Thanks to successful restructuring with a prominent Seattle investor group led by Jolene and Bruce McCaw, The Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Seattle is back on firm, long-term financial footing.
“The cloud over this project has lifted. Working closely together, our partners have created a great global solution to Four Seasons Seattle’s financial challenges,” Bruce McCaw said. “This landmark development is solidly back on track, giving our guests, residents, prospective residents, the local real estate market and Seattle community confidence that Four Seasons Seattle is positioned as the preeminent luxury address in downtown Seattle.”
Built during the height of downtown’s recent construction boom, the $180+ million project opened in the fall of 2008, just as Seattle’s real estate market started to visibly crumble. The project went into default a year later in December 2009, unable to meet the terms of its previous loans. The project faced possible foreclosure or bankruptcy, an untenable prospect to the investors, which include a number of prominent Seattle families and residents at Four Seasons Private Residences Seattle.
“To protect and preserve this true Seattle icon, our investor group remained firmly supportive throughout this lengthy process, and we all worked very hard to reach a great solution for the Four Seasons Seattle investors, homeowners, contractors and lender,” McCaw said.
Under the restructuring announced on April 26th, affiliates of the Seattle Hotel Group LLC, owner of Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Seattle, invested additional funds and negotiated new terms with its construction lender, Washington Real Estate Holdings, LLC, which has agreed to extend the senior debt on terms and rate more closely resembling conventional first mortgage debt.
Craig Wrench, president and CEO of Washington Real Estate Holdings, said, “As a local company, we wanted to ensure the long-term success of this great property, and we’re proud to be a partner in the solution. This puts an end to the uncertainty that’s been swirling around this project.”
Washington Real Estate Holdings, headquartered in Seattle, invests in real estate assets throughout the western United States.
The investor team also settled a lawsuit brought by building contractor Lease Crutcher Lewis and liens against the property by Lease Crutcher Lewis and its subcontractors. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Bill Lewis, president and CEO of Lease Crutcher Lewis and an original and continuing investor in Four Seasons Seattle, said, “Everyone gave up something, which was challenging, but ultimately this is a reasonable outcome for all parties. This is a great project that opened at a challenging time in the market. This restructuring solution is good for the project and good for Seattle’s real estate market.”
McCaw added, “I would like to thank both Washington Holdings and Lease Crutcher Lewis for their constructive efforts to resolve these complex issues. There were so many moving parts to this deal; this is a remarkable outcome.”
Other details of the restructuring:
- The McCaws will lead a new ownership management board that will control the development. Original managers John Oppenheimer, Tom Alberg and Paul Schell support this management transition plan and remain investors. In addition, Alberg will participate in the new management board.
- Substantial financial reserves are in place to meet loan payments, homeowner association dues, capital improvements, etc.
- The McCaws’ team, led by David Brady, worked with restructuring specialists Ragan Powers at Davis Wright Tremaine and Michael Newsome of Zachary Scott.
Widely embraced by international business and leisure travelers and the Seattle community, the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle has been exceeding expectations. Management of the hotel, under seasoned general manager Ben Trodd, remains unchanged in the financial restructuring.
“Four Seasons Hotel Seattle is performing exceptionally well, and we are delighted that we have been welcomed back to Seattle in such a warm and positive way by the local community. We will continue to provide our guests with the uncompromising commitment to faultless service and attention to detail for which Four Seasons is proudly known,” Trodd said.
The 147 guest rooms and 36 private residences at Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Seattle are ideally situated in the cultural and business heart of downtown, just steps from Pike Place Market, Seattle Art Museum and the city’s best shopping, dining and entertainment venues.
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle offers the consummate Seattle experience. The modern waterfront hotel has a full spectrum of amenities that incorporate the best elements of the Pacific Northwest, such as sweeping views of Elliott Bay, poolside lounge, spa treatments that feature indigenous ingredients and a signature restaurant, ART, which just announced an exciting new menu that continues to highlight fresh, local ingredients.
Residents of Four Seasons Private Residences Seattle have access to 24-hour dedicated residential concierge service, valet parking, 24-hour room service and the hotel’s full spectrum of amenities and services. The private residences range from 1,300 square feet to more than 7,500 square feet and from about $1.5 million to more than $10 million. To date, 25 of the 36 private residences have been sold, closed and occupied.
Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty is selling the remaining residences. For more information or to schedule a private appointment, please call us at 206-910-5000, or send an email to email@example.com
Montreux ~ 425 Vine Street ~ Unit # 608
Sunday, April 17th, 2011 ~ Open from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m.
Your Host is Julie Roh
206.354.1030 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
A bright one bedroom, one bath corner unit with a lovely outlook. This was THE original model home for the building, and comes complete with two deeded parking spaces! Well-designed kitchen with bistro bar, private deck, in-unit washer and dryer, plus storage.
This unique European-flavored building is on the more intimate side of condominium living. Only seven stories high, the Montreux focuses on quality, not quantity. Their list of amenities holds up against any high-rise building. You get a secured entry, on-site manager, gym, business center and a club room. Use the gas BBQ on the rooftop deck while taking in amazingly airy cosmopolitan views.
The Montreux has a Walk Score of 97 out of 100, and is perfectly located near Seattle Center and the Space Needle, restaurants, public transit and the best of Belltown. McGraw Square Park and Westlake Center are minutes away as well. Need a little savoir-flair in your life? Come see us on Sunday! If you can’t make it, don’t worry. Just drop us a line at email@example.com to set up a private showing.
Seattle architect Tom Kundig, FAIA, of Olson Kundig Architects and lead designer of Eleven Eleven East Pike (a debut condo project for the firm), is a winner in the Multifamily Living category of the American Institute of Architects’ 2011 National AIA Housing Awards, one of 18 honored nationwide.
Eleven Eleven East Pike is located in the Pike/Pine corridor also known as “Auto Row”. The first car dealership opened there in 1905 and for a good number of years, this used to be the only area in Seattle where you could buy a car. A century later and Auto Row is now home to a number of art venues, restaurants and retail stores. Trader Joe’s, Capitol Hill Arts Center, and Seattle University are all nearby.
Kundig drew from the area’s history and gave Eleven Eleven East Pike tall, wide windows, high ceilings and an extensive use of steel. The exterior siding panels are selected, by each unit owner, from a selection of classic 1950’s car colors. It’s designed to give current and future buyers a mix-a-match aesthetic.
Kundig took that concept a step further. Famous for combining architecture with invention in his designs, or “working art”. Eleven Eleven East Pike’s units contain an exclusive “Puzzle Door” system. With a track running along the ceiling and wheels along the bottom, you can move the door around and place it as a wall wherever you want one, giving you the freedom to customize the shape of your interior spaces.
Kundig also introduced his original “Urban RV” in this project. Another piece you can move around, you can transform the Urban RV into a coffee table, a kitchen island, or even a desk. The kitchen has stainless steel appliances, and a rooftop garden offers a peaceful place to enjoy the famous Seattle views.
The AIA Housing Awards was established to recognize the best in housing design, and ”to promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit, and a valuable national resource.” Its jury was impressed by the exterior space flexibility, “which gives the project richness and a joyful appearance.” Both high and low-density projects for public and private clients were considered which, along with architectural design features, also included how well the projects fit into the neighborhood, open and recreational space, transportation and quality of life.
Eleven Eleven East Pike meets LEED requirements for Development Density, Site Selection, Alternative Transportation and Storm-water Management. There are five homes remaining, with sizes ranging between 623 to 754 square feet, and prices run between $229,950 and $314,950. An extra $15,000 buys you a parking space.
For more information or to schedule a private showing, you can either call us at 206.910.5000, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
In 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.
Why 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.
Those 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.
And 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.
No 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!
We 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 email@example.com, and let us work on the perfect home for YOU!
Klee Lofts ~ 2717 Western Avenue ~ Unit # 634
Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 ~ Open from 12 noon to 2 p.m.
Your Host is James Stroupe
206.910.5000 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
And now we’re into April. It’s a time of new beginnings… and time for you to look at this beautiful large, top floor one bedroom, one bath home! Its spacious kitchen is great for creating everthing from intimate dinners to holiday galas. It also has a large den which can easily be turned into a home office, study, or an entertainment area. The den can even be converted into a second bedroom! Or, if you prefer, book the Klee’s Guest Suite for visitors instead. Want more? Here you go: it also comes with adjoining storage, plus a great parking space — no car neighbor! The deck is double-sized and private, with a southwest view of the Waterfront and Elliott Bay.
The Klee’s main common rooms contain numerous original works of art by Northwest artists, the most prominent being a series of glass waterfalls by Nancy Mee in the entry lobby. In the center of the Klee community is a courtyard, where you can cook steaks on the grill or simply relax among the garden setting. Other amenities include an on-site manager, media room, fitness center, a 24-hour computer room with internet, fax and printer, plus a club room with adjoining deck.
AND, you can leave your car in that spiffy parking space of yours, then stroll to restaurants or shopping on Western Avenue, the Waterfront or First Avenue. Pick up fresh produce and fish from Pike Place Market, steps away. Seattle Art Museum’s Sculpture Park is one block north. No car? Rejoice, all you pedestrians… the Klee scores a perfect 100 on walkscore.com!
Simply put, some of the best that Belltown has to offer is right outside your front door. Come visit us at the marvelous Klee Lofts and Suites on Sunday. If you’re unable to attend but would like to schedule a private showing, just drop us a line at email@example.com.
Suppose you gave an auction and nobody came? That was about the size of it when, after no bidders came forward to buy the troubled Volta property on March 18th, East West Bank went ahead and foreclosed.
The saga of 2233 First Avenue began with development of a project called Alex in the fall of 2007, owned by an LLC headed by Saltaire Construction. Located at the prime Belltown location of First Avenue and Bell, this boutique project was mapped out for eight stories plus a penthouse level. There would be 20 floorplans to choose from, units from 600 – 1,200 sq ft, upscale features, a rooftop lap pool, priced between $500,000 and $2 million. A loan was made through Washington First International Bank for $12 million. Alex was scheduled to open in the fall of 2008– when, in its first streak of bad luck, the economic roof caved in.
Fast forward to March 2010. Construction nearly finished, it was decided to give the Alex a second chance at life by repackaging it under the name of Volta. Why Volta? We checked wikipedia.org to see if there was a meaning beyond the name of a river in Ghana. Sure enough, listed was an Italian physicist named Alessandro Volta, whose claim to fame is inventing the electric battery. “Alessandro” paid homage to the original building name, and its location on Bell Street was one block away from… Battery Street. There you go. It was also repriced from $299,950 to $1,095,950 (for a penthouse shell), and amenities changed to a rooftop deck, dog run area and green space.
Things were looking up when three months later, bad luck struck again! The project was blindsided with a bank closure on Washington First International Bank that June. East West Bank, located in Pasadena, California, became the new lender. Finally, on January 20th, 2011, East West announced that at $1.48 million in arrears plus interest and fees (on a second WFIB loan of $1.4 million), the Volta was headed for auction.
That brings us to today… where we discover that the luck at this address may finally be changing. 2233 First Avenue was appraised at nearly $5 million by King County, and its location in the heart of Belltown offers amazing views of Elliott Bay, Mt Rainier and downtown. In reality, this property is pretty hot at the moment– we’ve heard that up to 35 buyers are very interested in it! East West is most likely biding its time a bit longer before settling on a buyer who will allow them to bleed the least on their balance sheet. Not so lucky was WF Capital Inc., which provided a $3.75 million loan in late 2008. There were also a number of construction liens on this still-unfinished project, and some lawsuits are still pending. It may be some time before the property shakes free from the ashes, and rises once and for all. However, we’re betting it will do just that.
We’ll be watching this one carefully, and will keep you posted on any developments.
There are two reasons for this tremendous burst of success. The first one is price reductions. A review was done on every unit and pricing was readjusted accordingly. Low HOA dues and FHA financing are also helping to close deals. The second is that Hjärta is currently the only LEED Silver-certified suburban Seattle condominium development. Constructed of concrete and steel, it also includes high-performance fiberglass windows, a central gas boiler instead of individual water heaters, and energy-efficient elevators. Hjärta owners average a 30% reduction in energy bills. Buyers are finding this competitive with buildings of wood frame construction.
Hjärta’s Ballard location is only 10 minutes north of downtown Seattle. It’s also within walking distance of public transportation, locally-owned shopping, dining, salons, coffee shops, movie theaters, groceries and recreation. Speaking of recreation, the area is pedestrian and bicycle-friendly. Old Ballard Avenue is nearby, as is Market Street, plus you’re a mile away from the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.
There’s some great amenities, too. Hjärta’s rooftop garden provides raised beds for vegetables, flowers and herbs. Add some lush professional landscaping and it provides a peaceful retreat from the day, not to mention spectacular city, water and mountain views. An elegant common area features a pool table, catering kitchen, fireplace and internet access. Comfortable for socializing, it also opens to a private, inviting outdoor deck. It’s the perfect place to host old friends or meet new neighbors.
That’s enough about amenities for your soul… how about some for your body? Aside from the ease of walking and biking, Hjärta also has a private Yoga Room which provides mats, straps, blocks and other accoutrements for resident use. Its Workout Room is perfect for a good cardio or weight workout, with natural daylight and a TV to keep you moving.
Currently, one bedroom homes start at $259,950. A one bedroom corner unit with 917 sq ft is priced at $319,950. They also have two bedroom homes. One recently sold at $379,950, and a corner unit with an outdoor patio is currently priced at $409,950. Penthouses on the 7th and 8th floors are also available.
All in all, Hjärta offers a nice mix of green, high-rise living in a neighborhood setting. If you would like more information or to schedule a private tour, just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The story began on March 4th, 2011, the day before 24 units of Gallery Condominiums were scheduled to go up for auction—with a press release announcing there was now NO auction! An eleventh-hour decision by Gallery Condominium, LLC and auction coordinator Accelerated Marketing Partners radically shifted the March 5th auction at the Grand Hyatt to a non-compete buy on a first come, first serve basis at the Gallery itself.
There’s much to speculate about the sudden format change. Adding to the confusion was the press release itself. It stated that the Sales Event would only be opened to potential buyers who officially registered during the auction campaign. Later, we were told that the public could preview the homes that Saturday morning, then sign up at the Gallery Sales Information Center for the afternoon sale.
A number of price incentives were in place, but tighter credit requirements and expensive conventional financing slowed the purchase process. Buyers needed more time to obtain financing pre-approvals, and were allowed seven days to finalize their purchase. Of the 24 homes offered that day, only eight were sold.
The Sales Event may have been a little too much and way too late– but the Gallery story may still have a happy ending. We checked with management and a week later, sales are running on a positive note. Three more homes have sold since the March 5th event, with three offers pending. There are a total of 29 units open, building occupancy is now at 87%.
And, we still feel that the Gallery is a great property for a first-time buyer, a professional or an empty-nester. Situated at 2911 Second Ave (at Broad St), Gallery captures Space Needle views to the east, and Elliott Bay panoramas to the west. Its crossroads location allows you to easily zip up to Queen Anne, out to Ballard or South Lake Union, or into Downtown Seattle. No car? Their WalkScore is ranked 92 out of a possible 100.
Floorplans offer maximum use of space. Interiors include European-styled kitchens with custom cabinetry, slab granite or microcrystal countertops and premium stainless steel appliances; floor to ceiling windows; hardwood floors; and generous balconies. Amenities include a full-service concierge, two-story lobby, Owners Lounge, plus an exclusive Supper Club and Sky Lounge to accommodate your special events.
The Gallery is back to traditional sales methods, with prices 10%-15% lower from the most previous listings. Open one bedrooms range from $225,000 to $315,000. A two bedroom, two bath is going for $459,000. Homes are available on all sides of the building—three with water views, others with great views of the Cascades and Downtown. There is also special pricing for homes located on the lower levels.
We’ve recently received a study claiming that it’s now more cost-effective to own at The Decatur Condominiums than it is to rent in the popular First Hill neighborhood. This study compares one and two bedroom homes in The Decatur to comparable properties offered at nearby apartment buildings. It considers variable market dynamics including lower selling prices, FHA financing, historically low interest rates, rising rents and tax advantages for homebuyers. The chart they provided contains two scenarios tallied over a period of five years aggregating the total housing costs for both renting and owning, and you can tap onto it here– The_Decatur_Chart.
The study also referred to a recent Puget Sound Business Journal article headlined “Ascent of Rent” , which takes a look at rental rate increases, plus the lack of new condominium projects scheduled for development. This article also covers the number of rental properties slated for construction–subject, as always, to funding availability.
More than 80% sold, The Decatur has 146-units comprised of one and two bedroom homes starting from just $187,500. Built in 1950, the concrete and steel high-rise landmark was substantially renovated in 2006 and 2007, and converted to condominiums before the market corrected. Prices are now up to 40% below the original sales prices. Take a look at the links we’ve provided and if you’d like more information or to schedule a private tour, just contact us at email@example.com.
“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
The 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.
Fifteen 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to schedule a private tour.