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Fifteen Twenty-One Second: How “Design Matters”

February 28, 2011 by  
Filed under 1521, Featured, Opus, Pike Place Market

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“Design Matters” is a new video series on the attributes of Fifteen Twenty-One Second Avenue, bearing testimony that the unique qualities of Fifteen Twenty-One have earned them their distinctive market niche, which has continuously held its value in spite of the current condominium market.

The six spokespersons representing different design attributes on the Design Matters series (note that the starred* names are also Fifteen Twenty-One homeowners) are:

1.0 – Architecture / Blaine Weber*, Architect and Principal of Weber Thompson Architects

2.0 – Interior Design / Susan Marinello, Interior Designer of Susan Marinello Interiors

3.0 – Amenities & Lifestyle / William Justen*, Project Visionary and Longtime Downtown Resident

4.0 – Development Practices / Tom Parsons, Developer and Senior Vice President of OPUS Group

5.0 – Community & HOA Operations / Amanda Ciliberto, Chef Concierge for Fifteen Twenty-One Second Avenue

6.0 – Mortgage Lending / Jeff Bell*, Preferred Lender and Partner with Cobalt Mortgage

rsz_1521_living_roomThe contributors cite numerous tangible and intangible attributes that set the project apart including: transformative “tall and slender” architecture; protected water views; all larger format homes averaging 1,988 sq. ft.; the first-of-its-kind “Glass Rooms” in the homes; a uniform “all penthouse” approach to design; a strong sense of community; and a sales focus towards principle residences helping to maintain established market pricing.   This has led to numerous awards and acknowledgments by industry judges at regional and national development competitions held by such organizations as NAIOP, Multifamily Executive Magazine, The Pacific Coast Builder’s Conference and The National Association of Homebuilders.

Right off of Pike Street, Fifteen Twenty-One is within easy walking distance to Pike Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum, plus a number of shops and restaurants in the best of Belltown.  Only 3 to 5 homes are located on each floor (143 units on 38 stories), ranging from 1,659 to 2,958 sq ft.   Their claims of being “The West Coast’s Most Successful High-Rise Condominium” are well-founded because they paid off their $176 million construction loan in the fall of 2010.

rsz_1521_kitchenFifteen Twenty-One also has a great list of amenities including a 24-hour concierge, security controls, conference space / digital boardroom, rooftop terraces with wide-open city, water and mountain views, a rooftop Sky Lounge, spa-worthy residential fitness center plus a yoga and Pilates studio, playrooms for kids and a convenient pet area.

With over 75% of its homes sold, public records confirm that Fifteen Twenty-One has closed more in-city condominiums valued above $1 million than all other new construction condominium developments in the city combined.   Some of this is attributed to overwhelming consumer preference to the matchless design characteristics, plus protected water views programmed several years ago. 

We at the Stroupe  Group are very proud that we have helped many buyers purchase homes at Fifteen Twenty-One Second Avenue, and they still express their satisfaction over their decision to buy.  We continue to be positive about this project, and firmly believe that this is one of the nicest condominium developments in Seattle.  Check out the Design Matters series for yourself, then send us an email at urgent@stroupe.com for more information or to schedule a private tour. 

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Happy Birthday to Us! Reflections on Year One

February 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Downtown (MLS Area 701), Featured

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February 23rd marked the first anniversary of the Stroupe Group’s partnership with Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, and we’re very happy with how things are going!

Since opening for business, Realogics has doubled its roster of brokers, earned several high-profile project accounts and recently opened a second office on Bainbridge Island.  Its brokerage participated in approximately $120 million in real estate transactions during the past year, representing all price points including record sales in both condominium and single-family categories in Seattle. While very engaged with the local real estate community, its global reach provides visibility to Seattle-area properties worldwide. 

As for the Stroupe Group… well, we have great news, too.  We enjoyed our best year ever in real estate.  We have also been able to bring a broad international exposure to our team.  The best example of this was our recent 10-unit buy for a foreign investor in Olive 8!  We are very proud and honored for the accomplishments we’ve enjoyed over the past year. 

We gained market share in 2010 by focusing on distinctive properties across all price segments.  It’s a new economy to be sure, but success has been built upon Sotheby’s 266-year heritage, and exercising the Brand gives our office unparalleled consumer awareness and reach.  Inventories range from affordable in-city resale condominiums to a new waterfront estate with an asking price of $28.8 million. Trendgraphix confirms our success, as you can see by the following charts.

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As these graphs show for 2010, we were the leading brokerage for property listings in downtown Seattle and among the most accomplished sellers of new construction.  We should note that while Teambuilder Jls handles sales for the Escala property, Realogics manages sales for Four Seasons Private Residences, Fifteen Twenty One Second Avenue, and Olive 8.  We believe that the housing market began to stabilize in 2010 and will continue through 2011, helped in part by a noted rise in relocating buyers from out-of-state or internationally. 

Our collective presents a vertically integrated real estate solution comprised of market research, product development, full-service marketing and sales.  We are very proud of our one-year mark in the Seattle real estate arena.  We invite you to learn more about Stroupe Group and what we can do for YOU by contacting us at urgent@stroupe.com

Seattle Heights: What Could be Coming to Your Backyard

February 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Seattle Heights

rsz_2625_prelim_designSEATTLE HEIGHTS RESIDENTS, TAKE NOTE!  We came across a news item about the 2625 Third Avenue project which should be of great interest to you. 

Originally, the current site of the American Lung Association was slated to make way for a 18-story building with 204 residential units above 4,000 sq ft of retail space.  Now, however, the developers are petitioning to increase the height to 26 stories, with 310 residential units instead.  Retail size would stay the same, with parking for 160 vehicles in five below-grade levels.

To the left is the Preliminary Design, and we have also attached the current zone map and zoning context maps at the bottom of this article.

If you would like to make your voice heard on the changes in this project, especially those Seattle Heights residents whose views may be impacted, you can attend a Seattle design review board meeting on Tuesday, February 22nd at Seattle City Hall, 601 Fifth Ave, Room L-280 at 5:30 p.m.  

Check out the February 22nd section of this meeting link for more information. Click on the Design Proposal area to download the 33-page presentation to be made on Tuesday evening.  The contact for this project is Sean Sullivan at (206) 624-8154, and the planner is Michael Dorcy at (206) 615-1393.

Zoning Map

Zoning Map

Zoning Context

Zoning Context

Waterfront Seattle’s Meeting of the Minds – All of Them

February 20, 2011 by  
Filed under City of Seattle, Featured, Land Use

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The Waterfront Seattle project’s February 17th public meeting was expected to bring out only 100-150 attendees, but a whopping 960 turned out for the event, filling all areas of the Seattle Aquarium plus a tent set up outside.

Seattle-Aquarium-04With a theme of “What Makes a Good Waterfront?”, it was pretty clear by the end of the presentation that how to develop the Central Waterfront will be a Seattle hot -button for some years to come. Lead Designer James Corner of james corner field operations was the keynote speaker.  They are most renowned for designing High Line, an urban park set on top of an old railroad structure in New York.  This link to a recent AIA Seattle  article contains interviews with the principals involved.

Along with questionnaires asking for audience opinions of what they want/don’t want in a waterfront, Corner’s firm is also working with up to ten different groups, or Stakeholders, for their input.  They are, in order of presentation:

Neighbors:  representatives from all Central Seattle neighborhoods plus Magnolia and West Seattle

Entrepreneurs:  includes for-profit and nonprofit developers plus startup companies

Business Owners:  Waterfront venues, Pike Place Market, Seattle Chamber of Commerce

Commuters:  car ferries, motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians

Greens:  nature experts, environmentalists plus those concerned with salmon and wildlife

Shippers & Builders: Port of Seattle plus shipping industries

Tribes:  Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Duwamish

Visitors: includes tourism venues, hotels, Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau

Creatives:  involved with Arts and Culture, plus Seattle Parks and Recreation

Sports Teams:  Mariners and Seahawks organizations

waterfront walkCorner acknowledged there have been struggles for all parties to come to a consensus in forming a plan regarding the Waterfront, but is positive that differences will be resolved.  We only hope the Stakeholders remember the overlying theme of “A Waterfront for All”, and that all factions will need to do some give and take in order to do what’s best for the City of Seattle.

Waterfront Seattle spans 26 blocks, running from Olympic Sculpture Park (Broad Street) to the sports stadiums (King Street area).  Redevelopment will take approximately eight years to complete. This waterfront timeline shows the schedules for the Waterfront, Elliott Bay Seawall Project, and the proposed SR99 Bored Tunnel projects.

Another public meeting will be scheduled in May where a first draft of the Central Waterfront design should be ready for review.  We plan to attend that, so stay tuned. 

waterfront pierYou can follow Waterfront Seattle’s progress, and can still voice your opinions. Click on the City of Seattle’s new Waterfront site.  Select “Answer” to “What Makes a Great Waterfront?” to provide your own ideas. Choose the video link to watch the full 76-minute presentation of February 17th, produced by the Seattle Channel. You’ll find tapings of past meetings and presentations here as well.  Finally, waterfrontseattle.org  also has links in Facebook and Twitter.

Stroupe Group Lands Bulk Buy at Olive 8

February 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Olive 8

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olive-8-condo-200x300We are extremely pleased to announce that we have successfully closed a bulk buy of ten units at Olive 8!

The buyer is a foreign investor, represented by Julie Roh and James Stroupe of the Stroupe Group. For our buyer, improving market conditions and the investment value at Olive 8 were compelling.  We helped our client make an informed decision using our experience and research tools found at www.stroupe.com   Our buyer could have selected any metro area in the US, but preferred our economic outlook and the fundamentals of supply and demand for in-city condominiums.  It’s a reminder that Seattle is on the radar of many interstate and international buyers; whether it’s for lifestyle or investment purposes. In this instance, Olive 8 provides for both.

We also point to a convergence of sharper pricing, low interest rates, the prospect of job growth downtown, rising rental rates and the fact that no new condominiums are planned for the future.  The new construction supply pipeline is shut down.  Based on trends we watch very carefully, we believe the resale market is going to shore up property values in the near future.  

We are continuing to see clients come to us, asking about current market conditions.  As this latest tranaction demonstrates, there are some opportunities in the market that are worth exploring.  If you would like to schedule a meeting with us to discuss your personal goals, please contact us at (206) 910-5000, or by email at  urgent@stroupe.com.

Bellevue Towers – Smooth Sailing in a New Direction

February 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Land Use, Puget Sound Region

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Over the first few days of January, news broke that Bellevue Towers, the Eastside’s largest condominium development, was avoiding foreclosure by transferring ownership of all its unsold units back to its lenders. Six weeks later, we thought we’d check in to see how things were going.  We are happy to report that things are going well!

Here’s a quick history:  Portland-based developer Gerding Edlen began the Bellevue Towers project in January 2007, the majority of funding coming from a consortium of lenders led by Morgan Stanley.  This 1.25 million sq ft complex is comprised of two 42 and 43-story towers containing a combined number of 539 condo units, plus 16,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail space, all located at 106th Ave NE and NE 4th St in downtown Bellevue. 

By early 2008, one-third of the units were presold… then came the financial freefall that September.  When Bellevue Towers was ready for occupancy in early 2009, many presold buyers either couldn’t or wouldn’t close—just in time for the consortium loan to mature. The consortium started picking up the bills shortly thereafter, until word came out in January 2011 that with only 118 of 539 units sold, all remaining inventory was going back to the consortium in order for Bellevue Towers to get a better financial footing and a fresh start.

BT_ExteriorWith cuts averaging 30 percent off original pricing, it seems that the new direction is taking off.  As of February 14th, 26 units have either been sold or are pending, 13 are in the offer stage, and 10 others have strong buyer interest.  And, as we were speaking with them, one of those 10 with strong interest was being written up as an offer!  More telling, however, is Bellevue Tower’s traffic.  In January, 783 interested buyers came through the complex, the best turnout since the entire run of the project!

Bellevue Towers has much to offer.  It features a wide range of views from Mount Rainier, to Lake Washington, to the Olympic Mountains.  You’ll get spacious interiors with high ceilings, glass window walls, high-end appliances and finish materials of sustainable hardwoods and stones. Speaking of sustainable, Bellevue Towers was the first residential high-rise in Bellevue to receive LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.  

Bellevue Towers’ amenities include a fitness center and spa, dining room, screening room, reading room, and a grand room for entertaining and events.  Its ground floor level contains shops and restaurants including Purple Cafe and Wine Bar, Barrio and Lot No. 3.   Bellevue Square is a short walk away, with easy commutes to Microsoft’s main campus and Downtown Seattle. 

Bellevue Towers has graciously supplied us with the latest pricing list link that you can access below.  They are subject to change, so if you’re interested in more information on Bellevue Towers, or in scheduling a private tour, please contact us at this Stroupe Group link.   

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McGraw Square Park Reopened

February 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Downtown (MLS Area 701), Featured

mcgraw fullAs you enter the newly renovated McGraw Square, the first question you may ask yourself is, “They spent $900,000 on cement?” But there’s a little more to it than meets the eye.

One of the smallest parks in Seattle, you’ll find McGraw Square downtown at the intersections of Fifth Ave, Stewart St and Westlake Ave.  Its newly completed plaza makes it easier to travel around downtown while enhancing connections from the South Lake Union Streetcar to other mass transit options. It also seeks to better connect the South Lake Union and Denny Triangle neighborhoods to the existing retail core, offering a “sense of place” to help orient new housing and promote economic development.   

Streetcar Station on McGraw Square

Streetcar Station on McGraw Square

 We first blogged about the new construction in September 2010, so we were excited to see how everything turned out. We were there on a cold Friday morning, but there was a nice-sized crowd waiting for the streetcar, and others either crossing the plaza or posing for photos by the statue.  McGraw Square boasts some great city-watching:   from pedestrians crossing the plaza or waiting for the streetcar, to traffic zipping along its three adjoining streets, to the monorail cars rushing overhead.   It would also be a good place to see a few food and beverage carts (we could have used some coffee for warmth), and the broad expanse of plaza has great potential as an entertainment venue.   

The LED insets set up a spectacular light show at night. Note also the recycled granite pavers.

The LED insets set up a spectacular light show at night. Note also the recycled granite pavers.

SDOT’s plans for the new McGraw Square contained:

1.  A second streetcar platform to improve rider access to/from the new plaza;

2.  Integrated transit shelter/covered bicycle parking for up to 10 bikes;

3.  Landscaped rain garden to infiltrate majority of stormwater and reduce runoff entering the sewer system;

4.  Illuminated seat walls with signage, to act as gateway for Westlake Hub;

5.  ADA access, lighting, and seating improvements near the historic McGraw statue;

6.  Inlaid, energy efficient (LED) light tiles as part of a comprehensive dynamic, colored lighting scheme;

7.  Salvaged granite pavers for detailing, taken from overstock of original Westlake Park installation;

8.  New trees for the plaza plus large specimen trees to anchor Westlake Ave terminus; and

9.  Oversized curb ramp and utility connections to facilitate mobile food vending and plaza programming.

A people-watching bench

A people-watching bench

Along with perks for pedestrians and mass transit, it also simplifies a complicated five-way intersection (source of a good number of traffic accidents) by creating a left-turn only lane from Stewart St to Fifth Ave, and closing Westlake Ave between Olive Way and Stewart St.

The McGraw project is also part of the City’s larger strategy to make Westlake one of three transportation “hubs” serving downtown (with King Street Station and Colman Dock).  It  was funded by a transit mobility grant from the Washington State DOT, who will work with the City on a comprehensive operating/programming strategy.  McGraw Square was named for John H. McGraw, Washington’s second state governor, and you can read more about his remarkable life by hitting this link.

Open House – Sunday, February 13th

February 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Klee Suites & Lofts

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8309 24th Ave (Ballard), Seattle

4 Bedroom, 2 Bath

MLS #  173321

$465,000

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Open from 1 to 4 p.m.

Your Host is  Julie Roh

206.354.1030  ~  julie@stroupe.com

Just in time for Valentine’s Day… a sweetheart of a home!  Nestled in a great Ballard neighborhood, this 4 bedroom home weds 1940′s romance to modern updates.  The earmarks of this home are found in the living and dining rooms with beautiful hardwood floors, crown molding, wainscoting and cozy fireplace.

The gracious kitchen features tiled countertops & oak cabinets.  The  finished basement is a perfect family room and the back yard is fully fenced.  A new energy-efficient furnace completes the package.  This home is a classic American dream. Come see for yourself!

 

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Klee Lofts ~ 2717 Western Avenue ~ Unit # 634

$299,999

MLS# 169533

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

rsz_klee_10911_02Open from 1 to 4 p.m.

Your Host is  Jim Stroupe

206.354.1030 ~ james@stroupe.com

Large top floor unit with bright south facing double-sized private deck. This one bedroom unit has a large den – easily used as a second bedroom or entertainment area. Unit comes with storage next to unit, and a great parking space — no car neighbor!   View romantic sunsets over Elliott Bay from the deck of this special place!

The marvelous Klee Lofts also features an on-site manager, media center, fitness center, and a club room with an adjoining deck.  Located in vibrant Belltown, only steps from shopping, restaurants, Pike Place Market, the Waterfront, and Olympic Sculpture Park.  Come see us on Sunday!

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SLU Urban Design Framework Complete – Come Celebrate!

February 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Land Use, Lifestyle

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The South Lake Union Urban Design Framework (UDF) is completed and you’re invited to join the party!  Sponsored by the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development, it’ll be held on Tuesday evening, February 8th from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Cascade People’s Center, located at 309 Pontius Ave N (cross is Thomas Street and two blocks west of Eastlake Ave E) in South Lake Union.

slu roadThe UDF is a collaboration among South Lake Union’s neighbors, City staff and design professionals.  Their goal is to establish a shared design vision and implementation strategy for the future of the SLU neighborhood.  Recommendations range from specific actions, such as creating a new community center at Denny Park; to broader strategies using building form and land use controls to create and maintain an active and inviting lakefront.

Key elements of the UDF include recommendations to create community gateways signifying entrance into distinct neighborhoods; developing neighborhood ‘hearts’ to serve as focal points of the neighborhood for people to gather and interact; and, to develop a network of great streets including green streets and festival streets.

rsz_park_cover_(640x480)Finally, the UDF will complement the City’s soon-to-be released Draft Environmental Impact Statement studying potential increases in height and density in the neighborhood.  Together, these documents will guide zoning code changes, design guidelines, infrastructure investments, streetscape planning, and a variety of other programs and policies shaping the public realm of South Lake Union.

The UDF is available online.  You’ll find it on the DPD website by clicking onto this link. It’s a 40 page .pdf file so it may take awhile to download.  And don’t forget to join the UDF Completion Celebration on Tuesday, February 8th at Cascade People’s Center from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.!