Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Downtown co-op lofts: no dog spas, but many can be had for under $1,000 per square foot.

As I’ve discussed earlier, there is a much greater difference between co-ops and condos downtown than there is in the rest of Manhattan.  At least on the inside.

Anywhere else in Manhattan, if you want to know if an apartment is a co-op or a condo, you have to ask somebody.

In Soho, Noho and Nolita, it's pretty obvious.  Nearly all the condos in these neighborhoods are either new conversions that retain their original facades but are completely gutted and reconstructed on the inside, or newly constructed from the ground up. 

The co-ops are a different matter.  They’re real artists’ lofts which were factories and warehouses made habitable by the pioneer artists who settled there forty or fifty years ago.

Because the condos are new and shiny and have such weird amenities (weird to the pioneers, at least) as doormen and exercise rooms and wine cellars and dog spas, their prices are much higher. 

Another reason for condos’ higher prices is their current popularity.  Suddenly, everybody wants a condo.  And there are far fewer condos than co-ops.  (A good case can be made for either, depending on your needs, but that’s a subject for another time.)

For the last twelve months, the average price per square foot for a co-op loft in Soho, Noho and Nolita has been $1,047, as opposed to about $1,750 for a condo.

The highest PPSF for a co-op loft was $1,623 for a 2400 s.f. high full floor at 458 Broadway, with 2.5 baths, in mint condition, with 24 windows spread along both a long wall and a short wall.

The lowest PPSF, $521, was for a second floor loft at 620 Broadway that faced east over Crosby Street. 

The foot print of the 620 Broadway loft is about 2400 square feet, but the typically high (15 feet in this case) ceilings of a second floor allow for another 700 square feet or so of mezzanine which brings the total square footage up to the listed 3146.  I didn’t see this one, but the condition was given as excellent.  

It's a gray area as to whether mezzanine square footage should be counted as the ceilings in the mezzanine areas are lower than the 8' required by the Department of Buildings, so the price per square foot here may be artificially reduced. 

The lack of light here would be a problem for many buyers.  Note that the indentations on the south wall are not windows. 

They used to be lot line windows--that is, windows in a wall that sits on the very edge of the lot--that looked over a gas station, but the gas station gave way to a big glass-curtain-walled commercial building with a huge Adidas store on the ground floor, and the windows are no more.  Thus the perils of lot-line windows.

The median price was $1,160, for a 2000 s.f. fifth floor loft at 325 Lafayette Street.  This was an extremely odd shape for a loft; it’s a trapezoid, and very narrow at one end.  It needed a complete gut renovation.

The clients I showed it to were put off by the configuration,  but it gets a huge amount of light and has windows on all sides except the really short wall where the elevator and the stairs are.  

Another huge advantage of this loft is that the maintenance is basically cab fare--$600 a month.  The building has no underlying mortgage, and the tenant share-holders derive income from the commercial space on the ground floor.

Here’s the spreadsheet:

458 Broadway72387$3,875,000 $1,6233/7/12$2,800
117 Prince 3C2300$3,100,000 $1,3483/22/12$2,200
48 Great Jones 3F2303$3,100,000 $1,3464/5/12$2,250
458 Broadway4FL2387$3,200,000 $1,3411/5/12$2,800
682 Broadway3FL3000$4,000,000 $1,3338/25/11$4,270
45 Crosby 6N1955$2,600,000 $1,33011/22/11$1,850
114 Spring41581$2,100,000 $1,3286/29/11$2,500
114 Spring 3FLR1662$2,200,000 $1,3243/19/12$2,500
477 Broome 431111$1,430,000 $1,2879/14/11$1,686
541 Broadway4B3200$4,100,000 $1,2815/23/11$200
292 Lafayette 7W1433$1,820,000 $1,2701/11/12$2,235
66 Crosby 4B1540$1,950,000 $1,2661/10/12$1,593
45 Crosby 4N1955$2,475,000 $1,2668/19/11$1,850
22 Wooster 4C3000$3,750,000 $1,2508/5/11$3,911
652 Broadway7R1500$1,850,000 $1,2331/13/12$603
431 W. Broadway4FL2000$2,375,000 $1,1887/21/11$1,300
27 Howard4TH2000$2,325,000 $1,1637/28/11$3,100
325 Lafayette5FL2000$2,320,000 $1,1604/21/12$600
135 Greene 5S2600$2,950,000 $1,1357/19/11$2,100
424 Broome52200$2,449,000 $1,1135/25/11$1,680
468 W.Broadway5D1571$1,700,000 $1,0824/18/12$2,005
101 Wooster 3F1951$2,060,000 $1,0568/10/11$2,094
712 Broadway22600$2,700,000 $1,0387/14/11$3,622
543 Broadway42148$2,225,000 $1,0364/4/12$0
113 Princ Street5ER1350$1,390,000 $1,0308/18/11$1,333
307 W. Broadway7FL3200$3,175,000 $9924/23/12$1,650
16 Crosby 3RN2200$2,180,000 $9918/30/11$83
135 Greene 4S2650$2,625,000 $9915/23/12$2,100
114 Mercer4R2250$2,225,000 $9894/13/12$2,810
242 Lafayette 4S1480$1,412,500 $9541/5/12$2,215
561 Broadway5A2100$2,000,000 $95212/14/11$3,400
16 Crosby2F2722$2,375,000 $87310/28/11$67
565 Broadway34184$3,600,000 $8601/26/12$6,834
45 Crosby 5N1955$1,625,000 $8314/26/12$1,850
141 Wooster 3C1760$1,453,000 $82610/11/11$2,100
81 Grand3FLR1575$1,200,000 $7621/19/12$2,000
307 W. Broadway6FL3300$2,450,000 $7425/15/12$1,500
182 Grand 2E2000$1,420,000 $7106/30/11$1,897
48 Great Jones 2NDFL4400$3,100,000 $7055/17/12$4,500
710 Broadway6TH2283$1,540,000 $6753/21/12$3,057
712 Broadway3RD2400$1,600,000 $66711/16/11$3,622
100 Wooster5TH2875$1,800,000 $6267/11/11$3,000
55 Great Jones3RD2100$1,250,000 $5951/5/12$0
620 Broadway2R3146$1,637,500 $52111/19/11$2,317

See related link

Friday, May 18, 2012

NYC’s race to the moon, and what’s up there.

[Links to articles cited in this post are at bottom.]

Last December I wrote here about new residential buildings in Manhattan getting taller and taller.  Well, now they’re getting taller still.

The Real Deal reports that a permit has been issued for a 1300' residential tower to be built at 440 Park Avenue.  The Girasole Tower, a currently stalled project on 11th Avenue, could rise even higher if and when it's completed.
The sliver building I live in.

Today’s Times reports that by 2016, New York could have 6 of the 10 tallest buildings in the country (with Chicago having the other 4), and 3 of the highest residential structures.

The Times writer, Alexei Barrionuevo, asks, “What is it that drives some people to live so high up?  And developers to keep building ever-taller edifices?”

The second question is easy.  Developers will build anything there’s a market for. 
And location (as you may have heard) is an important factor in real estate value.  Manhattan is a highly desirable location, but there’s only so much of it.  If you can’t build sideways, you have to build up.
Regarding the first question:  We could ask the fabulously wealthy person who just bought the penthouse on the 89th and 90th floors of 157 West 57th Street for more than $90 million what appealed to him about the space, but nobody knows who he is

However, I can speak with a little authority, as I live on the 36th floor of my building, which was a high floor for a residential building in 1986, when my husband and I bought our small apartment.
December sunset from my window.
And I took my first job in Manhattan partly because the office was on the 42nd floor of what was then the General Motors building, at 59th and Fifth. 

Lately I’ve been above the 60th floor in buildings in midtown, and, as there is such a cluster of tall buildings there, in some of them all you can see from those floors is other buildings. 

The advantage is strictly one of location, although the elevator ride down can seem almost as long as a cab ride from some lesser area.

But in my downtown neighborhood, the light and views are incredible, even from the lowly 36th floor. 

On a clear day, I swear I can see Chicago. 
(There are those who have claimed to see the Space Needle from my western windows, but it’s just the Willis Tower.)

The apartment is actually too bright on late summer afternoons.  I have to wear a hat with a wide brim while working at my computer to keep the sun out of my eyes. 

But I love, love, love watching thunder and lightning and heavy rain roll in from New Jersey.  And on a cloudy day I know whether the sun will be coming out any time soon. 

Storm en route from New Jersey, camera flash.

There are some disadvantages.  I had to climb up and then down all 35 flights once when a pipe broke, and once in the dark during a blackout. 

(The neighbors on lower floors kindly put chairs out in the hall so residents of higher floors could rest for a bit during the climb.  One offered me water.)   

The building is a sliver, with less than 3,500 square feet on a floor, and it’s designed to sway just a little in a heavy wind. 

This drove my cat crazy, until he got used to it.  He would hide among the sweaters in the closet closest to the center of the floor.

And speaking of wind, yes, it does get windy on my balcony, which is on the south side of the building.  There’s no obstruction to the wind that blows in from the west.  This is especially noticeable around sunset. 

But later on, the wind dies down, and it’s lovely to sit on the balcony with a glass of wine and watch the moon rise and the stars come out.