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Guess who sold ENSO’s last unit?

October 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Enso, Featured

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The Stroupe Group is very pleased to announce that ENSO is now 100% sold, and we were the ones who just sold the last unit.  In addition, we sold twice as many ENSO homes as other outside agent, including this lovely two-story unit you see here!  

Thank you very much to all our ENSO buyers!  We also want to mention the high level of professional service we received from ENSO’s sales associates, Emily, Javila and Angela.  Our deepest thanks to all of you!

enso lake shotBuilt in 2009, ENSO was developed by Vulcan Real Estate and is comprised of a 19-story residential tower and adjoining 16 floor commercial building.  Callison Architiects and Interior Designers  created a truly spectacular environment by marrying high-end touches with green living.  The ENSO is LEED Gold Certified.

The ENSO is located on the edge of the Denny Triangle at 820 Blanchard Street, well-positioned between the South Lake Union and Downtown neighborhoods.  With the meteoric rise of businesses, retail and restaurants in the South Lake Union area, plus the conveniences of Downtown nearby, ENSO is situated among the best of all worlds.  It is also steps away from the South Lake Union Streetcar line, and a short walk from Lake Union Park.  

There are plenty of wonderful condominium homes on the Seattle market, and we’re in the know about all of them.  Let us work on a home for you!  Call us at 206.910.5000, or drop a line to urgent@stroupe.com

Olive 8: Living the Turnkey Life

June 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Olive 8

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If you’re in the market to buy a second home, Olive 8 has something special for you! A quarter of Olive 8′s recent sales have been to second homebuyers seeking an urban resort lifestyle, complete with access to hotel amenities and services. As a result, Olive 8 developer RC Hedreen Company has announced a marketing partnership with Alchemy Collections to offer turnkey furniture packages, with full price offers on remaining open one bedroom floor plans. 

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Olive 8 is unique in the Seattle condominium marketplace in that the 229‐unit condominium is built above the Hyatt at Olive 8 hotel. Amenities include concierge and room services, a 65‐foot saline lap pool, complete fitness center, restaurant, bar and lounge. Its residents‐only great room on the 18th floor has a billiards room, media room, catering kitchen, outdoor terrace with BBQ’s, and even a dog run.

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Olive 8’s location is an amenity in itself. With a Walk Score® of 98 and a Transit Score™ at a perfect 100, Olive 8 is within walking distance to downtown Seattle shopping centers, major department stores, theatres and parks. The South Lake Union Streetcar is a couple of blocks away, and there is easy access to I-5. Life at Olive 8 is also environmentally friendly. It was the first hotel/condominium development in Seattle to receive LEED Certification (Silver).

All in all, Olive 8′s Turnkey Package is yet another sign that the Seattle condominium market is not only stabilizing, but that buyers are beginning to view real estate as a lifestyle choice, and not just a commodity.

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Olive 8’s Sky Suite Collection starts at $370,000 for a 650‐sq. ft. home offering high-end appliance and finishes, plus awe-inspiring views of the downtown Seattle skyline and Elliott Bay. With a 20% down payment, furnished homes are available for just $1,961 per month including principal, interest, HOA dues, gym membership and real estate taxes (assuming a 5/1 ARM at just 3.0% interest or 3.267% APR). For more information or to schedule a private tour, please call us at (206) 910-5000 or send an email to urgent@stroupe.com

Olive 8: A Sales Spring, and a Spring Event!

May 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Olive 8

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Signs that the selling marketplace is rebounding continue at Olive 8, where 25 new condominium sales have been accepted since January 1!

Sharper prices, record low interest rates and improving consumer confidence helped garner robust sales momentum in downtown Seattle. A new report released last week by Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty tracked the supply and demand of new downtown condos.  It indicated that 40% of unsold developer-owned inventory was sold during the past year, resulting in only 342 new condominiums available within the center city!   The news is the same for the condo resale marketplace– new listings and available supply are at their lowest levels in over two years.

olive-8-condo-200x300With literally no new Seattle condo projects on the horizon, what’s currently have on the market will have to satisfy buyer demand for some time to come.  How significant is this?  New construction condo prices have corrected back to “pre-boom” levels but new construction delivery levels are now “pre-millennium”! 

Watch for supply and demand price hikes to hit the condo marketplace, just as it’s now happening with the apartment sector. Prices are stabilizing and there’s even been competition for more-preferred inventory. As the market continues to improve, asking prices and selling prices will continue to narrow, with fewer concessions being made. 

However, you still have a great window of opportunity at Olive 8. Called The Spring Event, Olive 8 has one-bedroom residences, starting on the 28th floor, for just $395,000. Two-bedroom residences start at just $825,000. Need more?  Try this– The Spring Event’s incentive program provides for no closing costs and special financing starting at just 1.25% (2.821% APR) for qualified purchases. Also, the seller will pick up HOA dues and health club membership fees for the first year.

The Spring Event is set to expire on Tuesday, May 31, 2011, but you still have time to get in on a great opportunity to live in one of the finest condominium communities in Seattle.  Give us a call at (206) 910-5000 or drop us a line at urgent@stroupe.com for more information or to schedule a private tour.  See you soon!

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Luxury Condo Sales Up 177%!

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1521 logoIn a further sign of a market turnaround, Northwest Multiple Listing Service has released data showing that 23 luxury condominiums, priced at over $1 million, have closed during the first three months of 2011!  This compares with only 13 sales in for the same period in 2010.  Better yet, another 13 multimillion-dollar homes are currently pending. This will provide a strong lead-in for second quarter, and it’s a powerful indication that a luxury home sales trend is firmly in place– and accelerating.

escalaWhy now?  More market liquidity because contingent homebuyers are successfully selling their homes, enabling them to now buy a condo. Mortgage financing has loosened up over the past year for qualified buyers.  The economic outlook is improving, and so is buyer confidence.  Seattle enjoyed a number of huge commercial real estate transactions in 1Q11, and job opportunities are resurging.  

olive-8-condo_thumbieThose are all good reasons, of course, but more telling was the shift in momentum when November 2010′s Washington State Ballot Measure I-1098, which would have imposed a state income tax, took a pounding at the polls. We heard from a number of buyers, primarily from outside Washington, whose decision to purchase a multimillion-dollar home was contingent on the outcome of that vote. Not having a state income tax is an influence which may have been flying under the radar for some time, but it is now proving to be a real dealmaker in deciding to buy a Washington State property. Out-of-state buyers are snapping up homes for business, pleasure, or both. Baby-boomers are booming here too.  Retirees are either looking to downsize to condominiums, or to spend time in multiple homes in different states. All in all, prospective buyers are getting more savvy about investing in Washington State– no income taxes, sharpened prices and a lock-and-leave lifestyle.

bellevue towers logoAnd the good news keeps coming. The Washington State Department of Licensing reported a 25% increase in drivers license registrations as of February 2011, compared with 2010 (based on a rolling 12-month period). One-third of 11,237 new state residents relocated to King County.  And, thanks to the 2010 U.S. Census, Washington State grew enough over the last decade to snag another congressional seat, plus another vote in the Electoral College.

rsz_harvard_logoNo high-rise condominium project has broken ground in Seattle since 2007.  That’s when the housing market peaked, and a global credit crunch either deferred or canceled dozens of projects. It’s safe to say that Seattle was saved from overbuilding! 

rsz_200_w_highland_logoWe now find that the majority of the most premier, view-oriented units have been quietly absorbed. Inventories at the most preferred properties are finite and prices are firming up. There’s a flight to quality, and sales occur where the value is present.  Some examples:

•  Fifteen Twenty-One Second Avenue, a tower averaging nearly $2 million per unit, is 77% sold with seven new sales pending during the past 45 days alone.

•  Olive 8 has sold 18 homes since the New Year, with only a few of the coveted northwest corner units remaining.

 • Escala has effectively sold out of its larger west-facing plans.

•  Fifty homes have either closed or sold at Bellevue Towers since the beginning of this year.

 • Harvard & Highland, which opened in November 2009, have closed 22 of their 38 homes, with five pending.

•  200 West Highland, which went on the market in November 2010, is down to only two homes out of an original number of 17. 

Currently, 65 condominiums priced at over $1 million are on the market  in King County.  There are all kinds of wonderful places for sale, and we’re in the know about which ones can best fit your lifestyle.  Send an email to urgent@stroupe.com, and let us work on the perfect home for YOU!

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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.

Olive 8: The New Pricing!

January 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Olive 8

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Here’s what all the buzz is all about!  Below are samples of the new “reset pricing” of Olive 8.  AND, these prices also represent reductions from the original presale pricing and range between 30-40%. 

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Additional floorplans from the 28th floor and up are also available. Interested in more information about all Olive 8 has to offer, or to schedule a private tour? Contact us at this Stroupe Group link.

Olive 8 – Your chance to own a piece of “The Sky”

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Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty became Olive 8’s new listing agent on January 1st, and it is open for business!  Dubbed “The Sky Collection”, up for sale at Olive 8 are homes located from the 27th floor and up. Tap on this Olive 8 link to check out a five-minute video with author and syndicated columnist Tom Kelly.  He examines the new condominium development market in Seattle, specifically focusing on this exciting property.  

The video also refers to the amount of new condominium homes available in the Seattle area, and below is a copy of the graph as referenced by Dean Jones, Principal and Owner of Realogics Sotheby’s. 

Courtesy of Realogics Sotheby's International Realty

Courtesy of Realogics Sotheby's International Realty

Note the amount of available condominiums in orange, in comparison to the number of condominiums that were converted to apartments (apartment conversions) in green. As a result, Olive 8 represents 25% of the available new condo market.*

Olive 8 is a 39-story luxury hotel/condominium building on the corner of Olive Street and 8th Avenue in downtown Seattle. Atop 17 floors occupied by the Hyatt at Olive 8 hotel, it includes one-bedroom and two-bedroom luxury view homes, plus three world-class penthouses. Your new home at Olive 8 will boast panoramic views and high-end touches, combined with world-class hotel amenities and services. Better still are special privileges for homeowners including private elevators and controlled access, a 24-hour concierge, a private residential club lounge and discounted rates at Elaia Spa.

olive-8-condo-200x300Fans of green living are in for a delightful surprise with Olive 8, the first hotel/ condominium building in Seattle to receive an LEED Certification (Silver)!   Its green roof, one of the largest in Seattle, provides an urban habitat for birds, bees and butterflies while reducing storm water runoff to city sewers. Olive 8′s dedication to the environment also results in 36% less water usage (approx savings of 2.4 million gallons annually) and 23% less power usage.  

Olive 8′s environmental stewardship also reaches far beyond its walls. It was the first Seattle building to participate in King County’s Transfer of Development Rights program. In exchange for building higher, developer R.C. Hedreen Company contributed nearly $1 million to preserve 284 acres on Sugarloaf Mountain in rural King County, as well as vital salmon habitat.

We’re busy retooling our own websites for the new Olive 8 opportunities.  In the meantime, you can stay in touch on the latest Olive 8 news, or schedule a private tour with us by contacting this Stroupe Group link.   

*Units are identified as being sold as a non-refundable earnest money deposit (pending) or closed.  Please note that title reports are often late with real time information and often show fewer homes sold than actual. 

Olive 8’s New Listing Agent? Realogics Sotheby’s!

olive 8 seattleRealogics Sotheby’s International Realty is ending 2010 on a very high note, and it could result in an amazing buy for you in 2011.

An exclusive listing agreement was signed last week with developer RC Hedreen Company to sell all of Olive 8‘s remaining inventory, now starting from the 27th floor and up.  Olive 8 is a 39-story, 229 unit mixed-use condominium and hotel ( Hyatt at Olive 8 ) high-rise located at 8th Avenue and Olive Way in downtown Seattle.

In order to maintain 50% project sales as required by Fannie Mae lending guidelines, 32 units at Olive 8 were recently sold at auction to replace mostly investor presales that were unable to close in today’s credit environment. The auction helped establish a base for current market values, enabling RC Hedreen to restructure its construction debt with US Bank, providing a long term runway to sell into an improving marketplace.

“We’ve eliminated many of the pressures that we faced, so it’s now time to realign values for today’s market,” said Dick Hedreen, RC Hedreen’s chairman. “2011 represents a new beginning for Olive 8 and Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty is uniquely positioned to lead us through a successful sellout.”

Dean Jones, Principal of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, added that there is a finite supply of new construction condominiums in downtown Seattle. No new developments have broken ground since the credit crunch in 2007 and since that time, several condo projects reverted to apartments and sold to REIT’s, reducing inventory.

According to Jones, fewer than 450 new condominiums remaining unsold in the city center and most pundits agree it could be many years before any new condominiums are developed. RC Hedreen and Realogics Sotheby’s are researching home values by retaining appraisers and meeting with real estate brokers and potential homebuyers to reassess the marketplace. Olive 8 is expected to be reintroduced to the public in 2011 with new lower pricing.

rsz_1olive-8-condo_logo for text“I’m confident that our business philosophy will make perfect sense to those homebuyers that have been waiting on the sidelines for an opportunity,” says Hedreen. “And considering that our available inventory now starts on the 27th floor, we saved the best for last.”

We are in the process of retooling our own websites for the new Olive 8 opportunities. If you would like to stay in touch on news or private tours when Olive 8’s new releases come on market, please contact us at this Stroupe Group link.   

Mercer Street and I-5: Closures, Noise and More!

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Over 80,000 vehicles use Mercer Street daily. In planning its massive renovation plan, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and its partners determined that nighttime and weekend work was necessary to keep the project on time while minimizing public impact.  SDOT recently filed a Major Public Project Construction Variance (MPPCV) allowing them to work during those hours as well.  Currently being planned:

 Mercer Street lane closures on weekdays:

  • No lane closures allowed from 6 – 9 am, and from 3 – 6 pm
  • Single lane closures may be allowed from 5 – 6 am, 9 am – 3 pm, and  6- 7 pm
  • Weekday multiple lane closures may be allowed from 7 pm to 5 am

 Mercer Street lane closures on weekdays/holidays:

  • No lane closures allowed from 2 – 6 pm.
  • Single lane closures may be allowed from 6 pm – 2 pm the following day
  • Multiple lane closures will be allowed from 7 pm – 1 am

 Interstate 5 ramp entrance and exit ramp to and from Mercer St closures as follows:

  • Sunday to Thursday from 11 pm – 5 am
  • From Friday at 11 pm to Monday at 5 am

 Timing will be adjusted due to special events like Bumbershoot, the Seafair Torchlight Parade, and victory celebrations for the Seattle Storm. 

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Nighttime noise- limiting measures:

  • All trucks performing export haul shall have rubber bed liners.
  • All backup warning devices shall be either broadband or a live backup observer.
  • Hospital grade mufflers and silencers on all diesel powered equipment.
  • Lighting and equipment such as generators, air compressors, etc. shall be directed away from oncoming traffic and buildings, and have mitigation shields if necessary.
  • Radios will be used for all long-range communication.
  • Any material or debris on the pavement shall be removed by hand or by sweeping. No scraping type of equipment or activity will be used to clean pavement surfaces.
  • Moveable local noise barriers 10 – 12 feet in height, plus noise curtains will be put in place.

SDOT outreach staff will ensure the public is kept aware of any changes affecting nighttime noise levels, and that all inquiries and complaints are responded to.  A Construction Hotline has been set up and will run 24/7 as a single point of contact, and that number is 206-419-5818. This SDOT link on the Mercer project carries a lot of information including timelines, maps and construction details.

McGraw Square Renovation Underway

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The McGraw Square renovations officially began on September 24. One of the smallest parks in Seattle, it is located near the Westin Hotel at the intersection of Fifth Avenue, Stewart Street and Westlake Avenue. This project permanently closes Westlake Ave between Olive Way and Stewart St to create a transit, bicycle, and pedestrian-friendly plaza at the current terminus of the Seattle Streetcar South Lake Union line.

The goals of the new, centrally-located plaza are to make walking and biking through north downtown safer and more comfortable, while improving the transfer abilities of the Seattle Streetcar, Monorail, light rail tunnel, and major bus routes. The project 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.

Just follow the numbers. The McGraw Square Transit Mall renovations include:

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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 street trees to replace (two-for-one) those being removed near McGraw statue; new large specimen trees to anchor Westlake Ave terminus

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

SDOT is also considering converting 6th Ave between Virginia St and Westlake Ave to a two-way operation (and to relocate the charter bus zone), with the Westlake Ave to Stewart St approach reduced to a single southbound lane. The Seattle Streetcar and buses running along 5th Ave remain in full service during construction.

McGraw Square is named after John Harte McGraw. This grocer from Maine was a Seattle police chief, harbor master, fire warden, King County sheriff, and Washington State governor from 1893-97. The designer of McGraw Square and its completion date are unknown, but it was influenced by the famous park plan that John Charles Olmsted of the Olmsted Brothers firm in Brookline, Massachusetts drew up for Seattle in 1903. Their vision of the Seattle park system was to celebrate, showcase and protect Pacific Northwest landscapes while providing residents and tourists with park access and recreation.  

The McGraw project is also part of the City’s larger Center City Strategy to make Westlake one of three transportation “hubs” serving downtown (with King Street Station and Colman Dock). Construction of the plaza project is expected to be completed by Thanksgiving 2010.

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