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February 2008

Trio Update

Picture_or_video_010_2 Picture_or_video_009

The recently completed Trio project started moving in home buyers this month.  The project is almost 50% sold.  During the initial launch, Trio did not get much attention from Realtors and homebuyers. This was largely due to what many people considered unrealistic pricing.  Since then, the developer has made some price adjustments which are more in line with the market.  Ironically, they probably ended up making bigger reductions than they would have had to had they launched with more reasonable pricing to begin with.  (Of course, such observations are always easier in hindsight.)



              Trio                                              Matae

I had been to the construction site a few times for hard hat tours last year but decided to take another look this weekend now that it's done.  Here are a couple of oberservations during a recent visit this weekend:

- The common areas (e.g. club room, roof top deck) turned out nicer than I expected compared to other wood-framed condos in Belltown, especially compared to the Matae (which exterior looks similar to Trio from the outside).

- One floor plan that is worth checking out is their northeast facing unit which has a outdoor deck right off the living room.  You don't get much of a view but the generous outdoor area maybe a nice hangout when you have friends over.

- The developer is offering incentives such as Plasma TV and furniture when homebuyers purchase a unit.  On top of that, they are also offering a price guarantee to new homebuyers. Looks like developers are starting to pay attention and follow suit after the recent announcement of Olive 8's pricing guarantee.

Overall, Trio is a decent condo with a slightly better amenities that its competitors.  If concrete and steel prices are out of your budget and you prefer to be close to a park, this project is worth a look.


Western and Blanchard: Reader Survey Results


We had quite a handful of readers participating in the Western and Blanchard survey. Here are some highlights and key takeaways from the results. __________________________________________


  1. Close to 2/3 of the participants feel that there are too many planned amenities for this project. I wonder if they are more concerned about higher dues that are associated with more amenities or they simply do not need them.
  2. Not surprisingly, 58% of the participants find that the location is a major selling point. It is really hard to argue about the location when it is only a couple of blocks from Pike Place Market.
  3. 65% feel that a finger print scanner at the front entrance is a neat feature but not important to them.
  4. 40% feel that the reputation of the developers is extremely important to them. With all the reports about leaky condos and delays in construction, I would have imagined more homebuyers would find that as a major consideration.
  5. Out of the various green features (green roof, solar powered common are lighting, high efficient heating and recycled builidng materials), 64% picked high efficient heating.
  6. Half of the participants are willing to pay $10,000 for air-conditioning in their unit.   

For full survey results, click here.


Madison Lofts Update


The low profile Madison Lofts projects is set for completion and ready for touring this May.

Here are a few highlights for this project:

  • Concrete and steel building with brick and glass exterior
  • Units feature 16' foot lofted celings with wide-planked hardwood floors in the living rooms
  • Sleeping lofts will have 7-8" ceilings with a walk in closet.

Madison_lofts_interior Madison_lofts_interior_2

From the description, Madison Lofts construction seems to be very similar to 19th Ave Lofts but a little bit more upscale.


Olive 8 update- Price Guarantee

Olive_8 Olive 8, one of the Seattle hotel/condos combos has recently announced that they will be offering new buyers a price guarantee.  The developer feels so confident that their project is offering high quality and outstanding value in the market place, that they are prepared to back it up with a price guarantee to new buyers.  The agreement says that if the same floor plan within Olive 8's remaining inventory sells for less than the current price prior to closing, the buyers who contracted for a higher price home will benefit at closing with the equivalent discount to their price.  According to the developer, the low price guarantee assurance is offerred to help shore the confidence of those who are on-the-fence.

Seems like a great marketing strategy -- will be interesting to see whether other projects follow suit.



Construction for Olive 8 has been progressing nicely. The hotel floors have been poured and condominiums floors are being poured at the rate of one every seven days. 

Related posts:

Olive 8 and 5th & Madison Update
Olive 8 Auction Results
Olive 8 Going Auction
Olive 8 Update
Olive 8 Hard Hat Tour
Hotel Condo Shoot Out 
Olive 8


1913 Fifth Ave: Billion Dollar "Out There" Hotel Condo

1913_fifth_aveIt seems like yesterday that the hotel-condo concepts imported from more trend-setting condo cities were still testing the waters here in Seattle.  Based on the new 1.2M square foot project set to break ground next year, it would appear hotel condos are here to stay.

Some highlights from this new project:

  • *Located across from Westin (current residents include the Icon Grill and Avis)
  • *High-end hotel (185-200 rooms), retail, office, and 22 floors of condos (400-500 condos)

*Twin, 43 story towers (North Tower-Pagoda, South Tower-Heron)

*Wind and solar will provide 7% of the building's electricity

*7 underground floors of parking

*Design that says Seattle looks not toward Vancouver but toward Chicago and New York.  (Personally, I find it a lot to take in and a bit Robocop as far as first impressions goes but that may be due to the lack of color in the rendering.)

The project is still in the early design guidance phase. Additional information will be presented, and public comments taken, at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Room L280 at City Hall.

More info from the PI article here.


Western and Blanchard- Help Design It?


I've been learning about a new Belltown project summarized below. I also interviewed the developer as well as agreed to post an SCR survey to give my readers the opportunity to help design the project and to help make sure they build something that people want. Feel free to fill out the 10 question survey, it'll take you a couple of minutes and I'll post results in a couple of weeks so we can all see what people thought.

Western and Blanchard, a mixed-use project will be located on the parking lot west of Continental Place Condos. (across the street from Belltown Billards). This project would be a 6 story wood framed building with approximately 116 units, 80 of them will be around 600 square feet. The top 2 levels will feature views of the water while other units may have either Space Needle or City views. Most of the units will be priced under $400,000. Interiors will feature 10' clear ceilings. Amenities would include (2) media rooms, fitness center, business center, roof top deck and perhaps part-time concierge.

Sample floor plan for their small "price point" units

Projects done by the same developer, Murray Franklyn :Bellora, Pomeroy, Austin Bell, Cristalla and Madison Tower.  Click below to read my interview with the developer and for a link to the survey.

Continue reading "Western and Blanchard- Help Design It?" »

New Law Expected to Pass to Assist Renters

A new law is being discussed to assist renters displaced by conversions.  The present law requires developers to give renters 90 days' notice and in some cases, $500 relocation assistance. The new law could require developers to pay tenants up to three months rent, provide longer notice, and ban construction work during the notice period.

Also being discussed is the government capping the number of allowed conversions.  Overall, it seems like this discussion is solving a problem that has already runs its course.  Nevertheless, giving people long notice, helping them relocate, and making sure they don't disrupt renters while they're there sounds reasonable.  Capping the number of conversions seems a bit over the top in my opinion.

Read more on the Seattle Times.