Escala had their broker's open house this last Thursday. This highly anticipated event had a really good turn out. Of course, given all the drama on SCR about Escala, I couldn't resist checking it out and sharing my thoughts. This time round they even allowed pictures which I've included below so long as you understand they were snapped by me as I was on the tour and aren't professional photos. The open house showcased eight model homes. The interior design and furnishings of these homes were individually put together by five well established designers, Jeff Lamb, Dana Hamel, Polina Zaika, Richard Holliday, and Dixie Stark.
The tour started with the fitness center, followed by the spa with treatment rooms, and then we took the high speed elevator right up to view all the model units.
There were quite a number of interesting designer touches to these homes. In one home, an unique ceiling design graces the middle of the living room. In another home, fancy wall coverings with a classical East Asian landscape motif cleverly conceal the huge supporting column.
My favorite home is the two bedroom penthouse designed by Jeff Lamb, very clean, sleek and modern. The unit gleams with white, bleached oak, hardwood flooring thoughout the living area. A standalone bath tub looks out to the city. The mini bar and bathroom have glass slab countertops. This home has a sweeping view of the Puget sound, Queen Anne Hill, and Lake Union while standing in the middle of the living room. The asking price is $1.75 million.
Homeowner dues are $0.56 per square foot. Concierge service will be managed by Columbia Hospitality. As mentioned in my previous post, the bar, restaurants and Spa will be moving to a user-pay system. This means that residents can make arrangements through the concierge and Columbia Hospitality for any ad hoc events that they have in mind. The cost will be billed directly to the homeower instead of the Homeowner Association.
The two bedroom homes in Escala are on the larger side than your average two bedroom homes in Belltown/ Downtown ranging from 1,607 sqft to 1,955 sqft. They're well laid out with good ceiling heights, and generous balcony space to accomodate a decent size patio table. The two and three bedroom units are great for buyers who are looking for a cavernous condo or someone who is downsizing from a house. Based on the pricing, they're very competitive to resale condos on the market. I wish they had showed us some standard homes without the designer touches. It would be more realistic to compare them with what is available on the market.
The tour took an hour and it ended with light lunch at the Club Cielo restaurant. The general consensus from visitors were they liked what they saw. One fellow observer commented that it was obvious the developer spared no expense in the design and feel, most thought it was exclusive, upscale and classy. On the other hand, a minority of observers felt the project was a bit over the top and lacked a refined, understated Northwestern feel. Whether you're a realtor, designer or a buyer looking for some design inspiration, Escala is definitely worth checking out!