Choice Dirt

By Dave Fratello | July 25th, 2008
Here and there, intriguing lot sales are coming on the market.

Partly that's because builders aren't able to snap them up like they once did – business is a drag. And partly we're seeing these lots come up on public offer because the sellers are looking to push the boundaries for what ought to be paid for choice dirt.

Last week, MBC featured two candidates for splittable lots, one in the Hills at 222 N. Poinsettia ($7.9m) and one in the Trees at 2900 Maple ($2.7m). (See "Just Split 'Em.")

Now, a new, dreamy Sand Section lot has just come up – 320 Manhattan Ave. (Click highlighted address for pics & details via Redfin.)

There's a ho-hum old duplex there now, but you know that's not what the $4.2m pricetag is all about.

320 Manhattan has a 33' frontage on Manhattan Ave. and goes back 100 feet all the way to Bayview (a sorta-street, sorta-alley).

Here's the big draw: That 100' stretch fronts the 4th St. walkstreet. No neighbors on one side, a gently upsloping walkstreet, ocean views. Yeah, nice.

There's probably just one thing that could make this South End lot better – if it were on the north side of the walkstreet, rather than the south, meaning the whole house could bask in sun for more of the day. Trifles.

Some fairly recent, comparable, open-market South End lot sales would include two slightly smaller (2700 sq. ft.) lots west of Manhattan Ave.:
  • 120 2nd, $3.810m, 4/30/07
  • 129 6th, $3.625m, 2/14/08
Also, 128 5th tried in Fall 2007 for $3.975m (see "Sand Lots," Nov. 2007), hung around a while, cut just a bit to $3.9 and canceled after nearby 129 6th sold for less.

All those lots were closer to The Strand, but were a bit smaller (2700 sq. ft.) and, of course oriented differently, with narrow walkstreet frontages. Adjusting for everything, 320 Manhattan might be just about right.

Your blog author is no big gambler, but we'll put aside our aversion to the Lottery and give it a play this weekend, just in case...

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