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PriceChopper Hall of Fame: Tribeca Triplex's 67% Drop

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"Here's a PriceChop you don't want to miss," emails an alert Curbed tipster. "It's the penthouse at 16 Desbrosses Street in Tribeca. A whopping 67% reduction from original asking price a year ago." And sure enough, it is—or at least appears so: this 4,378 square foot raw space has plummeted from an original asking of $8.995 million in February 2008 to its new, timid asking of $2.995 million just last week. "$684/SF FOR PRIME TRIBECA PENTHOUSE!!" screams the Halstead listing. "Enjoy 17.5' ceilings allowing for amazing light and river views and epitomize the ultimate in sophistication and opulence that the discerning buyer of this 4378 (to be over 5500+ internal sf after build-out) loft will truly appreciate."
It also sounds, well, cheap. Granted, the space is said to be raw, which certainly plays a role; anyone know anything about seller's motivation here, or if there's an angle we're missing? Because something else has us somewhat baffled. It's also Rather Hideous, in its own special way:

This here is another listing at 16 Desbrosses Street, this one helmed by Elliman. It's also a triplex, #56S, but at only 3,324 square feet, it's asking $5.3 million—a $2.3 million premium over its undeveloped neighbor upstairs. Might the premium price reflect the copious quantities of zebra-skin rugs that must presumably be included in the price to juice it this high? Or, again, is there something here we're missing? Your speculation, please.
· Listing: 16 Desbrosses Street [Halstead]
· Listing: 16 Desbrosses Street [Prudential Douglas Elliman]