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Insignia Seattle Announces Amenities and Finishes

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Today we received an email update on Insignia Seattle, the new condominium towers being built between 5th and 6th and Bell and Battery, announcing the amenities that will be in the building as well as some of the features within the homes. We also went by the construction site this morning and they are currently working on the 6th and 7th floors of the south tower. The condominium sales center on 6th Ave is also under construction and should open in the fall for pre-sales and opening events.

Here is the information provided to us in Insignia's email~

AMENITY HIGHLIGHTS

Forty-first floor sky retreat and resident lounge
Seventh floor open-air park terrace with outdoor grilling area
Outdoor fireplace gathering area
Indoor lap pool and spa*
Steamroom and sauna*
Fitness atrium with yoga and pilates studio
Screening room with entertaining bar
Signature lobby by Mitchell Freedland
Outdoor pet retreat
Pet wash and grooming area
Bike storage with work area
Retail shops along pedestrian friendly street
* Proposed future addition to North Tower

DESIGNER RESIDENCES

One and two bedroom plans with dens in select residences
360˚ Views of the city, Puget Sound, Lake Union and mountain ranges
Designer interiors by Mitchell Freedland
Quartz kitchen countertops
Bosch stainless steel cooktop, oven and microwave
Bosch cabinet-front dishwasher
Thermador cabinet-front refrigerator
Sleek European-inspired cabinetry
Engineered hardwood floors
Marble or quartz bathroom countertops
Whirlpool washer and dryer
Walk-in closets in most residences
Private balconies or roof decks in most residences
Onsite storage for each residence
Targeted LEED Silver sustainable design

We will update you with more information on pre-sales and other details as soon as they are announced.

Click here
to check out Insignia's webite


Client Question of the Week: Long Market Times for Condos in Newer Buildings?

2911_2nd_ave_01Client Question of the Week: “I'm considering selling in the new year but I am seeing long market times in some newer buildings and that concerns me, I thought things were picking up and getting better for condo sellers in Seattle?”

Dear Scared To Sell:

This is a common question these days, and it comes down to a condo unit's ability to be purchased and the risks associated with its purchase.  Condo ownership is a wonderful thing, but like any real estate purchase (house, townhome, land, floating home, etc.) there are risks to that investment. The newer buildings you are seeing with long market times likely are those in the middle of their warranty investigations or those in the various phases of litigation with their developers.

Unfortunately, this is common with new construction condominiums.  Due to the Washington Condominium Act, which was intended, I think, to protect the condo buyer in new construction, developers of new condo buildings have to provide a warranty for certain aspects of a building's construction against defects. Sounds like a great thing right? Well, since our condo buildings are built by humans, none of them are built perfectly. So things do come up that need to be repaired, replaced, fixed etc.  There are limits to how long an HOA can hold a builder/developer accountable for certain construction defects.  I'm not an attorney so my specific knowledge is limited to the exact terms of the state statute, but basically what this results in with nearly every new condo building in our city, is that something in a building will result in a dispute on whose role or responsibility it is to fix it.  If the HOA and the developer do not agree, a motion is filed by the HOA to protect their right to sue if they can't come to agreement.

Continue reading "Client Question of the Week: Long Market Times for Condos in Newer Buildings?" »


2200 Condominiums in South Lake Union Settles with its Developer

05After approximately two years of warranty investigation work and negotiation, the 2200 Residential Homeowner Association and the 2200 Master Association (that represents the hotel, retail and the Whole Foods) received an early holiday gift of sorts. A settlement was reached for the 2200 Association's claim for repair of construction defects. The settlement summary was discussed with owners at the annual meeting of the HOA held earlier this week. The $26 million dollar settlement represents what is rumored to be the largest construction defect settlement of its kind in the state for a residential condo building.

This settlement comes at a good time for the owners in the 2200 complex who have been somewhat limited from being able to refinance or sell condo units for some time due to the fact the resale certificates and condo questionnaires needed by lenders disclosed issues related to the construction defects and its mediation.  These can now be changed, which should open up some possibilities for sales and refinances to happen since buyers and their lender might be more confident about the long term financial health of the building and the HOA.

Early indications are that the 2200 community will start to see the work start some time in 2013 but it’s not known exactly when, nor exactly how long the work will take.  It also remains to be seen which of three condo towers will be first and if a full wrap of each building will be needed. The board indicated at the meeting they will be working hard with the project contractor to try to make the repairs as efficient as possible and with the least amount of impact on the residents and businesses within 2200 as possible. It is not yet officially known who that contractor will be.

Although none of us owners at 2200 are looking forward to the inconvenience of the repair work that follows, it is likely that the settlement amount will cover the expenses of the needed repairs and there will not be a need for additional funds from the owners through an increase in dues nor a special assessment, which is the silver lining to the whole thing and a relief for many. In fact, the new budget for 2013 reflects a decrease in dues now that the settlement has been finalized.

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle Condos exclusively for buyers and sellers


Amazon Buying Vulcan's South Lake Union Buildings They Currently Lease

Well this is certainly some good news for us downtown dwellers as it looks like Amazon is buying the 11 buildingsthey lease in South Lake Union that Vulcan recently announced they were selling.  The PSBJ is indicating the sale will be for a reported $1.16 billion.  This recent news by Vulcan that they planned to sell the buildings caused a bit of a stir in the SLU and Downtown neighborhoods since everyone was wondering how the sale of those building might affect the area with a new owner coming in.  But this may put fears at ease knowing Amazon is the potential buyer. Nearby condo buildings such as 2200 Westlake, Carbon 56, Enso, Veer Lofts, and Cosmopolitan have been enjoying new vibrancy from the restaurants, bars, services, and the like all popping up mainly due to the new larger tenants coming into the area.  Amazon obviously being one of the main draws of these new businesses.

Read the PSBJ article here:  Amazon to pay $1.16B for 11 Seattle buildings

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle Condos exclusively for buyers and sellers.


Vulcan Putting Amazon Headquarter Buildings Up for Sale in South Lake Union

IMAG0377Vulcan Real Estate recently announced that they put the 11 building Amazon campus in South Lake Union up for sale. Their reason? The sale will allow them to continue to build on the remaining 30 acres they own in the neighborhood and it will help to diversify their portfolio by liquidating some of the office space they own. Right now, they are constructing a new apartment building, the Stackhouse, and the next phase of the UW Medical Research facility in the area. And, announced yesterday, they will be starting construction in January on a two building expansion for Amazon at Westlake and Mercer. More info here and here.

What this likely means for the South Lake Union neighborhood in the future is more development, more businesses moving in, and, who knows, maybe a condo building will be in the mix. Only time will tell what Vulcan will do with their remaining land in the area but we can be sure that whatever they do will continue to help this neighborhood grow and expand.

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle Condos exclusively for buyers and sellers


2200 Westlake Condos: Humble Beginnings, Bright Future


Interior 22002200 Westlake is a building that I feel might be misunderstood and I believe this is due to its market timing. Let me explain.

2200 (along with Cosmopolitan and Madison Tower) was one of the first pre-sale new construction projects to hit the scene after the Cristalla (pre-sold in 2003; completed in 2005). When Cristalla was completed it was the first new construction project to have been completed in Belltown since the Bellora in 2003 and buyers were excited to get into something new and shiny. The market was booming and everyone was trying to buy. Oh the good ole days.

When closings began in 2005 Cristalla, owners were being approached to sell their condos for much over their purchase price (I know, because it happened to me!). This created the expectation that if you purchased a new condo, you could turn around and sell it immediately for a hefty profit. Investors jumped on the chance to make a quick buck and were a large percentage of those who bought at 2200 in pre-sale. Unfortunately, by the time 2200 purchases began to close in 2006 and into 2007, the market had started to cool and buyers were wise to the ‘flipping’ that investors were doing in buildings such as Cristalla and they were not having it. So, when the investors went to sell off their units right away, there were not enough takers. As a result, many of these units then became rentals and still are rentals. Other condo owners who needed to sell walked away and foreclosed or short sold, which affected the condo values.

Continue reading "2200 Westlake Condos: Humble Beginnings, Bright Future" »