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February 2007

22 West Lee

22_west_lee22 West Lee is a new condominium project in Upper Queen Anne that is expected to be ready for occupancy in Spring 2007. Ideally located within walking distance to the best of Queen Anne (including the Five Spot, Trader Joe's and the rest of Queen Anne Avenue North), this new development is decidedly high end.

Shying away from the trend towards geometrically regular floor plans in new buildings. 22 West Lee markets itself for its odd angles, curved walls, gas fireplaces, decks (many units have 2 private decks) and bay windows.

All 20 units have two bedrooms and two bathrooms with basically four floor plans. Prices range from $500,000 to over $1 Million. Floor plans range from 1165 to 1738 sq ft.

22_west_lee_map_2The building has 6 floors, an elevator and has a controlled access parking lot with 2 spaces allotted per unit. Kitchens will include Jenn-Air appliances, double ovens, slab granite countertops and custom kitchen cabinets in cherry and ginger. Other standard features will include tiled entry ways, a marble top vanity in the master bathroom, crown moldings and low UV transom style windows.

Units will be for sale during their VIP event on April 7th and 8th. The homes will be ready for occupancy late April/early May.

Latest post on 22 West Lee.

-Wendy

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Smith Tower converting to Condos?

There's been a lot of talk about the potential Smith Tower conversion.  For those who are not familiar, the Smith Tower is probably one of the most historic buildings in Seattle and one of the first skyscrapers in the world. 

Thus far, the tower has been used for offices but there's intriguing discussion about the owner of the building, Walton Street Capital, exploring a "residential use for Smith Tower."  Given the difference in layout, plumbing, heating, etc. between office space and condominium units, seems like a pretty major effort.  On the other hand, the history, views, and location will be quite a unique combination. 

(Update 03/30/08-There are plans to convert only the top 12 floors (from 22-33) to condominiums with one unit per floor, roughly 2,000 sq ft each. Floors 2 through 21 would remain office space. Read more here.)

Smith_tower_condo_9

Some good info for those interested:

Detailed article about the potential conversion

Pictures of Top of the Tower existing residential unit (currently the only residence in the tower and previously, a 10,000 gallon water tank).

Fun facts about Smith Tower construction

Smith Tower history

Short article on potential conversion

-Wendy

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Stadium Lofts update

Stadium_lofts_1Built in the aftermath of the Great Fire of Seattle in 1905, the former Seattle Plumbing Company Warehouse serves as the foundation for the Stadium Lofts project.  Located at the intersection of Pioneer Square, Sodo and the International District, the new project aims to preserve the original historic character of the neighborhood. 

The original brick façade of building will be preserved while at the same time incorporating visually distinct elements of the expansion, the Trace Lofts conversion in Capitol Hill is a similar project. 69 loft units will be built above the former warehouse, with three live/work loft spaces on the ground floor along with a bistro.   

417_stadium_lofts_2_1417_stadium_lofts_4

Stadium Lofts is slated to be completed in 2008 and many of the units will include private terraces or balconies. Units will also include exposed brick, wood windows in the historic portion and large metal sliding energy efficient windows in the new portions of the building.

Common features include 16’10’ exposed wood ceilings with heavy fir beams, two story windows, environmentally-friendly cork flooring, stainless steel gas cooktops, mobile steel kitchen islands and stone kitchen countertops.

In addition, occupants will have access to a common landscaped community courtyard, as well as a fourth floor intimate garden terrace. Limited pre-sales will start in the spring of this year with the sales center opening in the winter of 2008. Prices are expected to range from high $200,000 to $700,000.

Previous post.

-Wendy

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Seattle Heights

Every now and then, clients will ask if I can find a condo in the heart of Belltown that is also quiet and safe. One would think that might be hard since you are after all picking an urban neighborhood; however, there are exceptions.  Seattle Heights on 2nd Ave between Wall St and Cedar St has always been a client favorite.

This 26 story high rise condo was built in 1994.  A few years ago, it had water intrusion problems and the building was wrapped up for more than a year. New siding and windows were replaced. Now, the building is looking as good as new. Unlike the typical high rise condo in Belltown, Seattle heights has a fairly unique architectural shape.

    Seattle_heights_old_4     Seattle_heights_new_2_1

         Before repair                   After repair

It also has very diverse floor plans ranging from studios to 3 bedroom’s including a number of rare two story condo units found on the 5th level. Its location is ideal for home buyers who don’t want to deal with the urban weekend noise yet still want a location near the center of all the action.

Pros

- Open layout and oversized windows

- Great amenities (one of the few in Belltown with a pool)

- Diverse views of the City, Puget Sound, Queen Anne neighborhood and Lake Union.

Cons

- Homeowner dues are higher than other condos built around the same time.

- Interior finishes may feel slightly dated compared to more recent buildings.

Exterior:           Good

Interior:           Good

Location:         Good

Value:             Good

View:           Very Good

Amenities:       Good
   
Overall:           Good

Final Thoughts:

One of the best overall combinations of value, quality, and location in Belltown.  If you don't need the latest in finishes and amenities, this is a building most people should at least strongly consider.

-Wendy

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Seneca Towers

Seneca_towerSlated for ground breaking in mid-2007 and completion in 2009, Seneca Towers will be built on the intersection of 8th and Seneca. The space is currently occupied by two residential buildings which will be demolished.

Located on the cusp of downtown Seattle, the First Hill area condo will contain both a 9 story and a 25 story stack of condos. Designed by MulvannyG2, who is also the co-architect for Olive 8, Seneca Tower is located within easy walking distance of downtown Seattle, the hospitals on First Hill, and the Convention Center.

The two tower system is designed to maximize the views of the interior facing units.  The views of the building will overlook Freeway Park. The new building is a result of relaxed height restrictions in downtown Seattle passed by the city council in 2006.

According to the land use permit submitted to the city of Seattle, Seneca Towers will include 285 units with retail space on the ground floor in the 25 story building and 25 units in the 9-story building. Homes are expected to range from 450 and 1,600 sq ft.

-Wendy

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Carbon 56

Carbon_56_3 Designed for the hip and trendy, Carbon 56 (formerly known as Aristo Apartments) is located in the Denny Triangle neighborhood on 2015 Terry Ave. Capitalizing on the success and cache of 2200 and the new Whole Foods located a block away, Carbon 56 is aimed at the young professional urban dweller who can’t afford or doesn’t want to pay over $500,000 for a condo.

The building was originally constructed in 2003. Carbon 56 has fifty-six New York-style lofts with five different floor plans. Pricing starts in the low $300,000s and go to the high $500,000s. Most units are priced in the low to mid $300,000s. The condos range in size from 660 to almost 1,300 sq ft. and boast 13 feet high floor to ceiling windows and maple hardwood floors. Larger floor plans have elevated resting areas.

Carbon_56_living_room Carbon_56_elevated_resting_area

The building also has a common terrace and fitness center. Majority of lower floor east and west facing units either come with a private patio or/and private entrance. The units were first offered to tenants in the end of January and now are available to the public. Carbon 56 Price list.

Pros

- Tall ceilings and oversized windows
- One block away from Whole Foods Market
- Good price per square foot pricing

Cons

- The views are sparse

SCR Scorecard

Exterior            Average

Interior            Average

Location            Good

View           Below average

Amenities    Below average

Value                Good

Overall            Average

Final Thoughts:

You don't have to be a hotel/condo or pay the hefty vulcan premium for one to be next door to Whole Foods.  A very attractive choice for real urban professionals who don't have $600k plus to spend on a condo.

-Wendy

   

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Stadium Lofts Site Launches

Index_032Thanks for the heads up from SCR reader, Paul, who just left a comment in my original Stadium Lofts post

The folks at Stadium Lofts just launched their new site choc full of info.  According to Paul, the prices will be "much higher" than expected.  If anyone can confirm, that would be great.  I'll do a more detailed post on the project soon.

www.liveatstadiumlofts.com

-Wendy


1915 2nd Ave- coming soon

1915_condos Midtown_triangle_2Midtown_triangle_map_3

A new project is planned between Pike Place Market and the downtown retail core, one block away from Cristalla, this 24 story condo will feature 175 units with retail space on street level. Perhaps 1915 will measure up to Cristalla and Escala and form the luxury "Triangle" in the midtown area.

-Wendy

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Escala Update

Image6_2I attended Escala's ground breaking event yesterday morning. The sales center for this ultra-high end condo in Midtown (Seattle’s largest residential Tower) is currently under construction; however, the sales center did showcase a full scale 2,600 square foot model home.

Some tidbits:

  • Custom designed Italian cabinetry system
  • Premium appliances from Bosch
  • Gaggenau gas stoves
  • Kohler multiple shower heads in the bathroom
  • Semi-private elevators
  • 9 ½ to 12 foot ceilings height
  • Most units will have expansive outdoor terraces

Photo Gallery.

Here are a couple of questions that I asked Sam Cunninghan, Escala's sales manager.

How did the developer decide what type of amenities go into the building?

We listen to homebuyers’ needs. We had a focus group two years ago and a group of homebuyers were invited to take part in the planning of Escala amenities. We let homebuyers tell us the type of amenities that they are looking for in a condo. We put the information together and came up with the amenities that are the most appealing and important to them.

How is Escala different from Cristalla?

Cristalla is a really nice building, however, Escala has more comprehensive and luxurious amenitites. Our 25,000 square foot city club features a full service gym with a spa, lap pool, bar and lounge with a large, south facing terrace lined by a dramatic water feature, theater, event center, game room, meeting room, and wine cave with storage. Home owners can store their wine collection in the wine cave at no cost. In Cristalla, owners have to pay for it. The dinner club is also for the exclusive use of the residents. If they want to host a holiday dinner, they can use the club and send the bill up to their room. This is also something that is not available in Cristalla.

Another difference is that Cristalla has an above-grade parking while Escala’s parking will be contained in eight floors of subterranean garage giving the building exterior a cleaner look. Rising from the two-story base is a contemporary glass tower with sleek, rounded ends.

The number of options to customize their interior finishes or terrace is another difference. Homebuyers have the option to choose the type of Pedini cabinetry that they would like to install in their kitchen or bedroom. They also have the option for a built in barbeque pit, entertainment system, double sided fire place and flat screen TV hook up in the expansive terrace.

So what will the completed sales center offer?

Beside the full scale model home, there will be an extensive display of bathroom and kitchen vignettes. We found that small sample of the finishes is not enough to help our homebuyers visualize the final finished product that they are going to see in their new home. Large slab of granite countertops and finishes will be display to help them.

The sales center is scheduled for completion in March when home sales will start. The building features 265 residential units. To date, Escala has received a total of 140 reservations (some in back up positions), with a few owners looking at combining two units into one home.

Homes range from 950 square feet to 3,000 square feet.  Prices start from mid $500,000s to more than $5 million. Penthouse pricing is available upon request.

SCR Scorecard

Exterior        Excellent

Interior        Excellent

Location      Very good

View             Good

Amenities     Excellent

Value          Average

Overall       Very Good

Pros

-Comprehensive and luxurious amenities

-Walking distance to Downtown, Belltown and Pike Market

Cons

- Smaller floor plans are not available in this building

Final thoughts:

Escala is definitely taking condo living to the next level with its unique design and luxurious amenities.  Even for someone like me who looks at condos every day, it's hard not to be impressed with Escala's potential. Previous post.

-Wendy

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