Outrageous Fortune

Charming but humble, former headquarters of the great Betteridge Jewelers, the building recently fetched $7.150M.

Charming but humble, former headquarters of the great Betteridge Jewelers, the building recently fetched $7.150M. (Terry’s moved down the block to larger, nicer quarters)

UPDATE: I neglected an obvious cause for this building’s high selling price, namely the prestigious inhabitant of 60+ years. Had it been, say, “Josh’s Used Furniture” during that entire time period, I doubt the value would have reached this level.

The next time you’re strolling down Greenwich Avenue, I want you to pause a moment at number 117 Greenwich Avenue, former home of Betteridge Jewelers. Gaze respectfully at this narrow, ordinary little three-story building because it sold this year for $7,150,000.

It sits on a vast .0631 acres (about 2,750 square feet), and interior finished space measures around 3,000 square feet. Word of the sale leaked out before the closing and commercial brokers I spoke with had guesses ranging from $5.5 to 6 million. They were quite wrong.

So why did it get so much? It’s Greenwich, Connecticut, first and foremost. And Greenwich Avenue has long been a “must have” trophy for some commercial real estate investors. There’s also the story that this sale is a “fluke” because the particular investor had “run out of time on a planned 1031 exchange *, and just had to get this deal done at any price”.

I must say that, throughout my career, every single time any property sold for a surprisingly high price, all of us experts would dismiss it as a fluke…

…Until the place next door sold for even more.

* As every school child knows, a 1031 exchange, named after a United States Internal Revenue tax code provision, is a popular, somewhat complex method of deferring taxation of capital gains, normally due upon the sale of a property. You do it by swapping the property for another, but you must designate which property you are swapping it for within 45 days of the sale of the first property. Got all that? No? Ok, so google “1031 tax exchange” and learn all there is to know..

15 thoughts on “Outrageous Fortune

    • Anony:
      That’s precisely the example I had in mind! And yes, Malkin supposedly “paid too much”, but somehow, in the end, these Greenwich investments usually end up paying off. By the way, the American Heritage Dictionary defines “greige” (rhymes with “gray”) as: Not bleached or dyed. Used of textiles”. But I see that inferior dictionaries allow this definition: “A color between beige and gray.”

    • Ants:
      You’ve revealed a little known fact! Young Terry decided to resurrect the old tradition of the shop keeper living “above the store”. Many’s the night, you could observe an anxious customer rapping on the front door of the store around 2 AM, to be greeted by Terry, wearing his long flannel nightshirt, lighting the way by candle. He would quickly re-attach the band of that $100,000 Patek Phillipe watch, replace a lost ruby in the wife’s pendant, you name it. All very quaint!

      • 200k sounds like the continuation of a long line of family discounts.
        I’m sure that has to be the case.
        Even in 1986 rents on Greenwich Avenue were fetching 50-60 dollars/sq.ft
        200k purchase price would have represented rents closer to $5/sq.ft

      • Win:
        $200,000 for 117 Greenwich Avenue does sound too cheap, but who knows, maybe Betteridge senior had been buying it in small percentages and that $200K recorded at Town Hall was just the last payment? Don’t know.

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