not quite a return to the white box offering / 161 Hudson loft owner will build-to-suit

how many would buy what they can’t see?
There was a time when many Manhattan loft buyers had the time, patience, resources and expertise to buy raw, primitive, blank or “white” space to turn them into something personal that served their specific needs. It is my sense that we have not had many such buyers in at least five years.
white boxes are so over
The last “white box” development that comes to mind was at 315 W 36 St in 2003, where the developer “finished” the lofts with just enough bathroom and kitchen to qualify for a Certificate of Occupancy and installed the mechanicals for central air without running any ducts. The expectation was that buyers would rip out the perfunctory plumbing fixtures, put in a kitchen and bathrooms where and how they liked, and run the ductwork for CAC after adding any walls.
any white boxes since 2003??
The first units to sell at 315 W 36 St sold in the $550/ft to $750/ft range, depending on whether they had outdoor space or had the better view (south was more open than north). It looks as though 11D sold as a white box in August 2004 for $1.09mm for 2,007 sq ft and then re-sold two years later (after having been all tricked out, one hopes) for $2.075mm.
The agent grapevine carried the word at the time that the white box sales “weren’t doing so well” and the developer either held the prices of the last units (other new developments then were seeing a parade of pre-sale price increases) or finished them more extensively than originally planned or simply sat patiently for the final sales to occur. (Grapevines being what they are, the facts just may be different.)
build to suit
The new-today listing for #6D at 161 Hudson St intrigued me because the owner is offering to sell the 1,100 sq ft space for $1.55mm and “Owner will built to your specifications and will include top of the line oversized Viking, Miele, Subzero appliances.
161 Hudson St was converted to condo in 2004, with the first closed sales in December and nearly all of the units were sold by Spring 2005. Nearly all of the original sales were around $900/ft, but 5D sold in April 2006 off an asking price of $1.35mm and now 6D is being offered above $1,400 sq ft.
A few smaller units (such as the “D” line) took longer to sell than the units that are 2,000 sq ft or larger, but I can’t tell if this listing for #6D with Larry Carty at Warburg is a re-sale or will be the original sale of this unit by the developer (there Is no mention of buyer paying the transfer taxes, so maybe it is a resale).
Build-to suit is an interesting choice by the owner (especially if this is a re-sale), rather than (a) sell as is, in its presumably rough state, or (b) build it out fully to what they expect will appeal to most buyers.
I can see some very expensive negotiations ahead, as The Lawyers get involved in the specifications for any build-out, and I wonder about how many buyers are interested in having these choices.
The owner will probably argue that s/he can do the work less expensively, while saving the buyer the hassles and uncertainty of dealing with contractors.
is there a Plan B?
But I suspect that there are enough buyers who will prefer to, instead, do their own work or have their own contractors do the work that the seller will need a Plan B marketing approach – how much a price reduction to buy “as is”?
© Sandy Mattingly
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