Belltown condos Feed

Downtown Area LID Assessment Information

We have received a ton of questions about the potential local improvement district (LID) assessment for the waterfront improvements that would affect some property owners in Downtown, Belltown and South Lake Union.

Since we live in the boundaries of the LID we received additional information on the proposed assessment and thought we would summarize what we know for our readers:

  • The Seattle City Council passed a Resolution declaring their intent to initiate the formation of the LID to construct certain elements of the Waterfront Seattle ProgramLID Info_Redacted_Page_2
  • The LID is a funding tool by which property owners are assessed to help fund the costs of a public improvement that they benefit from by way of a increased property value due to the improvement (special benefit)
  • The LID assessment cannot exceed the property's total special benefit
  • The LID only pays for a portion of the Waterfront improvements
  • It is the city's intent that the LID shall be a one-time assessment and shall not include any future supplemental assessments
  • There are still public hearings you can attend where you can submit your public comments in support of or objecting to the LID
  • The preliminary assessment percentage is 48.23% of the estimated special benefit of the LID improvements for each specific property
  • For example:
    • Our estimated special benefit of LID improvements to our condo: $823.50
    • Our estimated assessment for our condo: $397.14

What we heard from our readers and neighbors, who own residential property in the LID boundary, was that they anticipated having to be thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars for their LID assessment. This was causing a bit of panic for people and causing several of those concerned to sell or consider selling their properties to avoid having to pay the LID assessment. We were also hearing concerns voiced from potential buyers that they didn't want to buy a condo within the boundary of the LID not knowing what they would be on the hook for in terms of this LID assessment amount.

I would think that this information will help quell people's fears a bit as it is much less than we heard most people were anticipating. Hopefully this news, and the Head Tax being squashed, will help the Downtown area condo market to heat back up and maybe open the dam a bit on the buyers who were sitting on the sidelines fearing the Head Tax and LID assessment repercussions.

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.


Tower Near Space Needle Will be Condos & Named Spire

Spire3Laconia Development, who is developing the triangle shaped lot located at 600 Wall St, has announced that they will be building condominiums and not apartments.

The 41 story building will be called Spire and they will break ground today. There will be 352 residences from studios to 3 bedroom plus den homes. They are indicating that pricing will range from $450,000 to over $5 million. This Developer will also allow units to be combined. Amenities will include 2 rooftop decks. They anticipate the construction to take 28 months due to the challenges associated with the small sized lot.

This switch from apartments to condos reflects the softening rental market due to the influx of new buildings being constructed and the condo price increases that we are seeing in our current real estate market.

Being located on the intersection of Denny Way, Wall St (the current off-ramp from Aurora) and 6th Avenue is a definitely a busy intersection to be located on. We will see if that location in Belltown can fetch prices near $5M.

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.


Tower Site at 1516 2nd Ave Sold to Original Elev8 Developer

Chomer BuildingUrban Visions sold their tower development site near Pike Place Market, located at 1516 2nd Ave across the street from Fifteen Twenty-One condominiums, to the developer who was planning the 4 tower Elev8 mixed use project in Bellevue, which includes offices, apartments, and condos. The developer, Plus Investments USA, has sold its controlling interest in Elev8.

Will this tower now be developed into a condominium building? It is unconfirmed at this time but according to the PSBJ article "the plan seems to be a condominium project". So we are hopeful! The previous owner of the site, Urban Visions, was planning a building containing retail and office space so condominiums would be a shift so we will have to wait to see what this new developer plans for this site.

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.


Tower East of Escala Delayed Again- Interview with Developer Giving More Details

1933 5th Ave Rendering 4This story has been updated after a recent email interview with a representative of the developer, Douglaston Development:

According to the PSBJ, a new ruling by Seattle's hearing examiner will further delay construction on the 48 story tower planned just east of Escala Condominiums, where Icon Grill was located, at 5th Avenue and Virginia Street.

The residents of Escala have appealed the construction of the tower as it is currently planned, specifically taking aim at the tower being as close as 22 feet away across the alley, which would devastatingly affect their natural light and privacy. The city's examiner agreed with the Escala residents on that point pushing the issue to the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections to research, but ruled in the Developer, Douglaston Development's, favor on almost all of the other issues at the hearing.

Douglaston is now working on what options they have with regards to modifying the tower to address the issues raised by the Escala residents.

According to Douglaston CEO Michael Kaye, “During the design review process, we made major modifications to the design of the project to address the issues raised by Escala.”

Escala residents do have the option to appeal the city examiner's rulings against them to King County's Superior Court but they have not yet decided if they will proceed with any appeals.

It seems as if this ruling will delay the construction but not put a stop to it, so hopefully Escala's concerns can convince the Developer to redesign the new apartment and hotel tower to be set back farther from the alley and Escala preserving as much natural light and privacy as they can.

However, according to the developer speaking on the ruling , they indicate " the remand is actually on the procedural issue – not substantive", according to Kaye. "There is no reference in the remand regarding the distance between the two buildings."

Kaye would like to “reiterate Douglaston’s gratification that the Hearing Examiner ruled in our favor on almost every issue. Escala’s appeal was rejected on 22 out of the 23 claims made. Lastly, we’re committed to the project and we’ll keep working on it until it is built — we will continue to work through the process.” 

It will be interesting to see the outcome here as many condominium buildings in Seattle face this same or similar problem of loosing light and privacy due to a new larger and taller tower being constructed around them.

Updated 5/15/2018 By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.
Rendering courtesy of Perkins+Will


Our New and Improved Seattle Condominium Building Map

Seattle Condo Map (2)Since our blog's inception back in 2006, our Seattle Condo Map has been a place where our readers could go to find information about the various buildings in and around the Downtown Seattle core.

We decided that it was time to revamp SCR's Seattle Condo Map, expanding it to include all buildings in Seattle, to include more detailed information about each building and to create it in a format that allows our readers to search it for information important to them that might not be readily available either online, or within other real estate sites that rely only on information from the MLS.

We are very proud to announce that our new and improved Seattle Condo Map has launched!!!

Our new map contains information about all condominium buildings in the city of Seattle! It is a constant work in progress as condo buildings go through updates, condo buildings become apartment buildings, apartment buildings become condo buildings, new condominium buildings are proposed and new construction buildings are completed. The information contained in our Seattle Condo Map will continue to be updated so please make sure you check back in with the map often. We intend to add links to our Condo Review articles to each building as we review them so our write ups with pros, cons and stats about the building will be available via one click from the map listings. This is something we are actively working on and think will be an amazing resource tool for those looking to buy or sell their condo. 

A couple things to know about our new map:

  • There is a directory of buildings that is organized by area - Downtown Area, Northeast Seattle, Northwest Seattle, Queen Anne & Magnolia, South Seattle, Central Seattle and West Seattle
  • The buildings are also color coded to denote the following categories - luxury, proposed, under construction, historic or co-op
  • You can search the map if you open it up - for example, you can search 'concierge' and see all of the buildings in Seattle with concierge services

Since this map will forever be dynamic, we encourage you, as our readers, to let us know if any buildings are missing or if any of our information is incorrect. We want to do our best to provide the most accurate information we can and we need you all to make that happen!

We hope you find the map interesting and helpful and we hope it is a tool you will bookmark and enjoy using for many years.

Check the map out here! Or from the navigation bar on our website.

Cheers-
Marco and Loren Kronen


Two Daniels Real Estate Condominium Developments in Seattle

Emerald RenderingDaniels Real Estate, the Developer behind the Gridiron project in Pioneer Square, has it's hands in two new condominium projects coming to Seattle.

The first is a project located on First Hill, at 8th Avenue and Columbia Street. This project, known as 800 Columbia, will be a luxury 30 story tower with 287 residents. Rumors are that it will be condominiums. The building will have a rooftop deck, dog run, gym, bike storage, game room, party room, dining room and theater room.

The other is the project located near Pike Place Market at 1631 2nd Ave, now known as The Emerald. On this project, they are not the Developer but instead are the project investors' development consultant along with Create World. This new construction condo building has already broken ground and will be 40 stories and have 265 units. Emerald will have one, two and three bedroom condos ranging in size from 540 to 1,700 square feet. It will have retail on level one and amenities including a gym, yoga studio, pet area, guest suite and rooftop level party room and outdoor space.

We look forward to hearing pricing and anticipated sales and completion dates.

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.

Rendering of The Emerald from Hewitt Architecture


Wondering What All the Cranes Are Building Downtown?

CranesOur readers often ask us how many of the cranes out there are building condominiums in Downtown, First Hill, South Lake Union, Pioneer Square and Belltown. Most people assume there are many condominium buildings taking shape under those construction cranes but believe it or not, only three cranes will belong to condo buildings. One is for Gridiron, the building located next to the stadiums, which is in full swing. NEXUS is another one and the last one is 1631 2nd Avenue (though technically neither of their cranes have even been erected yet). There is also the outlier of Hendon, being constructed in Phinney Ridge.

The other cranes are building hotels, apartments, office space, biotech space or some combination of those uses.

If you are ever curious about what the cranes are constructing, check out the Puget Sound Business Journal's handy tool, the Crane Watch here.

Hopefully this helps answer the burning question of "what are all those cranes building?".

 By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.


Condo Review - Montreux in Belltown

Montreux Condominiums in Belltown
425 Vine St
425_vine_st_02 425_vine_st_01

Montreux Condominiums was built in Belltown in 1999 and sits on the corner of 5th Avenue and Vine Street. The east side looks out over the monorail. It is known for having mostly efficiency sized condominium homes, for its fabulous rooftop view deck and for allowing short term rentals.

To see a virtual tour of an actual unit at Montreux Condominiums, click here.

The stats:

  • 132 units –Studio, one and two bedrooms ranging in size from 318 square feet to 720 square feet
  • Built in 1999
  • 7 stories
  • Only select units have parking spaces and/or storage lockers
  • 4 units have sold in the last 6 months ranging in price from $230,000 to $260,000 for studio units; at the time of this post there were no pending or active units.
  • HOA dues include: garbage, building maintenance, professional property manager, earthquake insurance
  • Amenities: Rooftop view deck with lounge areas, tables and BBQs, gym, business center and meeting room

Continue reading "Condo Review - Montreux in Belltown" »


Most Expensive Condo Ever Listed in Seattle

Bay Vista PenthouseThe penthouse at Bay Vista in Belltown hit the market last month and it is the most expensive condominium unit to ever be listed in Seattle (according to PSBJ). Listed at $13.8 million,  with 5,732 square feet of interior space on two floors and an additional 1,500 square feet of outdoor private terrace space this is definitely a unique condominium listing for Seattle.

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) describes it as, "This exquisite penthouse at Bay Vista offers more than 5700 sq ft of living space spread between 2 floors, created as a collaboration between designer Gregory Carmichael and architect Rick Sundberg. Designed to function as an ingenious framework for unparalleled views of Seattle and its natural surroundings, the residence is meticulously constructed from a sophisticated palette of exotic hardwoods, artisan metals and natural stone surfaces and is offered with a full suite of bespoke furnishings."

Check out the Penthouse here!

Quick Stats:
3 bedrooms
3 full bathrooms and 2 half baths
5,732 square feet
1,500 square feet of deck space
2 story
3 parking spaces
3 fireplaces
270 degree views
Last sold in 2005 for $5.6M


Altitude Hotel & Residences - Building to East of Escala Might Be Condos

Altitude Hotel & ResidencesAccording to the PSBJ article that came out today, the building that is slated to be built at 5th Avenue and Stewart Street, called Altitude Hotel & Residences, might include all condos instead of a mix of condos and apartments as it originally claimed.

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.

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.