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Curbed Readers Write: On Spec Houses and Starbucks

1) Regarding the new lux condos slated for 18th and 8th, a Curbed reader writes, "it really depresses and angers me. I'm incredibly irate that the gorgeous little townhouse that used to house the namesake 18th and 8th Restaurant was torn down. It was really charming, nice flower boxes always hung at each window, nice red brick facade, etc. Unless it was completely unsound structurally then the developers should be ashamed of themselves. Thank God we have protected historic districts like the West Village. I guess we know why Chelsea looks like Chelsea and not something with a spec of charm."
2) Some more love for the Sculpture of Living, just weeks away from the move-in day: "In addition to the small closets, you can't open the windows either, except for what look like tiny casement thingies. Great for those days when the A/C conks out."
3) Regarding the new Starbucks on the LES, a reader writes, "hahahahaha!! welcome to hell! just wait til the jamba juice comes!!!" Mmm, smoothie.
4) More intel on the 20,000sqft UESer (pictured above) featured on Tuesday and maligned on Wednesday: "It's on 63rd between park and mad, and it's been under construction in fits and starts for several years. The NYT had an article on it about 12-18 months ago because it was like the most expensive spec house in the world or something. Or was it about the most expensive concrete slab, because they were originally trying to sell it unfinished and let you spend the last $5mm yourself, just the way you like it. So a cinderblock shell is NOT worth $20 million, but a cinderblock shell with a botched classical brick facade IS? Sounds pretty rational to me..."
5) And, finally, a couple of takes on the mathematically confounding 926 Fifth Ave.: "You get to live on Fifth Avenue in what I believe is one of the last remaining townhouses along that east side of Central Park. Instead of paying the $45 million they were asking to buy it free and clear, you're saving $30.5 million by paying only $14.5 million! Put that savings to work and you could be earning a few million bucks a year while you continue to live the high life on the Golden Mile with no co-op board breathing down your neck! If you die or need to move, sell the lease like they're selling it now or sublet it-- $37,500 is way below market. If you sublet it at market, say $120,000 per month, you'd then be earning a decent return on your $14.5 million."

After the jump, a special correspondent threatens an Excel spreadsheet.

5) (cont'd) "If that place is up for rent for 50 years, at 37K (okay, it does say base, with no escalation mentioned), you could take the $14.5 million (which would not get you the same place for purchase), invest it with an expectation of 7.5% return. Allowing for $700,000K (a 2% escalation would still net you $100 million) in rental costs (all other costs would be even money if you owned -- maintenance and the like), you would have $188 million at the end of 50 years.

"Does this mean this that townhouses will cost $200 million in 2055? Or worse (try putting some hedge fund return numbers and see what comes out -- 12% gets you 2 billion plus)?

"See attached in case my math is bad." [Excel sheet deleted for sanity. -ed]