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Someone is Paying $127 Per Month for a West Village Apartment

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We love it when residential property listings wind up in the hands of brokers who specialize in investment sales because that crowd is used to spilling all the details, not just the ones that sound good to condo buyers. Which brings us to 59 Morton Street in the West Village, a gorgeous 25' wide Federal-style townhouse with a fascinating history that goes all the way back to 1828 (and don't get us started on the doorway!). The historic house, which last traded hands for $3.7 million in 2009, is now back on the market through Massey Knakal for $6.5 million. What's changed so much in the past two years? Or heck, the past 180? Not the rent, that's for sure!

The house is currently configured as an owner's triplex on the bottom three floors and two rental apartments on the fourth and fifth floors. According to Massey Knakal, the rent-stabilized tenant up on five is paying $615 per month. Sound like a bargain for prime West Village real estate? Then we hope you're sitting down, because the tenant on the fourth floor is under the more strict protection of rent control, and this person is paying $127 on the first of every month. These apartments, by the way, are both just over 1,000 square feet. Excuse us while we light ourselves on fire.

An old brochure for the property mentions another rent-stabilized apartment on the garden level. The seller probably bought the tenant out after shelling out the $3.7 million in 2009. The Massey Knakal listing stresses the "future upside" of the top floors, noting, "If vacated, the property could have tremendous potential for a single family conversion." But the buyer had better be ready to bust out the checkbook to make that happen. Or at least cash in a couple of favors with the Man in Black.

4/25 UPDATE: The Post has identified the tenant as John Dugdale, a blind photographer.

A couple more interior pics from the listing:

· Listing: 59 Morton Street [Massey Knakal]