan Loft Snob, but I understand that people can do anything they want with their interiors. Dressing a classic loft space as a prewar apartment, however, does have market consequences. the people drawn to nearly 3,000 sq ft of loft space in classic loft neighborhoods tend to prefer spaces that match the neighborhoods, rather than spaces that play against the neighborhood. (Just as there are relatively few buyers who want to live in the East 80s who prefer a loft style to a classic prewar style, there are relatively few buyers in classic loft neighborhoods who prefer an apartment style to a loft style.)

Did you see how I cheated in that parenthetical? It is one thing to make a classic loft in Tribeca look like a Park Avenue apartment, as in the example I touched on in my August 22, did American Thread loft at 260 West Broadway sell on a formula in private sale?.) But in the blocks on either side of Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village, there are many, many grand “apartments”. Indeed, these blocks have a wide range of housing types, from lofts to massive classic prewars to brownstones to small prewar apartment buildings to 1950s (and later) former-rentals-turned-coop/condo. The Greenwich was not converted to condos until 2001 and was always a ‘luxury’ building, with interior spaces that stripped or covered the classic loft elements of brick walls, columns, and exposed mechanicals.

In other words, this loft is ideally located for someone who might prefer the scale and proportions of a loft dressed in a very “apartment” decor.

hitting the price but tearing the calendar
The market reaction to this loft was positive, though restrained. The loft sold at the last asking price (and at only a modest discount from the first ask (3%), but it took a while:

Nov 2, 2011 new to market $4.85mm
Jan 20, 2012   $4.7mm
April 30 contract  
Aug 14 sold $4.7mm

(omitting two periods off the market, 5 weeks in total)

That is $1,572/ft (not $1,566/ft, see the deed record), which sounds like nothing to sneeze at. Only 11 lofts of the nearly 100 on the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 that since July 1 sold for higher $/ft values.

do the neighbors care?
Problem is, $1,572/ft is not a brag-worthy sale in this building. Most of the last public sales of large lofts here left #8G behind:

#2F Aug 1, 2012 $4.65mm $1,736/ft
#6E/F April 11, 2012 $8.25mm $1,755/ft
#11A Sept 9, 2011 Sept 9, 2011 $2,061/ft*
#8D July 6, 2011 $3,182,500 $1,693/ft

(*Penthouse #11A has a 725 sq ft terrace; ballparking that outdoor space at 50% of the value of the interior yields that adjusted value per foot.)

The exceptions are two smaller lofts on the second floor:

#2D July 30, 2012 $2.05mm $1,340/ft
#2B May 26, 2011 $3.265mm $1,369/ft

Perhaps #8G traded at a discount to that top four set above because of layout or view differences. Or perhaps there is a market discount for being an “apartment” in a loft building.

caution: stalking ahead
The notice address for the seller tells me that he moved to a very loft-y new loft in a very loft-y area; though I cannot tell if he  (why?); did he rented or bought. I can’t find large format photos anywhere on-line, but the (limited) babble describes a luxury loft space and the new place has a classic Long-and-Narrow (loft-y) footprint. If he rented, he will probably leave as-is; if he bought, I wonder if it will morph into a fish STRIKE apartment out of water.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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