Downtown Cottages at $3m

By Dave Fratello | May 11th, 2009
A couple of beach-close, downtown-adjacent, nicely improved cottages are starting above $3m.

Is $3m+ the going rate for old-school MB and near the pier?

The listings are:
  • 125 8th (pictured) (4br/3ba, 2150 sq. ft., including a separate guest house, at $3.295m); and
  • 221 7th (3br/3ba, 2150 sq. ft., $3.375m)
Both are fairly long holds.

8th has been in the same hands for 10 years, while the 7th St. house has been the listing agent's home for almost 25 years.

That means price comparisons can be tough to make, but it is eye-opening that the 8th St. listing is now up at 3 times the 1999 acquisition price of $1.1m.

Score one for working at home: 125 8th has been, for a couple of years, adjacent to a sometime shooting site for a certain Showtime series in which the owner appears.

The big difference between the properties, other than the west-of-Manhattan/east-of-Manhattan divide, is that spare unit at 8th that "could be a Bachelor Rental" (per the listing). Nice if you want it, but that cuts into the main home's space a bit.

In this little charm-off between old-timers, 221 7th (pictured) has the edge. The big, open beamed ceilings, cozy spaces, sunrooms and period-inspired bath remodels give it an updated-but-true feel.

Either of these old-timers could capture the imagination, but what's their competition for the money?
  • Not too much further south is 217 2nd, another quasi-duplex with significantly more space (5br/5ba, 3425 sq. ft. in total) listed at $3.495m.
The updated 70s build can't compete on charm, but it's 50% less than the others by PPSF. It was purchased in Dec. 2003 for $2.1m, so that markup may be a tad ambitious.
On the other side of downtown, on busy, busy (for listings) 16th St., 2 listings below $3m could be viewed as comparable by profile:
  • 209 16th is a duplex now, with the main unit around 1450 sq. ft. and the other near 900, a total of 2325 sq. ft., just a bit bigger than 125 8th. This one has little curb appeal, but nice insides and a street which is more secluded and not much further from the downtown core. It's at $2.699m – about $700k below the cottages and, not incidentally, just +$160k over the March 2005 price ($2.535m).
  • 228 16th, barely up the block but near Highland, is a remodel with part of the 4br/6ba, 2950 sq. ft. coming from the apartment/guest suite in back. Priced at $2.95m.
Maybe the charming cottages of our tale here would be valued more for their dirt. If so, we should also give a nod to some same-size South End lot sales from the past couple years:
  • 120 2nd, $3.810m, 4/30/07
  • 129 6th, $3.625m, 2/14/08
  • 128 6th, $2.625m, 12/3/08
You could argue that the dirt is declining in value, but this is a small sample.

There are plenty of great ways to spend your $3m in MB. Is the old-time feel worth that much to the buyers with the scratch?

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