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August 2012

New 27 Story Apartment Building Tower Being Built in Belltown Behind Seattle Heights Condominiums

3rd and Cedar 2Another construction crane is coming to Belltown. This week Wood Partners announced it is starting construction on a 27 story apartment building in Belltown.  The site is on 3rd Avenue and Cedar Street on the southwest corner and is located near Mosler Lofts and directly behind Seattle Heights Condominiums.

According to Puget Sound Business Journal, continued job growth in the area is the reason this developer still sees it as a good time to build.  The building will have ground floor commercial space and parking for 200 vehicles.

Important for condo owners and buyers, this new building will mean potentially obstructed views for residents within Seattle Heights Condos that have units on the east side.  In particular, it will affect those condos on the north east section of the building. So like always, make sure you do your research before purchasing a condo if view is the key reason you are choosing it. 

Currently an older building that houses the American Lung Association sits on that site and will soon be demolished.  Recently the construction of another apartment building on 3rd Avenue seems to have added some new life to this section of 3rd Avenue in Belltown so perhaps another building with new commercial space will spur some additional buzz in the area. 

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

Air Conditioned Seattle Condos

Every year, during about 2 weeks of the summer, I get a few inquiries from condo buyers explicitly looking for urban homes with air condition systems.  For those of you who just moved from out of town, Seattle's summer is rarely as warm as what some of the East Coast cities are experiencing.  The good news is f you really like/need to have an air- conditioned condo, you will have a pretty good chance of finding them in Belltown and Downtown.

I did some research recently for a client and below is a quick look at condos in Belltown and Downtown with/without air condition systems.  

Condos With and Without Air Condition

(Information from NWMLS and building managers. They are deemed reliable but not guaranteed. )

What happens if you really like a particular condo but it doesn't come with any air conditioning system? Check with the homeowners' assocation if the unit might be air conditioning ready but just not hooked up yet.  If not, look up the resale certificate to see if you're allowed to install one in your condo. Some associations might allow it as long as it does not damage or affect the exterior structure of the building or create inconsistency to the condo exterior.  Every homeowners' assocation works differently, so do consult them if you plan on buying that condo and installing an air condition system down the road. Worst comes to worst, you could purchase one of those portable air conditioners with a portable vent hose and set it up within a few minutes (but that may not be the most attractive or powerful option and may also run afoul of HOA rules and reg's).

Hope you had a wonderful summer so far!  Here's to needing air conditioning for many more weeks ;-)


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

Amazon's New Towers in Denny Triangle Will Be Neighbors to Several Seattle Condos

If you have any curiousity about what the massive 3 office tower, 3 block and 3 million square foot Amazon project in the Denny Triangle will look like, new renderings have recently been released by Amazon's project artictect, NBBJ.

From what we can see, the sites will be a mix of midrise and highrise buildings. There will be dedicated space for greenery and outdoor space, which will include an off-leash dog area, seating areas, a playfield with artificial turf, water features and integrated artwork. They also plan to take security seriously by use of lighting, cameras, security officers, and increased visability. Along with the office towers comes main level retail space, which will be a bonus for those working and living in the area.
















Which condos will be affected most by the addition of Amazon's new towers?

Continue reading "Amazon's New Towers in Denny Triangle Will Be Neighbors to Several Seattle Condos" »

Seattle Downsizers' Guide to 2BR Condos

A lot of my clients are folks who are downsizing from a large home looking to simplifiy, enjoy the amenities of a condo, and get access to a more lively location.  I recently put together a summary for some clients and thought SCR readers might find this simplified version helpful.

Feel free to take a look, share it with someone who might find it useful!

 Two Bedroom Newer Condos Comparison (Square Footage)-PDF

(Information extracted from NWMLS and Realist Record on 08/16/2012. Penthouses are excluded from square footage calculations. They are deemed reliable but not guaranteed )

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

30 Sunrises

We should get this guy to do 30 sunrises over a bunch of Seattle condos ;-)  In all seriousness, this isn't a Seattle condo video, or a Seattle property one for that matter.  But it does seem to capture a bit of the magic that makes Seattle such a great place to live.


Escala Condo Update

8.8.09-32-blogIt is time for an update on Escala Condos in Belltown/Downtown, one of the few new contruction condo buildings with units still available in Seattle.

We reached out to , Erik Mehr, Sales Manager at Escala,  who is responsible for the sale of the remaining units and here is what we chatted about.

(Marco) Escala seems to be doing great with sales this year, what do you think the reasons are that buyers are coming to Escala and so many sales are happening there?

(Erik) We offer the greatest value, location, square footage, finish level and amenities. Additionally, we respect the consumer with a completely transparent and orderly sales process which enables buyers to fully understand and appreciate the price structure.
We also have the most knowledgeable experienced condominium sales team in the NW on site to provide buyers with the necessary information to make an informed purchasing decision.  
Combined, our Escala sales agents have sold over 3,000 condominium units.
How many units have now sold at Escala?

203 of the 269 have sold. 192 of the 203 have closed.

And for the remaining units, do you anticipate any changes in price points, whether that be up or down?

As the downtown area condominium supply dwindles the prices are likely to increase.

Continue reading "Escala Condo Update" »

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" »

Welcome Marco Kronen to Seattle Condo Review

Dear SCR Readers:  

As some of you know, I've been partnering with Marco Kronen on a lot of client engagements over the last few years.  He and his partner Loren share my passion for the condo scene in Seattle and they're as in the know as I am.

In fact, we've often discussed the idea of Marco providing some guest posts to SCR so we can expand our breadth and depth of coverage on the Seattle condo scene.  Well...the wait is over.  I'm thrilled to announce that Marco will now be serving as a guest author on SCR!

Going forward, expect to see new posts from both of us.  Marco is one of my favorite folks to work with and talk to about the latest rumors, announcements, and inside details about Seattle condos.  He's also just a terrific person (a former firefighter).  

Please join me in welcoming Marco to the SCR community and check out his first (and excellent) post reviewing 2200 Westlake!

We love condos,
Wendy Leung

July 2012 Seattle Condo Market Conditions: Queen Anne / Magnolia Power Ahead

July 2012 market data is in.  Here's what you need to know and a bunch more.

  • July 2012 saw 40% more sales than July 2011 showing continue evidence of a gradual recovery.
  • Median prices came in at $250K (within the $235-$270 range we've been seeing since March).
  • Inventory continues to shrink with only 576 units on the market, the lowest number of condos on the market in the last 6 months.
  • While most of the neighborhoods had a seasonally expected dip, Queen Anne/Magnolia actually had a month-over-month increase of 25% in condo sales (compared to a 50% decrease in over the same period in 2011).

 More charts and data below 

Seattle Condo Sales Y-O-Y

Continue reading "July 2012 Seattle Condo Market Conditions: Queen Anne / Magnolia Power Ahead" »

Insignia Update

Home-image-bosaSeveral readers have asked about the Insignia project so I reached out to Dennis Serraglio, Director of Sales and Marketing from Bosa Development to get an inside update on this exciting project in Seattle (the first that has broken ground after a multi-year dry spell).  

Here's what we discussed:

Wendy: How has your vision for the project evolved since originally planned versus now?

Dennis: The vision remains the same. An iconic tower in an emerging , centrally located neighborhood. Spectacular views in all directions. To provide larger than average homes that are highly amenitized.

Wendy: What were the key drivers to deciding now was the right time to get back in?

The lack of new condos available currently and none in the immediate pipeline. Neighborhood filling in over the next 3 years with Bentall’s rentals and Amazon Campus. High net worth individuals with high paying jobs nearby. The towers will take 3 years to build and a feeling the market will have large pent up demand as we get closer to completion.

Wendy: What kind of reaction have you gotten so far to the news?

We have received a lot of positive press and enquiries from the press.  We will start teaser ads and site signage with a registration page likely summer next year.

Continue reading "Insignia Update" »