Design for Chromer Building Condominium Tower Released

ChromerThe new condominium tower, that we mentioned in a blog post in August, that will be constructed in Downtown Seattle where the Chromer building now stands at 1516 2nd Avenue has released its preliminary design.

Architect Julia Nagele of Hewitt Seattle is designing the building and has described her sketch of the building design as "a mom holding the hand of a child". There will be a 484 foot tall building, or the "mama" tower and a "baby" tower that will be a third as tall. Having two towers will allow for light and air to stream through the towers and create a transition between the shorter buildings on the block and the skyscraper.

This project will contain 540 condo units (previously stated as 498 units) ranging in size and price to appeal to the most amount of potential buyers.  There will only be 310 parking spaces.

Construction is set to begin in a year and a half.

Rendering by Hewitt

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


Jade Condominiums is Coming Soon to Kirkland

JadeJade Condominiums is coming soon to Kirkland. This 5-story 135-unit project located at 11903 NE 128th St, near Totem Lake Mall, is set to break ground in early 2019. Terrene Homes out of Bellevue is the Developer and Jade will be its first condo development.

Along with the addition of Jade Condominiums, Totem Lake Mall is also being redeveloped into the Village of Totem Lake, which will include retail and apartments. This building will be the first condo building to break ground in the Kirkland and Juanita area in five years.

Condominium homes will range in size from 500-1100 square feet and prices will start in the low $400,000s and go up to more than $1M. Also, it is being reported that 13 of the condo homes will be reserved for people whose income is 85% of the area median income, which is $72,380.

Finishes and features of the condo units will include 9-foot ceilings, walls of windows, quartz counters and stainless appliances. There will also be a rooftop deck amenity.

Jade Condominiums is set for completion in late 2020.

Rendering from Johnson Braund Architects


Unique Condo Offering Coming Soon to Downtown Seattle - First Light by Westbank

KK091_0017778_VIEW_04It’s not often I truly get excited about a condominium project that is coming down the pipeline, but after a recent trip to Vancouver to personally meet the developer, Ian Gilespi of Wesbank, and hear his story, learn his philosophies on development, and discover the visions he has for our condominium market here in Seattle and how Westbank would like to fit into that, this feels different and very unique to me. I also had the opportunity on to tour current and past projects of Westbank’s in Vancouver, such as Vancouver House, Shanghai-La Hotel and Residence, and community changing Woodword's.  I am looking very much forward to First Light based on what I saw and experienced.

Why? Well, I am really looking forward to something innovative, fresh, with high design that will truly raise the bar here in Seattle. Living in our condo in South Lake Union now and in our Belltown condo in the past, I feel our developers have been building a lot of the same type of thing over the years, and I’m excited for a condo developer that hopes to have an impact not only on our local condo market, but also positively impact the way we live in our condos, have an impact on the community, and inspire others. I think First Light will be just that condominium community.

As the developer rolls out new information and announces the sales process to the public in the coming weeks, I want to start to get the word out to our clients, both past and present, so that you can decide if this might be a condominium community you could possibly see yourself being a part of.  So read on, and let’s set up time to connect so we can get you in a position to set up a private session.

What Makes Westbank Different?

In this first post about First Light, I’m going to skip talking specifically about the building itself, the unit sizes, the potential price points, layouts, etc. and will instead highlight some of the things about Westbank and this condominium project that I feel are unique, iconic and worth considering for my clients, and who knows, maybe even possibly for Loren and I.  I will focus on each of these in more detail in upcoming blog posts.

  • Bettering the Community They Develop Within

Each and every project incorporates a way to truly improve or help make the local community better.  And I’m not just talking about giving money to affordable housing, which all developers are basically required to do, but going further and actually investing money and resources in the very neighborhood they are developing within. Westbank recently announced they will be working with Food Life Line as their chosen charity and will contribute money from each and every sale at First Light. In addition, at the event I attended this past week, they announced a large $10,000 donation to Food Life Line, to get things started. Chefs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau, who both sit or have sat on the board at Food Life Line and attended the event, said this would contribute to 40,000 meals here in Seattle.  

  • Art/Culture, Music, and High Design are Requirements of Westbank’s Projects

For Westbank, the condo project has to be more than just a building with condo units and some building amenities, and ground floor retail. I appreciate how they intentionally work to ensure that art, culture and high design that inspires are required elements of their projects. I encourage you to do your own research and look at the works of the Architect, James Cheng, and local glass artist John Hogan, who will be creating several elements that will be a part of First Light. 

  • Development that is Diverse and Commitment to Specific Markets Long Term

This is one thing I’m really focused on when I make recommendations to my buyers and when I consider buying for myself.  Is the developer committed to the local market, or they building a “one and done” building. Westbank maintains long term ownership and involvement of their buildings. While most developers build and sell off the retails spaces, Ian likes to maintain ownership and have Westbank manage the retail and office spaces in their buildings. First Light is not the only building they are constructing, in fact Westbank has already broken ground on another multi-family development in Seattle, 1200 Stewart, and the Frye Building on First Hill is soon to come as well. Both are likely to be rental apartments and each incredibly unique and inspiring on their own. And there is more to come, as Ian made mention that he is looking to be developing in Seattle for at least the next decade and beyond. Westbank has chosen Vancouver, Toronto, Tokyo, and Seattle for markets that they are committed to and will focus on.

This is just the tip of the iceberg on information I have about First Light and more information will be announced in the coming weeks by Westbank and their sales team, and I look forward to sharing more about the specifics of the building, and having just received the floor plans, I’m excited to share my favorites with you!

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


Update on Spire Condominiums in Belltown

Spire3Here is an update on the details, amenities and units with price ranges for Spire Condominiums in Belltown.

Details:

  • Located at 600 Wall St in Belltown
  • 352 residences
  • 41 stories
  • Concrete and steel construction
  • Fully automated parking systems
  • Floor plans maximize efficiency
  • Walls of windows
  • Many homes include outdoor balconies or covered terraces
  • Ceiling heights of 9 to 10-feet
  • Solid-core interior doors
  • Smart thermostats
  • Engineered hardwood oak flooring
  • Kitchens with gas cooking, Pental™quartz countertops, Pedini™ cabinets with under cabinet lighting, Bosch or Sub Zero/Wolf ™ appliances and Kohler™ plumbing fixtures
  • Energy-efficient LED lighting throughout
  • Customization: two color schemes
  • Upgrades available: closet systems, automated or manual window shades, smart home lighting, security and integrated home theater systems
  • Occupancy 2020

Amenities:

  • Floor 1: Two-story lobby lounge with concierge and bike storage
  • Floor 3: co-working lounge,  yoga and spin studio, conference room, theater, terrace, gaming room
  • Penthouse SPIRE Club (floors 40 & 41): exhibition kitchen, private dining room, BBQ terrace, Billiards room, lounge, view terrace, dog run, gym
     

Homes:

  •  One bedrooms (531 - 823 sf): $466,000 - $1,210,000+
  • One bedroom + dens: (1,000 - 1,011 sf): $892,000 - $1,435,000
  • Two bedrooms (929 - 1,183 sf): $840,000 - $1,999,000
  • Three bedrooms (1,825 sf): $1,658,000 - $3,588,000
  • Penthouses and unit combinations also available

Sales:

  • Pre-sales have begun with 5% earnest money


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

 


Gridiron's Income Restricted Condo Prices Released

Gridiron Condominiums by Century Link Stadium in SeattleGridiron Condominiums, the project constructed next to Century Link stadium in Pioneer Square, is rare in that it is offering 12 income restricted condo units for sale. Through a special arrangement with King County, these 12 homes will be available at a restricted price for modest-income households.

Details:

  • 12 income restricted units (1 is sold)
  • Prices range from $350,890 to $400,882
  • Studios and one bedrooms throughout the building
  • Sized from low 400 square feet to mid 500 square feet, with one over 600 square feet
  • Available to households earning less than 115% of area median income - individuals whose income doesn't exceed $86,000 and families making less than $98,440 qualify

This is a great opportunity to purchase a new construction condominium home in Seattle if we meet the qualifications.

For those who do not meet the income restriction requirements, Daniels Real Estate (the Developer) and HomeStreet Bank (the preferred lender) are also offering a special financing offer on the 36 market-rate condo units that have not yet sold. The program allows for a 3.5 percent down payment option and mortgages starting at 2.5 percent, second year mortgages at 3.5 percent and then third year through remaining term at just 4.5 percent interest rates. In order to qualify for this special rate, a buyer has to live at Gridiron and they have to be in a contract to purchase by November 30th and closed by the end of the year.

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

 


Avenue Bellevue Mixed-Use Condo & Hotel Project Redesigned

Avenue Bellevue Mixed-Use Condo and Hotel Project in SeattleAt 10300 NE 8th St in Bellevue just north of Bellevue Square Mall, a two-tower condominium and hotel project will be built and will be called Avenue Bellevue.

The project will contain 251 luxury hotel rooms, a retail podium and 330 condominium residences. One tower will contain a mix of hotel rooms and residences and the second tower will have all condominiums.

Rendering by Weber Thompson

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


Westbank's Skyscraper at 2000 3rd Ave Will Be Condos Called First Light

Westbank's skyscraper at 2000 3rd Ave in Seattle will be new condos called First LightThe 500 foot skyscraper planned for 2000 3rd Ave will be built as condominiums according to the project developer, Westbank of Vancouver, British Columbia.

The lot is currently a surface parking lot and a sales center pavilion is being constructed on the site at this time.

Some of the buildings proposed highlights:

  • 459 condominium units
  • Cantilevered rooftop swimming pool
  • Podium will have retail space
  • 6 floors of office space
  • 38 floors of residences
  • 3 floors of amenity space
  • Will be a luxury project

We will know more about this project once Marco returns from his trip this week to Vancouver to meet with the development and sales team and learn more about the developer, the architect and this new building, which will be called First Light.

Rendering from James KM Cheng Architects and MG2

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


Fannie Mae Changes Lending Guidelines for Condos

Fannie Mae recently changed their condominium lending guidelines. These changes were meant to simplify policies and increase underwriting flexibility.

Here is a list of some of the most beneficial changes:

  • Waive the single-entity ownership percentage requirement when the purchase transaction will result in a reduction in the single-entity ownership concentration Fannie Mae Changes Lending Guidelines for Condos, Affecting Seattle Condo Buyers
  • Not include units held by non-profits, affordable housing programs, or institutions of higher education in the percentage of single entity ownership calculation
  • Allow single-entity ownership in projects with 21 or more units to increase to 20%, up from 10%
  • Increase allowable commercial space to 35% of the projects total square footage, up from 25%
  • Exempt commercially owned or operated parking spaces from the project’s commercial space calculations
  • Allow a new condo project to be reviewed as an “established” project if requirements are met
  • Condo properties approved by FHA's HUD Review and Approval Process (HRAP) will only require a limited review
  • Waive project review requirements on smaller properties (two to four unit condo projects)

These updated guidelines better reflect current trends in condo development and provide additional flexibility for condominium lending reviews. The loosened requirements permit many condominium buildings which previously did not meet lending review criteria to qualify for conventional financing, creating additional inventory for home shoppers and a simplified financing process.

Specifically in Seattle, the commercial space percentage limits and calculation changes will be helpful for condo communities such as 2200 Westlake, Enso and Tribeca.

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


The Shift from Building Apartments to Building Condos

The Seattle Shift from Building Apartments to Building CondosThere have been several recent announcements about new condominium buildings being constructed in Seattle. For the last few years, the only residential developments being built in Seattle were apartments, minus a few outliers like Insignia and Gridiron, but we are starting to see a flood of new condominium projects hitting the scene again.
 
Why the switch from apartments to condos? Well, we think it is due to apartment buildings not being as profitable as they once were. Major investment groups who were once willing to buy apartment buildings at high price/unit price tags are not as bullish right due to the softening of the rental market. That softening is likely due to an oversupply of apartments entering the market, around 6600 rental units are coming just to the South Lake Union neighborhood by 2019. It is now more profitable to build and sell condos. Developers are very market driven so they will make these decisions based on what is happening right now in the apartment and condo markets, but it seems to us that they don’t put onus on the future market conditions that their developments might cause. For instance, if we had built a mix of condos and apartments over the last few years perhaps we wouldn’t have an apartment building glut right now and be starved for condos, we might just have balance. Instead it appears that their decisions are reactionary, if apartments are profitable then they build a ton of apartments, flood the market, the apartment market softens, then they switch to building condos and so forth and so on. Perhaps someday we will see a balance of what is being built, helping both the rental and real estate markets stay more stable over time.

Here are some recent articles on new and upcoming condo projects around Seattle:
2nd Avenue Condos in Downtown  
South Lake Union Condos
403 13th Condos in Capitol Hill
The Neighborhood Collection Condos in Capitol Hill & Wallingford
Spire Condos in Belltown
Solis Condos on Capitol Hill
Emerald Condos in Downtown
Condos in Bellevue

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


New Condo Tower Planned for 2nd Avenue in Downtown

New Condo Tower Planned for 2nd Avenue in Downtown SeattleThe site at 1516 2nd Ave, across the street from Fifteen Twenty-One condominiums, will soon be a new condo tower. The Chromer Building on the site will be torn down and replaced by a 45 story building containing 498 condo units and ground level retail.

The Developer is Pinnacle Plus is a joint venture of Plus Investment, who is also developing condo project in South Lake Union just announced.

The website for the new tower describes the tower this way, "Designed by the award-winning HEWITT team, the project demonstrates strength, femininity, and careful place-making. At once a destination and a gateway, it will join a family of historic and new buildings which nestle around the city’s heartbeat: Pike Place Market."

This building is across the street from Fifteen Twenty-one condos and across the alley from the Fischer Studio condominium building.

Map from Google Maps


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