Last week, the Olive 8 hotel / condo installed one of downtown Seattle's largest green roofs. The 8,355 square foot green roof is on the fourth floor podium of the Hyatt at Olive 8 and is comprised of two parts. The first part of the installation was on top of the roof's mechanical system. The second installation was on the podium. Judging from the pictures, it's definitely a nice addition for the building and visually more pleasant than looking at the mechanical systems. I would imagine residents will get more enjoyment out of it if it is accessible from the building and they could pull out some chairs and relax on the roof. Read more on the green roof.
ArtHaus is a nine-unit boutique condominium conversion located in Capitol Hill, one block south of Volunteer Park. The nine homes include studio, one bedroom and two bedroom floor plans. Four of them are sold. The remaining homes are one bedroom's ranging from 578 to 677 square feet and one large two bedroom on the top floor with square footage of 1,368. Prices for these homes range from $280,000 to $320,000 for the one bedroom and $680,000's for the two bedroom.
Interior of the homes feature 8.5' ceilings, 16" crown molding (living room), original millwork, original wood floors, tile floorings in the kitchen, stainless appliances, slab granite countertops and mahogany cabinets. Storage and parking are also included. The building is also equipped with Wi-Fi for all owners. The developer has also done some extensive work to convert this 1927 building including re-tuck pointing of the brick exterior, new roof, windows, eletrical and plumbing work.
Equinox Condos on Eastlake is on track for late spring completion. The steel framing is completed in the north building and framed to level six at the east and south building. The roof and windows are also being installed. A model unit will be located on the 5th floor of the building and will be available for hard hat tours by appointment beginning in March. As for the retail space, the owners of Wasabi Bistro and Red Fin are opening a new 2,000 sq.ft. restaurant called Mosaic in Equinox. So far, 61 out of the 204 homes are sold.
I just received this press release from Urban Condominiums charting the performance of condos in Seattle over the course of 2008.
The introductory comments are on the bullish side but the charts are definitely worth a good look.
I tend to agree that interest rates are favourable and it is encouraging that Seattle developers had investor caps to avoid over speculation. This should help Seattle moderate its correction compared to other major cities which were more supportive of condo speculation.
Update 01/09/09: Urban Condominiums just informed me that MLS had a few additional closings very late in 2008 that didn't get posted in time for them to inlcude in their previous numbers. They have an updated report. The numbers changed only slightly but their general findings are still the same.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development issued mortgage reforms last November by requiring lenders and mortgage brokers to provide consumers with a standardized good faith estimate (GFE) that discloses key loan terms and closing costs.
The improved Good Faith Estimate will answer important questions that consumers might have when applying for a loan including:
What's the term of the loan?
Is the interest rate fixed or can it change?
Is there a pre-payment penalty should the borrower choose to refinance at a later date?
Is there a balloon payment?
What are total closing costs?
The intention of this reform is to help consumers shop for the lowest cost mortgage and avoid costly and potentially harmful loan offers. According to HUD's estimates, this new regulation will save consumers an average of $700 at the closing table. HUD has also improved the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. Each designated line on the final HUD-1 will now include a reference to the relevant line from the GFE. HUD will require the new standardized GFE and HUD-1 to start on January 1, 2010. Read full article here.
The NY Times has a great article about condo lobbies and how developers are upping the ante with high-end art, soaring ceilings, and in once case, 26 foot long fireplaces (which one unimpressed observer likened to a "den of hell").
(Photo courtesy of Robert Caplan for the NY Times)
"Twenty-six feet of roaring flames run along one wall, a deconstructed fireplace whose orange embers dance behind a blue-hued sheet of glass. Enormous plasma television screens stare down from stark white walls. Geometric furniture sits surrounded by a bubbling moat that circumnavigates the space."
In terms of Seattle condo lobbies, I've been pretty impressed with Cristalla's lobby (subtle water feature, fire place and winding staircase), 1521's (nice, and artsy with Northwestern touches), and Mosler's (giant book shelves, tall ceiling, fire place).
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.