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October 2006

Empress Building (Tobira Condos)

Empress_apartment_2Sales for Tobira Condominiums are slated to being in January 2007. The most recent condominium conversion project by the Wysong group is located on Fifth Avenue between Yesler Way and South Washington Street, conveniently located near Pioneer Square, the International District and Downtown. Empress Apartment building (the soon-to-be Tobira), a five-year-old, BUILT SMART (environmentally friendly) construction, was sold in a deal brokered by Jon Hallgrimson of CB Richard Ellis for $14.25 million.

The Wysong Group. a Puget Sound based company,  has participated in 12 Seattle-area projects since 1997.  These projects include; Press Condominiums in Capital hill, Cooper Square in Greenwood, Windsor Court in Lower Queen Anne and Mira in Kirkland.

Tobira Condominiums will be an 88 unit building composed primarily of one and two bedrooms homes, ranging in size from 490 sf to 1,080 sf. Prices have yet to be set but it is projected that homes will start from $180K which is roughly $367 per sf for a 490 sf unit. The units will initially be offered to existing tenants at a preferential rate before being opened to the public.

Read latest update on Tobira.


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Trace Lofts/Trace Flats update

Trace_lable_2 Trace Lofts has launched their updated website today. The sales center is scheduled to open in spring 2007. The estimated completion date for Trace Lofts will be June 2007 and Trace Flats around December 2007.

Read more on Trace Lofts/ Trace Flats .


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Hotel/condo Hybrids

The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce features an article by Blaine Weber, a principal at the influential Seattle architectural firm Weber + Thompson. The firm also designed Madison Tower, Cristalla, and the currently under construction 1521. Mr Weber talked about why it makes sense for hotel/condo hybrid, what motivates buyers to purchase and the driving trend for these types of developments. An interesting read for home buyers who are considering hotel/condo units as home.


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Vulcan's Disovery Center update

Discovery_center_lg_6Vulcan’s Discovery Center re-opened yesterday. This time, they have a more detailed presentation for their three South Lake Union projects. The three condos’ home selections day will start from Dec through February 2007 with Veer in December, Enso in January, and Rollin in February.

Update of the condos in the Discovery center:


• Kitchen model with flexi loft - the flexi space does not feature the actual height of the ceiling, only a representation of how it looks
• Scale model of the condo


• Kitchen and bathroom model (featuring cool color scheme with rustic bathroom granite countertop)
• Scale model of the condo
• More finish selections
• Doll house of the different floor plans
• Touchscreen presentation with floor plan selections and estimated views from different floors

From the floor plan selection, you can see that units on the 8th level onwards on the north side will have Lake Union view.


• One bedroom model unit (the model home is a variation of their 03,07,09 floor plan)
• Scale model of the condo
• More finishes selections
• Touchscreen presentation with floor plan selections

Overall, the center has a much clearer presentation than their June event. So far, from the scale model of the three condos, Enso has the most impressive architectural design. If you feel that you have not gotten a full picture yet during your informational overview appointment, it is worth the trip. For buyers who can’t decide between Enso or Rollin and are looking for a view unit, this is a good time to do a comparison before your home selection appointments.

As for The Martin, it will have its own sales center. Currently, there are no dates yet on when they are opening.


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Second and Pine has a name

“1” will be the name for Second and Pine hotel/condo development. On top of being named “1”, 1% of their revenue is supposed to go to local environmental groups. The $210 million project is scheduled for opening by the end of 2008. Read more.

2nd_and_pine_map_3  2nd_and_pine_map_5

Read more on 2nd and Pine.


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Condo news- Hyatt Place

Hyatt_place_1Hyatt Place, a subsidiary of Hyatt Hotel is planning to build a 158 hotel suite and 56 residential units, either condos or apartments on the site of Greg’s Japanese Auto, 6th Ave and Denny Way.

If it becomes a condo, Hyatt Place will be offering more limited service as opposed to other luxury hotel in Seattle. "The market conditions will be the determining factor if it will become a condo or an apartment," said Kent Angier, President of  Kauri Investment.

Designed by Johnson Braund Design Group of Seattle, Hyatt Place will have two buildings, each with separate entries and hallways instead of the traditional hotels with condos stacked above. The exteriors of both will be connected. Read more on related article.


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Cameo- Coming soon

Cameo_5 Cameo Condominiums like its already completed sister site across the street, Braeburn Condominiums is committed to enviromentally friendly construction. The community located on 15th and Pine near the popular Pike/Pine corridor is being developed by Hal Real Estate Investments.

The 6 story mid-rise building will be constructed on the site of the old Venetian Theater. Condominiums have views of the Seattle Skyline, the Space Needle, the Puget Sound and the mountains. The 16 different floor plans of studios, 1 and 2 bedrooms range from 449 to 1091 sq. ft. and are priced from $200k.

The majority of the units are residential with a few work/live units. As a certified Built Smart community, Cameo Condominiums will use recycled content materials, water efficient landscaping, high performance glazing, and high efficiency lighting. In addition, Cameo will provide CO2 monitoring in the underground parking garage, and an alternative fuel recharging station. Interior finishings in the units will include slab countertops, wood cabinets, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, gas ranges and gas fireplaces in some units.

Common elements will include a fitness center, a community center with a gas grill and dog walking and grooming areas.

Related Post:
Cameo Update


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Gallery update- Belltown condos

Gallery_1_2I attended Gallery’s broker event yesterday. The sales center (located here) showcases a diorama of the Gallery building, a studio model unit and a video presentation to help you visualize the height of their signature Skylofts. Gallery is currently under construction with completion set for mid 2008 and will be located on 2911 2nd Ave.

Gallery was designed by Mithun Architect, who also did the design for Domaine and Mosler Lofts.  Gallery’s exterior design will be using a mix of brick and metal. The brick masonry columns frame the building with the center highlighted by steel and glass with floor to ceiling windows. A generous amount of green space occupies the broad sidewalks (on 2nd Ave) which offset the building from the street.

Gallery amenities include a 2 story lobby with 24/7 concierge service, a club room on the 2nd level with kitchen and entertaining area, business center, fitness facility, yoga studio, roof top terrace, and even a private dog park and dog wash area. On the 7th floor, you will find a club like lounge that is connected to an outdoor terrace with gas barbeque.

Most units will have 9 foot ceilings.  The 2 story town homes and Skylofts feature ceilings as high as 18' 8” ceilings. Open one bedroom floor plans range from 400 to more than 800 square feet. One and two bedroom flats range from 700 to under 1,400 square feet with some of them including a den. Four street level town homes on 2nd Ave feature one bedroom and a den with gate and porch. One bedroom Skylofts can be found on the east and west side of the building starting from the 7th floor to the 11th floor which will have views of the Space Needle or Puget Sound.

Price sheet

Markie Nelson, a local design firm has created four different color palettes for home buyers to choose from. Whether you are a minimalist or expressionist, there is a color palette that will cater to your personality and the style you want in your unit. Interior standard features will include hardwood floors, custom cabinetry, a choice of either solid surface glass countertops or granite slab, and stainless steel appliances. Some of the options available for homebuyers are as follows:

• Custom made multi-purpose room dividers match cabinetry and provide wardrobe, entertainment and storage functions
• Air conditioning
• Higher quality appliances package
• Stainless steel mobile kitchen island cart
• Glass upper kitchen cabinets
• Electric windows shades
• Customized multi media systems, California closet system

The Gallery VIP event will take place on Thursday, Oct 12th from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. There will be a preview weekend on Oct 14th & 15th (Sat & Sun) from 11.00am to 6.00pm. Grand opening to the public will be on Oct 28th. Reservations of units will start on Oct 21st (from 10.00am). A $10,000 deposit is required. Purchase and sale appointment will be scheduled on or before Oct 28th. At that time, the remaining 5% earnest money will be required. 

Overall, Gallery has an interesting old meets new exterior design that almost felt like three different buildings were seamlessly combined. Most of the time, you will see the glass type exterior like the Concord and Bellora or concrete and steel construction with a stucco looking exterior. The mix of brick and metal look is a welcome change and for many, has a bit more character. It will be interesting to see this condo rise up from the construction site.


-A good mix of floor plans (unique Skylofts)
-Comprehensive amenities
-More personalized options


-Lower floor west facing unit is facing a 6 story apartment building

Exterior:         Very Good

Interior:         Very good

Location:          Good

Value:             Average

View:               Good

Amenities:      Very good
Overall:            Good


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Brix update

Brix_1_2Sitting on the north end of Broadway is the site of Brix, a new condo development scheduled for completion in March 2008. The VIP preview event will take place this Saturday at 11.00am and their public opening will be on Oct 21st. Flat units can be found on the Broadway side of the development whereas if you are more interested in a 2 story lofts or northwest style town home, those will be available around the 10th Ave and Mercer side of the condo.

A mix use building with retail on the street level, this 6 story condo will features 141 units with a variety of floor plans. Town homes come with exposed timber beams and modern finishes. 2 story lofts will feature walls-of windows with ceiling heights up to almost 16 feet. Amenities include a roof top deck and courtyard.

Features and finishes

• 2 color scheme options (Trendy and Classic)
• Hardwood floors in kitchen
• Granite countertops or slab milk glass
• Smart box for cable and satellite TV
• Stainless steel appliances
• Brushed steel and glass halogen lights
• Stone slab countertops with undermount sink in the bathroom

Price range

Open Studio                494-550 sf.       High $200s-Mid $400s

1 Bedroom                   497-854 sf.       Low $300s-$Low $400
(Some with den)

2 bedrooms              971-1s165sf.       Low $500s-Low $600s

2 Story Lofts                751-964sf.       Low $400s-High $500s

Town homes           9 47-1,389sf.       Upper $400s-Low $700s

Homebuyers interested in this condo can put down a $5,000 deposit along with a pre-qualification letter from Brix’s preferred lender (Countrywide) to reserve the unit. Reservations will start this Saturday at 11.00am. Final pricing will be available on the week of October 16th. Purchase appointments will occur beginning Oct 17th through Oct 20th. The remainder of the 5% of the purchase price will be required at that time.


- Good mix of floor plans
- Location, Location, Location


- Limited closet space for their smaller units
- Private outdoor areas are sparse for many of their one bedroom units

Exterior        Good

Interior        Good

Location    Very good

Value         Average

View          Average

Amenities     Good

Overall         Good


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