First of all, screwing with the hem of the coat won't do anything to the button stance. That's staying where it is. If the coat is an inch too long for you, then buying it might be a mistake. If it's the right length, all changing the length will do is mess with the length.
If you're having the waist altered, than it doesn't matter what Ned cuts. You're having the waist altered.
I don't like "baby's first lapel" on the J. Crew coats I've seen. If you like the Ned one better, aren't you probably going to wear it long enough that it stops mattering what you paid for it?
I'm aware of all you said but didn't take into account the last one 2.5" lapels are thin. I guess the big factor was that I've tried Ludlow coats on instore, and know that the Ned is a complete gamble in fit, especially sleeve pitch.
If I buy the Ned, I want to chop the coat an 1" to make the perception the button stance is lower. I know that it won't physically - which is exactly why I said that the buttoning point is exactly where I like it to be on my navel. I just want to proportions to be different.
It's good that Ned's is moderately suppressed to begin with because if it were like an 1818 Madison, it'd take a lot more work and $ to suppress, presuming I need work on the waist to begin with. It may not need any.
This still hasn't swayed my opinion much though, because Fitz lapels are only 2.75", barely larger than that of J Crew's.