no mistaking the condition of artist loft at 182 Grand Street that sold for $710/ft

“classic”, “quintessential”, “rare”, “authentic”
The Manhattan loft #2E at 182 Grand Street was marketed with a historical marker (“currently serves as the studio for a working artist”) and every picture in the listing tells that story. Yes, the floor plan of this “2,000 sq ft” loft shows a kitchen and a bathroom but not even the curious invitation to use the loft as-is (“[b]ring your architect to imagine a superb new home, or bring your canvas to create your next masterpiece”) obscures the fact that his this loft has been sold to be gutted.

I can’t tell how long this building has been inhabited by artists, but it probably goes back at least into the 1970s. The coop seems to have been formed in 1980, when the name of the coop (Via Magna) first appears in the Property Shark list of title documents. The #2E “working artist” seller had been there since at least 1984, per phone records on The Shark. The coop has east and west units, with separate elevators for each side. In fact, the elevators are flush with the front building wall, taking away one window from the living space (as you see in the #2E photos), which is a tell-tale sign to me of an elevator being added relatively late in the building’s history.

It takes an elastic sense of geography to babble that this block, just west of Mulberry Street, is “[c]onveniently nestled between Soho and Little Italy”, but perhaps Little Italy is so tenuous even as a concept these days to warrant that fib. Back in the day, this would have been noticeably Little Italy, and likely a warehouse or light industrial facility.

I can’t see prices, but the sequence of deeds filed on the (pre-coop conversion) building shows something was going on in the 1970s here: per The Shark, there were deeds filed transferring ownership of this building in 1969, 1971, 1973, and 1976. Whether the activity represented faith in progress or the flight of capital I can’t say. Scorcese’s 1973 release, Mean Streets, would have taken place just off (if not on) this block. That suggests a flight of capital, no?

art ain’t cheap
Loft #2E sold on June 30 for $1.42mm, or $710/ft. (Figure a minimum ballpark renovation cost of $200/ft.) That purchase price compares extremely well to the last similar sale in the building, the larger #4E, which sold on December 13, 2006 for $1,474,000. There is no listing history for this sale on Streeteasy, but our data-base shows it was billed as having “[g]reat potential for a 3BR with 2 baths or yet another working artists loft”. I.e., another total gut job.

Loft #4E was said to be “2,300 sq ft” and the floor plan in our data-base shows that it had extra space in the west side of the building at the rear. The ligt light may be dramatically better on the 4th floor compared to the 2nd floor, yet the larger 4th floor loft traded at only $641/ft just 13 months before The Peak. As I said, #2E at $710/ft 3 weeks ago compares extremely well to #4E nearly five years ago.

The last sale in the building was the entire 6th floor in July 2008 for $4,068,900 for “4,000 sq ft” and “1,300 sq ft” of private roof space. I hit that loft when it came to market (back when I did such things) on July 27, 2007, which links to a Curbed hit on the same listing. That one is not a good comparable sale for #2E for size, condition (said to be in move-in condition), light and that outdoor space. But eagle-eyed readers may remember that post.

no A.I.R.
One of the ways you know that this building is not in Soho is that it is not zoned for manufacturing but for commercial purposes, with a residential Certificate of Occupancy that wold would not require Artist Certification. The perfect buy for someone concerned about the city stepping up A.I.R. enforcement.

[this post has been edited to correct some (sloppy!) typos.]

© Sandy Mattingly 2011

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