This month is Disaster Preparedness Month in Seattle, and with the impending storm bearing down on Seattle, no better time than now to prepare and share some ideas to help you be prepared.
This week the city of Seattle hosted the Shaker Trailer, which is an earthquake simulator. I took a ride on this thing and it was a simulated 8.0 magnitude jolt which, I’ll tell you, really gets things moving and shaking big time! Here is video of us in the simulator from Komo News.
Getting ready for the “big one” will also have you ready for this weekend’s severe wind and rain, which could potentially knock out power to your condo.
Here are some quick tips that you can do rather quickly to prepare yourself for the weather this weekend, and even for 8.0 earth shaker that might come someday.
Even newer high rise condo buildings with backup generators can still experience power outages, so prepare for that. The generators often are only designed to power the building’s emergency systems, common area lighting, elevators, garage doors, etc. It might not power your condo unit. Check with your facility manager to find out what is powered by the generator.
Have flashlights and battery powered lanterns along with extra batteries ready.
If you use candles, be very careful as fires are a big cause of property damage during power outages due to careless open flames. Blow out the candles before going to bed or leaving the condo.
Secure things on your decks or patios, or bring them inside. Flying furniture, umbrellas or BBQ’s can fall over and smash into your unit’s windows and cause damage or worst case, can fall off your deck and really hurt someone.
If your fireplace or natural gas cook top in the kitchen use an electric ignitor, you should know how to manually light your appliance in case you need it while the power is out.
For those who have electric powered furniture or medical devices such as home oxygen, electric breathing nebulizers, electric recliners or beds, you should find out if you have a battery backup on that device. If not you could be stuck without out important medical interventions, or you could get stuck in your chair or bed if the power goes out while you are in it and it reclined with the feet up. You can buy batter back-up units that you can plug things into to get you by for a short time if the power is out.
According to an announcement from Insignia condominiums in Belltown, they have fewer than 20 homes available. LUMA indicates that they also have less than 20 homes left. If you were hoping to purchase a new construction condominium in a high-rise building these approximately 40 homes will be your last chance until around 2018, when Nexus condominiums is projected to be completed.
At Insignia, the homes remaining are all two bedroom or two bedroom + den homes. They are located on floors 29 through 40 and there are homes in both towers in this remaining bunch.
Inventory remaining at LUMA starts at $564,950 for one bedroom homes and $779,950 for two bedroom homes. It does appear that there are more one bedrooms available than two bedrooms in this final close out.
Of course, there is also the opportunity to purchase a resale condo at one of these buildings that have also never been lived in, but those opportunities will not be available forever either.
Want to see what inventory is still available at Insignia or LUMA? Ping us.
If you are looking for a new construction condo outside of First Hill and Belltown, and you desire a luxury product, The Odessa might be a great fit for you. It is a 3 unit boutique building in Madison Park on 43rd Avenue, right across the street from North Beach Park with unobstructed views of Lake Washington.
The newest condominium development project has been announced and it will be called U Place at Union Bay. It will be built near the University Village at 4603 Union Bay Place NE, just east of the Safeway (the building will back up to Safeway).
According to the PSBJ, Chinese developer, ZQH Investment, will build a six story mixed-use project and intends to break ground this month. This will be their first project in the United States but they have built condo buildings in China. The project anticipates being completed in 2018.
U Place will contain 244 condominium units, of which 217 will be small studios (342-414sf), 22 one bedrooms (452-603sf) and 5 two bedrooms (959sf). The spaces will be efficient and versatile to encourage customization. The plan for the first floor is to have a food court and restaurants. There will be only 69 parking stalls. The amenities will include a 2nd floor garden deck area and a roof top deck.
We typically comment on how the Washington State Condominium Act and difficult-to-come-by construction financing is to blame for the lack of condo buildings being built. How are they getting around this you ask? For one, they are self-financing the project so there is no concern regarding obtaining financing, which is what Insignia did if you might remember. As for our state's defect laws, the developer said they are willing to take the risk and to minimize that risk they have hired an experienced contractor in Chinn Construction out of Redmond, they plan to use materials with warranties and they have obtained the needed insurance policies top protect themselves and the future owners.
We are curious to see how a building of mainly studios will be received by the market.
Last night Loren and I swung by the rooftop terrace get-together at the new Luma Condominiums on First Hill.
As a welcoming and congratulations to their new condo owners, the building was fully open for the first time for owners to see the new amenity spaces, which are all located up on the top level and roof of the building (except the gym on floor 2). Our clients who have purchased in Luma live out of the area, so we were more than stoked to go on their behalves and can’t wait to show them the photos. As many of you know, we try to remain very objective with our condo reviews, but I do have to say that my 'hats off' to this project. It turned out even better than the great things I already expected.
First impressions were great. The lobby is fantastic but not too over the top. Great art, and a fun vibe at the same time. The amenities on the roof include a large outdoor deck space with ample seating areas, tons of comfortable high end furniture, two separate BBQ areas and a very rare find in the much talked about roof top hot tub with southern views. Inside we loved the level of finishes and the generous size of the spaces including the very large party room, with additional gathering areas in the fire side lounge, a very cozy library with its own deck and BBQ, and even a bonus of a catering kitchen on top of the huge kitchen in the party room. And the best feature in my opinion, were the views! They were expansive and very impressive. Due to Luma's location on the crest of First Hill, there are some big time views people! And they are unique views that aren’t common in condos in our city because you get a cool perspective of the downtown skyline from the east side as opposed to the more common views people are used to seeing from the north or from the water on the west side. Also, there were very expansive views looking toward lake union to the north, and out to the east and southeast you can even see Lake Washington, the Cascade Mountains, the Bellevue skyline and Mt. Rainer to the south.
It's very well done, and now I’m even more excited to make sure our buyers that have not yet considered Luma get a chance to look at this building. There are only 28 units left now that the sales center is in the condo building and tours of actual units are available, it’ s a great time to look at this awesome condo building.
Client Question: "What does it mean if the property for sale is a Bankruptcy sale?"
Dear What is a Bankruptcy Sale,
Every bankruptcy sale is different but there are three main things to know when considering purchasing a house or condo that is a part of a bankruptcy proceeding.
They take much longer than a traditional sale; the last one we worked on took 6 months to close
The court and the underlying lien holders can come back and increase the purchase price regardless of what you agreed to and signed around in the contract
There is a bankruptcy fee that cannot be financed into the purchase price that is typically around 5% of the purchase price that must be paid at closing as part of your closing costs (for example: if the purchase price is $500,000 the fee is an additional $25,000)
In summary, if you are going to purchase a bankruptcy sale property you want to make sure you are flexible on your time frame as it can take an undetermined amount of time that is determined by the courts. You should also have more liquid funds available to pay for the additional fee and you should be prepared to wait a long while and then have the purchase price potentially get higher, leaving you to decide if you want to pay more or walk away after all the time you already invested in waiting.
It is always great to hear that a new construction condominium building's sales center is moving into the building itself, as it indicates that the building is getting closer to be completed, allows potential buyers to see more of the final product and also means that buyer's who have already purchased will be moving into their new homes soon.
According to LUMA, the final construction details are being completed on the sales center and the furniture and art have started installation. The sales center will reopen on Saturday morning in the building!
Also, LUMA’s Rooftop Terrace is almost complete, including the fabulous looking soaking pool. The artwork install, including lightbox photos that have been placed in the lobby and throughout the corridor levels, has also begun. The lobby and amenity floor, including the cozy fireplace lounge, library and private dining room, are being outfitted with their furnishings now as well.
For sales, LUMA is now 75% sold. If you are considering purchasing in LUMA, now would be the time to check it out since you can get into the building and really get a great feeling for what it will be like to live in First Hill's newest condo community.
The City of Seattle is having a project review for this building tonight and if the design board approves the project, the developer, Stanford Hotels, would like to break ground immediately. The layout of the tower in terms of where the residential units and hotel rooms are located within the building is interesting. Retail will be on the main level along with hotel valet, then above and below that are several levels of parking. Then on level 6 would be the residential lobby and several residential amenities, which continue onto the 7th floor. The residential units begin on the 7th floor and go through the 30th floor. Then you will have hotel guest rooms from floor 33 through 43. On top of the hotel rooms you would then see the upper floor residential units taking up floors 44 to 48. Floor 49 would house the hotel amenities and floors 50 and 51 would have the hotel lobby, bar and restaurant (which would of course be a public space). Topping off this massive tower is the rooftop bar, also a hotel amenity. Not sure how residents of this tower will feel about the highest floors with the best views being public hotel spaces but only time will tell.
For now, Stanford hasn't decided whether or not to lease the residential units as apartments or sell them as condos so we will monitor this project and let you know any news as soon as we hear it.
Insignia has just announced that they are 95% sold in both towers combined, leaving them with fewer than 30 homes left.
If you are looking to live in Downtown Seattle in a new construction high rise and want to move in this year, these are the remaining options for you along with any resale units that come on the market in Insignia. After that, you would have to wait for NEXUS which will not be complete for years to come.
With the north tower complete and starting move-ins the building is starting to feel more like a lived in community. It also means that the amenities in that tower including the recently completed 75’ pool, spa, steam room and sauna and now available for residents to use and are available to check out if you are considering purchasing one of these last homes.
Marco Kronen is the co-author and a condo Realtor. He and Wendy have worked together serving clients in Seattle since 2007. Feel free to contact Marco here.
Wendy Leung is the founding editor of the Seattle Condo Review. She's also a full-service Seattle realtor.
Seattle Condo Review is the Seattle's longest-running guide for buying and selling Belltown Condos, Queen Anne Condos, Capitol Hill Condos, Green Lake Condos, Ballard Condos, and Downtown Seattle Condos.