unsold in Summer of 2008, 74 Fifth Avenue loft goes to war

yes, Virgina; timing is everything
The recent sellers of the “2,475 sq ft” Manhattan loft #11A at 74 Fifth Avenue in the heart of Greenwich Village had poor timing the first time around. They tried to sell at $3.3mm from July through November 2008, missing the market by a few months or more before hibernating in the nuclear winter that started after Lehman filed for bankruptcy in September. They had a very different experience on a re-do 3 years later, coming to market on September 29 at $3.25mm, finding a contract by October 31, and closing on February 10 at $3,350,600, a funny (large!) number indicative of a bidding war.

To repeat: no sale for 4 months in 2008 at $3.3mm; a bidding war and contract within 5 weeks in late 2011 at a tiny premium to the 2008 ask, and a 3% premium to the 2011 ask.

The only thing that changed is The Market. (In a good way.) And the view. (Not in a good way.)

how glorious is that sunrise now?
It takes a a while for the broker babble to get around to the interior of the space (a strangely long while), but one of the main points is that “the morning sunrise gloriously illuminates this home”, as there are 5 windows in the living room and master suite facing east (0ver Fifth Avenue) and another 5 facing south (over 13th Street), one in each of the living room, den and 3 other bedrooms. (Floor plan, here.)

The full screen pictures are much easier to view on the Heddings website than on StreetEasy, where you will see wide open sky to the east from the living room and the master bedroom. I wonder when those pictures were taken, as you do not see the under-construction 16-story New School building across Fifth Avenue that is scheduled to be completed in mid-2013. I am sure there was no intention to fool anyone, and there is no need for The Google to do View Diligence; you can’t miss the construction site, either from the street or from those east windows.

That New School construction was in the news as a terrible neighbor, as recounted in my February 8, nightmare scenario for lofts at 7 East 13 Street, as New School construction allegedly destroys building. That post links to The Real Deal story about how terrible a neighbor it is, where there is a rendering of the New School building that seems to be oriented at the southwest corner of that building, showing a 5-story base that is built to the sidewalk and 11 upper floors set back a little from 13th Street. Sunrises will still be glorious when the New School building is filled in, but there will be a much smaller sliver of eastern sky from the 11th floor of 74 Fifth Avenue.

The threat to the glorious sunrises was much more apparent last Fall than it would have been in 2008, when the New School plans were being discussed but ground had not yet broken. So the strong (immediate) sale (bidding war!) in 2011 is all the more impressive. But wait … there’s more!

huge premium to the last sale
The “2,475 sq ft” loft #11C cleared at $1,354/ft. It has an almost unseemly number of rooms (4 bedrooms, windowed den), two of which are likely candidates to be removed if the new buyers do not need more than 3 bedrooms, as that would significantly open up the living room. Loft #8B is smaller, at “1,900 sq ft” (it has the same footprint as #10B), with ‘only’ 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, so it is not directly competitive with #11A. #8B strikes me as (probably) having higher quality finishes than #11A, as its “thoughtful and sophisticated renovation with high quality finishes” shows (in photos) as more sophisticated than the (country?) look of #11A.

Finishes aside, #8B sold on February 18, 2011 at only $2.025mm; at $1,067/ft, that is a 21% deficit to #11A on a dollar-per-foot basis.

Maybe the #11A pictures do not do justice to the quality of the finishes there. Or maybe the 4+ bedroom niche is deeper than I expect. Or maybe, even with the new 16-story academic building out front, the sunrise is still glorious enough to earn a premium for #11A over the north and west facing #8B. Did I mention that the #11A sale is a record for the building on a $/ft basis? (The previous high was #10A in September 2007 [2 quarters shy of The Peak] for $2.95mm, $1,219/ft, with [then!] “unobstructed city views”; #11A has nicer finishes, but, still, even that comp is a spread of 11% in favor of #11A.)

You see where I am going … lifting my hat and scratching my head, while marveling at $1,354/ft for #11A.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012


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