AVA’s Marketing Manager sent an uplifting email today even though the much anticipated project had failed to give many interested buyers details on when and how they can make a reservation earlier this year. However, the economy of course has made it difficult for any new development to make any promises, and we’re excited to hear that AVA still plans on following through.
Here’s what they had to say:
In our previous communications, we outlined our planned timeline for moving forward with construction and opening of our presentation center. We stated that we would be submitting for building permits, which we have done. Additionally, the presentation center is ready to open, the interactive website is ready for project launch and we have a full time presence for any inquiries and questions that may arise. We are in a position to launch the project as soon as market conditions improve.
The next few months will lend quite a bit of insight about where the economy is headed and how quickly the credit crisis will clean up. We are confident AVA will bring an unparalleled presence to the retail district of Downtown Seattle and we will strategically begin development when the local residential real estate market conditions improve and the national financial crisis subsides.
While there has been much “doom and gloom” in the headlines as of late, we have done consistent market research and know that AVA will be a tremendous success when launched. Our goal is to provide you with a downtown residence in a well-planned development, as well as a home that is a sound investment.
We strive to be honest with you in our communications about our plans moving forward. We are ready to launch when the time is right to guarantee success for all parties. All markets go through cycles and as soon as we see an indication that conditions are favorable, we will open our doors for you to see the contemporary elegance that is AVA.
There’s only one window that really lets you get a peek inside of AVA’s sales center, and all there is to see is a scale model of the building. So, there’s not much to see, but here’s what I got:
It’s been rumored, and the Puget Sound Business Journal confirmed it. Although we’ve had several reservations made with some of our own clients, the developer doesn’t plan to break ground until the local market improves.
This is another project that has been delayed because of construction costs and lack of financing. AVA was the last project many have wanted to see postponed.
“The challenge is pre-selling too early and potentially selling a project short, only to then digest rising construction costs, ” said Jones (Dean–President and chief executive of Realogics). “Developers just can’t digest that risk and construction lenders won’t allow it either.”
Our biggest fear for the local market is when the market finally begins to turn, it does so by skyrocketing prices higher than they are now. Great for current owners, a potential tragedy for future buyers.
The new generation of buyers are demanding green built features when shopping for their first home, even though it can cost them up to 25% more. Builders are now being forced to make the additional up front investment in construction costs (averaging 2%), but Wikipedia states that they will eventually yield over 10 times that amount over the life cycle of the building. Additionally, developers receive additional incentives from state/local government that help boost press and public interest. Studies also show that LEED-certified buildings average $11.24 more per square foot, and have a 3.8% higher occupancy than non-LEED built homes.
So what is LEED-Certified?
Developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council of Washington D.C. (a nonprofit coalition of building industry leaders), The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)™ uses a rating system which offers 4 levels of certification — Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each certification is designed to represent an “environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy place to live” by measuring building sustainability.
Each level is measured by points in five design categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. The higher the level, the higher the expenditure. However, LEED-certified buildings:
- Lower operating costs and increased asset value.
- Reduce waste sent to landfills.
- Conserve energy and water.
- Healthier and safer for occupants.
- Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
- Qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in hundreds of cities.
- Demonstrate an owner’s commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
Here’s a look at what downtown area projects have been, or are striving to be LEED-certified:
It is surprising that many of the new construction projects haven’t applied for any level of LEED-certification considering that it’s proven to increase sale prices and occupancy. At the same time, an up front investment of 2% for a builder can be quite a bit.
While reports on the Internet support that buyers will pay more for a LEED-certified home, and builders will yield higher profits, I’ve had experience where buyers are actually turned off by the idea of having recycled materials integrated into their home’s interior. Buyer’s also seem to prefer to get more square feet for their dollar rather than a smaller green built home. What would you do if you could get a new construction 2 bedroom condo for the same price as LEED-certified 1 bedroom?
Grocery shopping has been a challenge for many downtown area residents, but owners of the historic Kress Building signed a 35-year lease with The Myers Group who will be operating the 18,000 square foot supermarket. Currently there’s really only 2 places to buy groceries downtown; Ralphs on 3rd and Lenora and the new Whole Foods at 2200 Westlake in the Denny Triangle.
Now those who will be living at the Newmark, 98 Union, Fifteen Twenty-One, AVA, Olive 8, and the Four Seasons will be able to conveniently do their shopping just a block or two away from home.
Newspaper articles announcing the much needed addition confirmed that the new store will not offer parking, but plans to offer delivery.
The Residences at AVA, Downtown Seattle’s most anticipated high-rise community, is please to share with you some exciting news.
MASTER USE/DEVELOPMENT PERMIT APPROVED
We’re very excited to announce that The Executive Group and Fana Development Group have received the Master Use Development Permit (MUP) with the unanimous support of the Seattle Design Review Board. We anticipate filing construction documentation soon in order to have the city’s authorization to commence with construction this fall.
BEST NEW DESIGN
We are also proud to announce that AVA has been voted “Seattle’s Best Looking New Project” by viewers of the Seattle Condo Review. AVA is quickly becoming downtown Seattle’s most exclusive collection of contemporary high-rise residences atop an elegant luxury hotel. The new scale building model was recently debuted at the “State of Downtown” event hosted by the Downtown Seattle Association.
SALES CENTER COMPLETION
Construction of our sales center is nearing completion at the corner of Olive Way and 8th Avenue. You will soon be able to preview a large scale model of the tower, interior model vignettes of the kitchen and bathroom, final floor plans, views, finishes and other exhibits to help you visualize life at AVA.
PRIVATE PREVIEW APPOINTMENTS
Beginning next month, the sales center will be open to prospective homebuyers by appointment only. Please feel free to contact me to schedule a private tour. At the conclusion of your tour, should you wish to reserve a home at AVA, we would be more than happy to assist you. Now that the MUP has been approved, Executive Development Group will finalize the construction documents for AVA and will work with their contractor to complete the pricing of the construction. In order to provide you with the best purchase price, this process may take several months to complete but rest assured your reservation will be honored. Of course, we will be keeping you posted with periodical updates.
Our team had the honor of meeting with AVA’s developer Salim Sayani with Executive Group of Companies and sales manager Peter Oh from Windermere On-Site at Ruth Chris (across the street from the AVA site). I have been watching this building for over a year now and believe it will be a wonderful project and an exciting addition to Seattle’s skyline. The sales center will be located on the corner of 8th and Olive and will house a scale model unit (with the exception of a bedroom) with much more use of space than the previous Cosmopolitan sales center. The sales center is scheduled to open to the public sometime in September.
- We have been given an opportunity to introduce our V.I.P. clients to view the sales center for a private viewing and 1st opportunity to make a reservation before opening to the public. Look for more information on this opportunity in the next few days.
Some insider information Salim delivered was his opinion on some of AVA’s key selling points.
- location, Location, LOCATION – AVA is located just a block away from everything. The ease for travelers coming from the airport from the new light rail transit center will be unparallel and insures AVA’s boutique hotel success. The community is also located in Seattle’s booming retail core and entertainment section of downtown near 8th and Pine.
- Well-thought out HOA – Salim also has a well thought out HOA which will maintain owner’s sky lounge and hotel amenities for an approximate $0.58 per square foot. He also emphasized that hotel amenities are paid for ‘a la cart’ as opposed to being burdened on the homeowner if they decide to not use the services. The owners will only pay for what they use.
- Experience in delivering a project of this type – Executive has delivered other projects in Canada including the 19-story Encore in Coquitlam, the 15-story Executive Tower and Plaza Hotel in Richmond, the 12-story Executive Plaza Hotel in Coquitlam and the 18-story Portofino Tower in Vancouver.
- Well thought out lifestyle experience. – Comparable to 2200 Westlake w/o the expensive dues, the lifestyle experience at AVA will be in the center of the city. The property itself will feature an outdoor rooftop pool that looks down Pine Street on the 5th floor. The top floor will have a sky lounge for homeowners which includes a wet bar, game room and business center. Another rumor is that the 5,000 square feet of retail space will be taken by the renowned Palm steakhouse.
- Zen theme – Some other physical characteristics that got our attention was the contemporary design by Garrett Cord Werner which will have zen-like features including spa shower heads, fireplaces and natural stone/wood finishes.
Make a Reservation:
We have much more information on this wonderful project and will post more information soon. If you have an questions about making a reservation, please ask.
R.C. Hedreen Co. has filed preliminary plans for a 51-story hotel on a lot they purchased for $4.5 million in 1995. The new location would replace the current Greyhound bus station at 811 Stewart in 2013. David Thyer (president of R.C. Hedreen) said the hotel will include 1,200 rooms, 100,000 square feet of meeting space and 2 ballrooms. Designers Spencer Decker Architects will be striving to meet Platinum LEED standards.
AVA is showing that market interest is still strong considering 16 new reservations from the Vancouver Condo Expo just yesterday. Reservations require a $10,000 deposit to secure a purchase once a price is determined. A purchaser is given a price range when originally signing a reservation. When the developer’s costs are known and prices are determined, that is when the buyer has the right to convert their reservation into a purchase and sale agreement.
Reservations give developers a good idea on level of interest and a 60% conversion ratio is considered good.
As of November 7th, AVA already has somewhere between 40 and 50 reservations. Yesterday’s success can be attributed to the strong Canadian dollar, pedestrian friendly location and it’s progressive architecture. While AVA is still in it’s design stages, units are planned to boast hardwood flooring throughout, air conditioning and LEED Silver certified energy efficient construction.