Hotel/condos Feed

Two 50 Story Buildings on 5th Ave - Escala View Obstruction Advisory

Map of Bldgs Around EscalaIn an earlier article we wrote back in November, we announced that a new 50 story mixed-use building was being planned for the northwest corner of 5th Ave and Stewart (just west of the Westin). It will contain hotel rooms, apartments, and condominium units, a mix we have yet to see here in Seattle. This building now has a name, Altitude Sky Tower.

Now we have learned, from PSBJ, of another 50 story tower that may be constructed on that same block, but on the southwest corner of 5th Ave and Virginia. Douglaston Development is the company looking into building the hotel and residential tower where the Icon Grill currently sits. The article mentions that some units will be apartments so we are unclear on whether or not there will be condos in the mix as of yet.

In 2007 and 2008, this site was originally planned for the condominium project, Heron and Pagoda Towers. In this case, Altitude Sky Tower will sit where Heron was to be and this potential new building will sit on the lot where Pagoda Tower was to be. The Heron and Pagoda project was also slated to be hotel/office/residential mixed-use and top out at 46 stories so even though the lots are now owned by different entities and will not be connected by a middle pedestal like Heron and Pagoda were to be, the plans remain similar for type and height of buildings.

View Obstruction Advisory: As for Escala, if this new building does indeed get built, the east facing units will lose much of their outlook of the city over Icon Grill. The southeast facing unit outlooks will also be impacted by Altitude Sky Tower most likely.

Potential Downtown Seattle Hotel-Condo Project at Stewart and Minor

Stewart and MinorAccording to a recent article in the Puget Sound Business Journal, the project previously known as Stewart & Minor, a hotel-condo building, might be resurrected.

In 2007, the Stewart & Minor hotel/condo tower was planned as a 150 room hotel with 14 stories of condos above.  They were planning on having 150 cube-shaped units that would be customizable in terms of adding mezzanine levels (or lofted spaces) within each unit, possible due to 16 foot ceiling heights that were potentially planned. We even participated in a focus group with the Developers back in 2007 so it is interesting to see this pop up again in the market.  (Photo of original design from 2007)

Today, the future of the development is not clear but the Developers, GIS International Group, said that they are pursuing a development on the site according to the PSBJ article. In other words we do not know what will be built on the lot but perhaps the old plan for a condo/hotel tower is still on the table.

We will keep you posted as we hear more.

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

Update on Heron and Pagoda Condo Office Hotel Development Project from 2007


  Heron and PagodaBack in 2007/2008 a project called the Heron and Pagoda Towers (original rendering at right) was set to be developed on the lot right across the street from the Westin and just east of Escala on 5th Avenue between Stewart St and Virginia St. It was planned as 2 large towers containing condos, a hotel, office space and ground floor retail. The land for the block-long development was purchased for $30 million in 2007.

Obviously, the market took a dive after this project was planned and the project was put on hold like many others in the Seattle area. The lots were foreclosed upon and the surface lot section at the south end of the block on the corner of 5th Avenue and Stewart St just sold for $16.75 million to Stanford Hotels Corp. So, it appears that, at least for now, the Icon Grill will remain in its location at the north end of this block and a hotel will be built on the south end of this block. Heron and Pagoda is officially dead it seems.

Escala owners will be happy to hear that the remaining lots to the north end of that site will not be built on at this time, or as a part of this current proposed hotel development, keeping their views to the east intact. However, those facing south and those on the south end of the east side of Escala will be affected by the future construction and their outlook will likely change.

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

$25M Condo in Vancouver Sets New Records

Someone to our North is living large.  

A 6,500 square foot, 2-story condo in Vancouver recently sold for $25M setting a new record for the city. The unit is perched on top of the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel and includes a gym, pool, and rooftop deck not to mention four bathrooms and 3 bedrooms.  



Feel free to check out the original article here from the Vancouver Sun.  That's amore.


By Wendy Leung with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.

Seattle Bank Owned and Short Sales Update

Thanks Marco on the great wrap up for 2012 Seattle Condo Market!

For those of you who are still curious about distressed properties and their impact on the market (bank owned and short sale inventory), this is for you. More than 6 months ago, we pulled some data from NWMLS on bank owned and short sale condos. At that time, bank owned and short sale condos made up about 19% of the total listings. Last month's data shows that it was almost the same. However, if you compare that to almost 2 years ago, distressed assets as a percent of all on the market went down significantly.

In the first half of 2012, we had a total of 315 distressed condos, during the 2nd half, it went down to 259 sales. Interestingly, bank owned properties sales dropped from 186 to 93  in the 2nd half of last year while short sale condos went up by almost 30% from 129 to 166 sales perhaps an indication of banks starting to work with owners when a short sale is proposed.

In summary, we had fewer distressed condos coming on the market in 2012 than in 2011; so far we are not seeing any influx of bank owned properties coming on the market. I agree with Marco's prediction that we are not likely to see an increase in them in 2013; this will be a good news for sellers.  

( Data extracted from NWMLS on 01/29/2013 and are deemed reliable but not guaranteed. 

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

Related posts:

Seattle Bank Owned and Short Sale Properties July 2012

Seattle Bank Owned and Short Sales Properties April 2011

Client Question of the Week: Long Market Times for Condos in Newer Buildings?

2911_2nd_ave_01Client Question of the Week: “I'm considering selling in the new year but I am seeing long market times in some newer buildings and that concerns me, I thought things were picking up and getting better for condo sellers in Seattle?”

Dear Scared To Sell:

This is a common question these days, and it comes down to a condo unit's ability to be purchased and the risks associated with its purchase.  Condo ownership is a wonderful thing, but like any real estate purchase (house, townhome, land, floating home, etc.) there are risks to that investment. The newer buildings you are seeing with long market times likely are those in the middle of their warranty investigations or those in the various phases of litigation with their developers.

Unfortunately, this is common with new construction condominiums.  Due to the Washington Condominium Act, which was intended, I think, to protect the condo buyer in new construction, developers of new condo buildings have to provide a warranty for certain aspects of a building's construction against defects. Sounds like a great thing right? Well, since our condo buildings are built by humans, none of them are built perfectly. So things do come up that need to be repaired, replaced, fixed etc.  There are limits to how long an HOA can hold a builder/developer accountable for certain construction defects.  I'm not an attorney so my specific knowledge is limited to the exact terms of the state statute, but basically what this results in with nearly every new condo building in our city, is that something in a building will result in a dispute on whose role or responsibility it is to fix it.  If the HOA and the developer do not agree, a motion is filed by the HOA to protect their right to sue if they can't come to agreement.

Continue reading "Client Question of the Week: Long Market Times for Condos in Newer Buildings?" »

2200 Condominiums in South Lake Union Settles with its Developer

05After approximately two years of warranty investigation work and negotiation, the 2200 Residential Homeowner Association and the 2200 Master Association (that represents the hotel, retail and the Whole Foods) received an early holiday gift of sorts. A settlement was reached for the 2200 Association's claim for repair of construction defects. The settlement summary was discussed with owners at the annual meeting of the HOA held earlier this week. The $26 million dollar settlement represents what is rumored to be the largest construction defect settlement of its kind in the state for a residential condo building.

This settlement comes at a good time for the owners in the 2200 complex who have been somewhat limited from being able to refinance or sell condo units for some time due to the fact the resale certificates and condo questionnaires needed by lenders disclosed issues related to the construction defects and its mediation.  These can now be changed, which should open up some possibilities for sales and refinances to happen since buyers and their lender might be more confident about the long term financial health of the building and the HOA.

Early indications are that the 2200 community will start to see the work start some time in 2013 but it’s not known exactly when, nor exactly how long the work will take.  It also remains to be seen which of three condo towers will be first and if a full wrap of each building will be needed. The board indicated at the meeting they will be working hard with the project contractor to try to make the repairs as efficient as possible and with the least amount of impact on the residents and businesses within 2200 as possible. It is not yet officially known who that contractor will be.

Although none of us owners at 2200 are looking forward to the inconvenience of the repair work that follows, it is likely that the settlement amount will cover the expenses of the needed repairs and there will not be a need for additional funds from the owners through an increase in dues nor a special assessment, which is the silver lining to the whole thing and a relief for many. In fact, the new budget for 2013 reflects a decrease in dues now that the settlement has been finalized.

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

Olive 8 Update - Including its Debut on Top Chef Seattle

Olive 8You may or may not already know but the Bravo show, Top Chef, was recently filmed in Seattle for season 10, which is now airing.  The chefs compete in a number of challenges that feature local cuisine, restaurants, and events in the host city. The show also puts the chefs up in a posh residence for their stay during the competition.

Guess where the chefs stayed? Downtown Seattle’s Olive 8 Condominiums! The “cheftestants” all lived in a unit on the 38th floor of the Olive 8 tower giving this condo a great national stage to be seen on. The program showcases Olive 8 with scenes of the chefs lounging around, using the gourmet kitchen and shows off the beautiful view as the chefs sit out on their private deck. Olive 8 was a good choice, I would say.

So what’s going on at Olive 8 in terms of condo sales you might ask? Here is the latest update on Olive 8’s Developer owned condo units:

  • 90% sold
  • 196 closed sales
  • 9 pending sales in November
  • 19 developer owned units left: 10 one bedrooms and 9 two bedrooms (all on floor 30 or above)

There are also a couple of units being sold by individual owners (resales) in the building:

  • 1 active resale unit
  • 2 pending resale units

Continue reading "Olive 8 Update - Including its Debut on Top Chef Seattle" »

Downtown Seattle Condo Blog Update

Escala new

Well, we are nearing the end of the first quarter, if you are wondering what is going on with Escala and Olive 8, here is a quick update.

Sales have been pretty consistent at Escala. Ever since the new sales team took over the project a year ago with some realistic price reductions, they have closed about 80 homes with an additional 15 pending for closing. Not bad for a year's effort.

What's interesting is that during my last tour, I had the chance to revisit their E floor plan. This home is facing west with really nice city and water views but it has a huge supporting column with a double sided fireplace in the middle of the living room. The sales team came up with a way to reduce the size of the column. What an improvement! The living space is more open and gives you better views. I thought that was a great idea giving buyer that option to reduce the column size. Check out the before and after pics below. 

Escala E floor plan before
Escala E floor plan after
(The drawings are for illustrative purposes only.) 

 E plans start at $1,089,000 on the east side of the building and $1,249,000 on the west side.


Olive 8 spring event 

Olive 8 announced  they have closed 17 sales since the new year.  They have also launched their spring event offering special financing from 1.5% (for a conforming 5 year ARMs, 2.8% APR). In addition, the developer will be covering the closing costs and credit the first year's home-owner dues and health-club membership fees if the purchase closes before May 31st.

Related posts:

Escala's New Pricing
Escala Scaling Prices Soon
Escala Update Dec 2009
Escala Hard Hat Tour 
Escala Update
Escala Update February 2007
Escala priority presale event
Escala: Cristalla's biggest competition

Olive 8 Reset Pricing?
Olive 8's Video & Reset Pricing
Olive 8's New Pricing 
Olive 8 Auction Results
Olive 8 & 5th and Madison Update
Olive 8 going Auction

2010 Seattle Condo Market in Review

The Seattle condo market has definitely gone through a lot in the last few years.  Looking at 2010 as a whole, it did not preform as well as 2009 but it wasn't too far behind.

During the first 6 months of 2010, we saw a higher number of closed sales compared to first half of 2009.  This may have been due to the extension of the tax credit from October 2009 to April 30, 2010 which gave the market a boost in activity.  In addition to the original $8,000 first time home buyers' credit, a $6,500 tax credit was passed for repeat buyers as well.  Buyers had to be under contract by end of April, 2010 and closed by June 30 (the closing date was later extended to September 30, 2010) in order to qualify for this tax credit.

The strongest month was April; probably due to many buyers trying to meet the tax credit deadline closing date.  


Continue reading "2010 Seattle Condo Market in Review" »