At the south end of the University Village development there are 4 mid-rise buildings, 2 of which are newer construction - the 811 and 833 W 15th loft buildings. Most of the units in these buildings are under 1200 square feet, have modest finishes, and have sold for as little as $106,000 for a 1 bedroom or $164,000 for a 2 bedroom in the last year. There are plenty of short sales and foreclosures in these buildings.
However, perched atop the 833 W 15th loft building is a drop dead gorgeous, highly upgraded penthouse unit with one of University Village's best views of the city (if you click on the link above the photo at the top of the page was approximately taken from the perspective of this unit - but with a wide angle lens that makes the city look farther away than it really is). This unit 901 is like no other home in University Village, with top of the line features and decorated to perfection with high end furnishings and extremely tasteful art.
The owners bought 2 units from the developer in February 2006 (really bad timing) for $855,000 and had them combined into a 2800 square foot unit. I do not know if the developer combined them for the buyers or not but I do know that they proceeded to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars redoing the home. My recollection was that they had well over $1 MM in the unit when they were done.
But then in August 2010 they decided to sell their condo and listed it for $1,050,000 with 3 parking spaces. I've had my eye on it ever since, wondering when it would finally sell and at what price. Just shy of 900 days, 4 price drops and 2 relistings later it finally closed last week for $725,000.
I was in the home a couple of years ago for a wine and cheese open house (Those events are for the benefit of the sellers since obviously wine and cheese are not going to convince a realtor to convince their buyers to buy a place they wouldn't otherwise buy. It certainly didn't do any good in this case.) and it certainly was spectacular. It did not look anything like a loft. Be sure to check out the slideshow below. Here is the listing description:
The most stylish, sophisticated + technologically advanced home that you’ll ever see!!! Take in jaw-dropping panoramic skyline views from 50’ terrace! Use your state of the art Creston tablet to control lighting, audio, media, temperature. Unlike anything on the market – A true work of art with unsurpassed finishes & style: De Guilio, waterworks, Ann Sachs Tile, Holly Hunt, + Baumeister AV. 3 gar pkg for $75k.
The particulars of the unit are:
- 3 bedrooms
- 2 1/2 bathrooms
- $10,000 in property taxes,
- $1047 in monthly assessments that do not include heating and air conditioning
The view from the unit is truly outstanding but, as you can tell from the photos below, the terrace has a brick wall that obscures much of the view when you are sitting down. I see this a lot in certain buildings and never understood why architects do this. It totally destroys the view.
The challenge in selling a unit like this was that all the other units in the building look like either this:
...or at the upper end this:
So the second unit pictured sold for $200/ square foot after backing out parking and has a very similar view to unit 901. But unit 901 only sold for a bit more than $237/ square foot after backing out parking, which is not all that impressive. So if, purely hypothetically speaking, readers of this blog should see this realtor advertising that he sold this unit at the highest price/square foot in the building they will know how to intelligently evaluate that claim.
So what's the lesson from this story? At the end of the day, when faced with a challenging listing, sellers can try hiring a top producer or burying a statue of St. Joseph in the back yard (equally effective) but all that is really going to work is to just keep lowering the price until they get a hit.