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..

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