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September 2006

Press condos update

Press_2 Press condos, an apartment conversion started selling their units last weekend and they have sold 12 units so far. Due to the good response, they have increased prices on some of their units by as much as $13,000. The developer is releasing the units in phases. Press condos will be having their grand opening this weekend.   

There are 141 units with 75 units in Press 1 (south bldg.), which was built in 2002.  The remaining units are in Press 2 (north bldg.), which was completed this year and has never been lived in. The exterior uses metal and brick materials, (good to hear that it is not the infamous EIFS material).

Amenities are in Press 1 building include a rooftop deck and fitness center.

There are four units in Press 2 building facing west that comes with a patio and street entrance. Units on the 4th or 5th level will get either neighborhood or city views and some come with both. 

Studio                             480-510sf.   

Open One Bedroom            550-730sf. 
One Bedroom

One Bedroom den              700-740sf.

2 Bedroom                       860-940sf.


+ Newer building
+ Close to Broadway and downtown Seattle


- Studios don’t come with parking
- Expensive storage unit (up to $15,000)

Exterior          Good

Interior          Average

Location         Good

View             Average

Amenities        Good

Value             Good

Overall           Good


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5th and Marion- Coming soon


Living in the heart of Seattle’s financial core is on track to becoming a reality.  Seattle S/I Seattle Investments IV, LLC is in the initial stages of developing a large-scale condominium project on the corner of 5th and Marion. The building is centrally located within easy walking distance of the new downtown public library, Seattle Art Museum, Benaroya Symphony Hall and the sports stadium.

The condominium itself will have 250 residential units and will come equipped with concierge services, a wellness center, guest suites, a business center with meeting rooms and a large social room for entertainingwith a large kitchen and indoor and outdoor event spaces. The units will begin at $250,000 to more than $2 million. Occupany is scheduled for 2008.


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Domaine Update

Domaine_exterior_2I recently had a chance to revisit the Domaine condo project and met with Kathryn Armstrong, VP of Intracorp, Domaine’s developer. We had a nice chat about the condo and talked mainly about the origins of the project, her position on the Seattle market, and how she sees home buyers taste and preferences changing in the future.

During our conversation, she pointed out that the site was picked for its proximity to downtown Seattle, its east facing slope with views of Lake Union, Gas Works Park and the Cascades, and its walking distance to Lake Union and Fremont. So, with so many new construction projects going on in downtown/Belltown area, I asked if she is concerned Domaine will be facing strong competition.  Kathryn felt that there are home buyers who want to be in all the action like living in Belltown /downtown and there are others who don’t.  A lot of home buyers prefer to be in a place where there is more open space and they can feel like part of the neighborhood. This is something she believes Domaine offers.

“Domaine provides home buyers with more open space. There is a central landscaped courtyard and all the homes come with large patios or decks. The tree shaded land and oversized decks give home buyers more private outdoor space; something which is becoming harder to find in new construction in Belltown/downtown.” Kathryn also feels positive about the condo market in Seattle. In her view, the strong job growth is a fundamental factor allowing the Seattle property market to continue to grow.

So what are developers going to do to differentiate their projects in the future? It seems like so many condos come with concrete and steel construction, stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors. Kathryn feels that even though many new projects have concrete and steel, it doesn’t matter. “What is more important is how they are all put together, the design and the style that makes it different.  Just like using the same fabric to make different  garments.” The design needs to be thoughtful and tailored to the people who are going to live in it.

She pointed out that buyers taste and preferences are changing.  Many are now looking for quality of space rather than quantity of space. Home buyers are getting more sophisticated, they know more about what they want and what they are looking for. Their level of expectations has risen. They want more thoughtful layouts and innovative storage systems. Open space is much preferred to compartmentalized space. More customized options like flexibility of having or not having a particular wall, fireplace, and doors. Open versus closed kitchen. Home buyers are increasingly expecting to tailor their own space for how they live. They want a condo that has unique character and something that reflects their own style.

So what’s next for Intracorp? Their next project is going to be on 2nd Ave N and John St, next to the Seattle Center. According to Kathryn, it is going to be completely different from Domaine. There will be around 114 units in this new project including 10 work/live homes along  a terrace elevated from the street. The terrace also serves as an entrance for these homes. There will be more information coming up in a few months’ time. Completion date for this condo is going to be 2008.

Domaine update:

Price list

Three featured homes with buyer incentives:

#601 William Sonoma furniture

#1101 Flat screen TV

#5201  Hardwood floors

Domaine most unique floor plan is their 2 bedroom town home (Building 3) with an upper lofts space that has large windows on top of it. It feels like a sky light lofts.

Read more on Domaine


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Dexter Place

Dexter_placeJust a few blocks away from Lake Union on Dexter Ave is a new conversion, Dexter Place Condos. There are 5 different floor plans to choose from with a total of 12 one bedroom’s and 13 one bedroom’s with dens. The developer’s other conversion project is The Siena in Capitol Hill.

Prices start from $260,000s to mid $400,000s with a few units sold over the last two weeks.

Floor plan

The Dockside 1 bedroom                                711-723sf
The kayaker 1 bedroom + den                              910 sf
Topsider 1 bedroom + den (town home)                  851sf
Regatta  1 bedroom + den                           919-1,068sf
The Yacht Club 1 bedroom                             703-709sf

Standard options

• Two color scheme for the finishes
• Stainless steel appliances
• Hardwood floors

Upgrade options

• California closets
• Washer and dryer
• Storage $5,000

The exterior of the building has been painted and they are currently redoing the decks. The Yacht Club which is west facing has the most efficient layout and comes with double closets in the bedroom.  Even though it is 17 square feet smaller than the Dockside floor plan, it appears bigger. The dockside facing Lake Union gets a peek-a-boo view of the lake, and partial city view. The first level unit comes with a patio. The topsider has a patio and a huge balcony.


- Proximity to the Lake Union
- Wood burning fireplace, something that is not commonly found in a condo
- Reasonably priced


- Not much going on around that neighborhood

Exterior        Average

Interior          Good

Location       Average

View            Average

Amenities    Below average

Value           Average

Overall         Average


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Queen Anne High School update


A few months ago I drove to Queen Anne High School to check out the neighborhood in the evening, the night view was magnificent. Going back to the school again during the day, it is still undeniably one of the most breathtaking historical buildings in Seattle.

Before the priority presale event last month, they sold 16 out of 137 units to existing tenants, alumni and developer’s sales. Most of their view units are already sold.  There are mainly the south facing units which has view of the city, Queen Anne neighborhood ,and the Puget Sound.

The main part of the school was built in 1909 and there were a few additions afterwards. In the 1920s , there was an addition of the west wing classroom which is now mainly one bedroom. In 1950s, the industrial arts building was added which are now converted to town houses and studios. Finally in the 1980s, there was another addition to the 1920s west wing classroom . The 1950s and 1980s additions do not have the character of the main building. Remodeling work is still going on in most of the units as well as the common areas. The main part of the school is scheduled for move in from September to December this year and the west wing and the industrial arts building are scheduled to be completed Jan to April 2007. As of yesterday, they have sold 36 out of 137 units. Their grand opening is this Saturday from 11.00am-6.00pm.


• Studios from the low                            $300,000s
• Lofts from the mid                               $300,000s
• One bedrooms from the high                  $300,000s
• One bedroom + den from the high           $400,000s
• Two bedrooms from the high                  $500,000s
• Town homes from the mid                      $700,000s


• Cherry Cabinets or the white cabinets option, kitchen island in some units
• Stainless steel appliances, slab countertops, farm style sinks, full height kitchen back splash
• Some units come with original hardwood floors, units that don’t come with hardwood floors will have carpet with hardwood floor border
• Less than 20 units have chalkboard in the unit.


• A unique, one of a kind condo
• Tall ceilings, oversized windows and beautiful architectural design
• Feels like a safe neighborhood


• An older building
• All the good view units were taken
• Single pane windows in the main building

Main building (based on what’s left)

Exterior       Very good

Interior         Good

Location       Good

View            Good

Amenities     Average

Value          Average

Overall         Good


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Eastlake Lofts Update

Eastlake_lofts_1_7Eastlake Lofts’ “preview” event took place last week. Like so many faux preview events, 12 out of their 18 unit lofts were already sold. During the event, Val Thomas, the developer for this project spoke about how he had been looking for an Eastlake location to build a smaller condo project and why he felt that smaller condos have a lot more to offer than bigger condos.

Eastlake Lofts is going to be of solid construction of concrete, steel and brick. Homes from the 2nd level onwards will have views of the Lake Union, Queen Anne and the city. Aesthetically, Eastlake Lofts look a lot like 19th Ave lofts on Capitol Hill, which is developed and designed by Val Thomas as well.

19th Ave lofts


Eastlake Lofts

Floor One

• 2 level lofts unit with deck on the main level and balcony on the 2nd level.
• Approx. 16 foot ceiling height
• 1,044-1,223 square feet
• Most units have close to 200 square foot deck.

Floor Two

• Flat units with balcony.
• Approx. 10 foot ceiling
• 790-944 square feet
• #201-#204 has approximately 60 square feet deck
• #205 and 206 has around 330 square feet terrace

Floor Three

• #301-#304 - 1,171-1,538 square feet
• 2 level lofts plus a roof terrace
• Approx. 200 square feet roof terrace and 60 square feet balcony on the main level
• Approx. 16 foot ceiling

• #305-#306- 830-894 square feet- flat unit
• 2 balconies on the main level

Floor Four

• #405-#406-Flat unit with spiral stairway leading up to roof terrace
• 2 Balconies on the main level and approx. 340 square feet roof terrace
• 842-894 square feet


Gas fireplace, Viking gas range, Bosch dishwasher, kitchenAid Refrigerator, and slab granite countertops

Prices for units left range from $415,000-$945,000.


• A smaller and more intimate building
• Generous amount of outdoor space (balcony, terrace & deck)


• Neighborhood is still evolving
• No amenities

Exterior          Good

Interior          Good

Location      Average

View             Good

Amenities   Below average

Value          Average

Overall          Good


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Second and Pine Plus Seattle 7

Second_and_pine_1 Second + Pine project explores the boundaries of mixed use developments. Located between Pike Place Market and Downtown Seattle's retail core, Second + Pine will feature premium condos above a yet-to-be-named high-end hotel, a local grocer, a destination restaurant, a health club and day spa and boutique retailers. The hotel which is currently under development by Starwood Capital Group will be from a new class of hotels, "in-city resorts." The project is a joint venture of Avalon Holdings and Starwood Capital Group Global, LLC (AvStar Seattle, LLC).

Second + Pine has been holding a series of design preview events since April and response was so overwhelming that more than half of their units were reserved for priority presales with previews available by appointment only. The sales center is scheduled to open soon and reservation holders will be invited to make their interior design selections.

Developer, Paul Brenneke sought the design inspirations of seven of the area’s leading interior designers to focus on the seven exclusive town homes. Known as the “Seattle Seven,” this collection of interior designers include Steven Hansel of Steven Hensel Design Studio in collaboration with Eggleston Farkas Architects; Nancy Burfiend  of NB Design Group, Inc; Christian Grevstad of Christian Grevstad Inc; Rocky Rochon of Rocky Rochon Design; Dixie Stark of DA Stark Interiors; Garret Cord Werner of Garret Cord Werner, LLC: and Jeff Lamb of Sienna Architecture Company.

The Seattle Seven will present their creations as part of a private design showcase this fall for members of the media and registered home buyers interested in a presale opportunity. Prospective home buyers are welcome to adopt any of the interior design concepts created by the Seattle Seven or may introduce their own ideas.

Second + Pine has four different groups of homes available:

In City Suites

• Located on floors 9 through 13 and are located within the hotel
• Range in size from 700 sq. ft. to over 1,200 sq. ft.
• Priced from from the mid $500,000s to more than $1 million
• Fully furnished
• Owners can elect to rent them out through the hotel when not in use

• Located on floors 14 through 16
• Range in size from 880 sq.ft. to 1,700 sq.ft.
• Prices begin at below $600,000 and can reach to over $1.7 million

Premier Flats
• Located on levels 17 through 24
• Range in size from 1,300 sq.ft. to 3,800 sq. ft.
• Priced between low $800,000s to well over $4 million
• Feature outdoor patios, some with views of Elliott Bay and Downtown Seattle

• 7 individual residences on levels 24 to 26
• Fully customizable to owners specification
• Ceilings can reach 20 ft., with the option of large foyers and/or two level living
• Feature main level patios and private rooftop terraces
• Pricing is available upon request at sales center

Designed by interior design firm Yabu Pushelberg, a renowned Canadian firm that specializes in hospitality and retail environments, Second + Pine will include wide plank wood flooring, custom kitchens, premium appliances and original styling.

How does Second and Pine compare to Olive 8 ? Both have comparable amenities. Olive 8’s architectural design is simple and clean with blue-tinted glazing and the use of vertical glass fins to catch light. Second and Pine’s exterior will use a mix of contemporary and traditional materials including glass curtain walls and limestone for the residential levels. Unlike Olive 8, which is located on the east end of downtown Seattle, Second + Pine is in a more central location in downtown between the retail core and Pike Market. The renovation of the Macy’s garage will also enhance the curb appeal. Second and Pine is scheduled to break ground this winter for completion in 2008.


- Location, location,location
- Rental service for their City Suites


Updated on 12/31/07

- No parking for City Suites
- No washer and dryer in the City Suites


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Tips for Selling Your Condo

For those of you who are already counting your capital gains on your recently purchased condos, my advice is never to underestimate the power of staging and marketing materials.  With all the new projects being announced every few weeks and the large number of other sellers looking to lock in their gains now that the downtown market is no longer piping hot, how will your unit stand out, sell fast, and sell for the best price?

In no particular order, here are some things sellers overlook:

Price it right. Think about your pricing strategy based on your investment goals, timing, and budget.  Price it too low and you may leave money on the table.  Price it too high and and you risk pumping up your days on market only to over-correct often by a series of painful cuts.

Get the word out. Market your condo using a variety of demand generating vehicles beyond the MLS such as online, newspaper, direct mail, open houses, etc.

Stage it.  If you have tenants, consider incenting them to keep the place looking tip top.  If it's vacant, consider professional staging so buyers can develop an emotional and apsirational bond with the unit.

After you've staged or at least freshened it up, don't just whip out your PowerShot and  upload the photos.  Spend some extra time or money to take photos that really sell your property.  Buyers often decide whether they want to view your unit by the second photo, don't blow it.

Delight the buyer. 
From the ease of viewing, availability of background info on the unit and it's advantages, rationale for the price, and responsiveness to buyer questions and offers, take a page out of Nordstrom's book.  For many buyers, an unresponsive seller, rude listing agent, or lack of timely information about the unit can drive a buyer to the unit down the hall.


As an example of the power of staging and professionally taken photos, compare the pictures below which are for a unit I'm representing in Avenue One

Img_0836_1  Avenue_one_29

Img_0844_3  Avenue_one_26_2

Img_0862  Avenue_one_22


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Moda : Small, smaller, smallest!


Want upscale Belltown living, but can't afford the price tag? A new development set to break ground in October 2006 and begin occupancy in summer 2008, attempts to do just that. In exchange for a great location, relatively low prices and luxury finishings, future owners must be willing to compromise on space. This idea, borrowed from bigger cities such as New York or London has already been successful in Seattle at The Montreux building constructed in 1999 at 425 Vine St with studios hovering around the 300 sq. ft. mark.

Moda Condominiums



• Prices range from $150,000 for studios to the $400,000s for two bedroom, two bath units.

• Studios begin at 296 sq. ft. and 2 bed/2 bath units just break the 1,000 sq. ft. mark.

• Developed by HMI Real Estate, the force behind other Seattle based projects such as, Alki Beach Towers, Palermo and  Montesano in Mercer Island

• Luxury fittings include; cherry or walnut finished floors, tiled bathrooms, stainless steel appliances and granite or limestone counter-tops

• Located in the heart of Belltown's booming nightlife and restaurant scene but situated on 3rd Avenue which is typically a quieter than 2nd and 4th Avenues

Moda condominium will be having its priority purchase event for pre-registered home buyers between September 13th thru September 22nd from 11AM to 6:00PM.

During the event, home buyers will have a chance to tour three full-sized, furnished units in the sales center, located at 314 Bell Street, Seattle, WA between Third and Fourth Avenue.

Moda units will be available only to buyers who are purchasing a primary or secondary residence; and no rentals will be permitted for at least the first year of occupancy. Home buyers who are interested can put down a deposit of five percent of the purchase price.

(10/01/06 Update: Moda units are sold out.)


- Affordable pricing


- Tight square feet, time to put on your creativity hat

Interior         Average

Location        Good

View        Below average

Value            Good

Overall          Good


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Stadium Lofts- Coming soon

Stadium_lofts_new          Stadium_lofts_6

Before                                             After

Looking for an authentic loft? The new addition at the edge of Pioneer Square, SoDo and International district is Stadium lofts which is going to be constructed over a 1905 historic warehouse. The sales center will open in January 2007. This authentic loft will feature open spaces, heavy timber ceilings, stainless steel appliances, natural stone and full tile bathrooms.


High $200,000 to $700,000
490-1,490 square feet.


-Neighborhood is not as saturated as Belltown
-Close to the Stadium which will appeal to sports fan
-One of a kind unique new lofts


-Building is next to 99 highway ramp
-Stadium traffic
-Neighborhood still evolving

Pioneer Square is Seattle’s oldest neighborhood and this is an area where you will find a  number of Romanesque Revival style buildings characterized by their round arches over windows, entry ways and window openings with stone or brick façades. Many were built after the Great Fire. It is also a place where artists, street people and entrepreneurs mix in the café and clubs. Some of the authentic lofts or work/live lofts can be found in this historic area. Here are a few that were built around the early 1900’s


80 South Jackson St Condos
4 story condo with 27 units
Built 1900



Merrill Place (97 South Jackson St)
5 story condo with 16 units
Built 1905


Traveler's/Post Mews (611 Post Ave)
3 Story condo with 8 units (Work/live lofts)
Built 1913



Florentine (526 1st Ave S )
5 story condo with 116 units
Built 1909


Our Home Hotel (75 S Main St)
4 story condo with 17 units
Built 1892


The Lofts (210 3rd Ave)
5 story condo with 17 units (work/live lofts)
Built 1904

Latest update on Stadium Lofts.


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