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King County Weekly Condo Sales Ratios for February 10th, 2010

February 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Downtown (MLS Area 701), Weekly Sales Ratios

Condo Only, NWMLS Area 701 (Belltown & Downtown Seattle)

Active Listings and Pending Sales by NWMLS Area 701

Active Listings and Pending Sales by NWMLS Area 701


Escala’s Club Cielo is Now an Amenity

February 8, 2010 by  
Filed under ESCALA, Lifestyle

We had the pleasure to speak with one Bob Rennie of Rennie Marketing regarding Club Cielo.  Rennie Marketing has sold over $1 billion dollars’ worth of condos each year for the last eight years and counting.  Mr. Rennie and the ESCALA partnership are working on the revamped project, and we were privileged to be updated on the latest news.

First off, Club Cielo is no longer!  Let’s call the 25,000 sq/ft spa, gym, and wine cave… amenities.  There are a few influencing factors in play.  First, the public found the HOD too high.  Second, there is a belief that a condo owner should not have to pay for services they don’t use.  Third and perhaps the most important, lenders had difficulty in funding buyers.  Club Cielo allowed membership from the outside, and this issue presented problems to lenders with ownership in the HOA without an actual condo ownership.  Outside ownerships were discontinued.

The new arrangement now will be a user-based system.  If an owner wants a massage, give a call to Columbia Hospitality and they will send someone to meet you in the spa.  If you want to do a banquet, call and everything will be set up for you. All of the amenities are physically there, but not staffed full time. This will help HOD get much more in line with the new economy.  So far, it’s working.  HOD’s have been reduced from $0.79/sq. ft. to $0.58, with a goal of reaching $0.55.

The question on everyone’s mind is, “What are the new prices”?  We understand that the new prices are still being ironed out and we hope to have them by the 19th.  Not a definite date, but priority update subscribers at will be the first to find out.

After the prices are determined, the current buyers will be contacted first.  I would assume that many will like the new prices.  Obviously, many will still not close.  It has been a long time for some of these buyers and life changes as years go by.  The questions we do not know yet are if the buyers will be allowed to move into other units and the big questions of earnest money to buyers who do not wish to close.  Personally, we hope Escala makes the decision to create goodwill in the city and creates a positive movement.  Enso went to their buyers in contract and treated them properly.  And now, look how well that project is going.

Escala’s new team is proving to be much more transparent and many of our interested buyers have a revitalized excitement for the project.  In fact, Escala is turning out to be a good example of what it feels like to take a long deep breath of fresh air.  Regardess whether or not you like the project, we think we can all agree that the success of Escala would be beneficial to the whole community.

Sneak Peek of Hard Rock Cafe and Memorabilia

February 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Lifestyle

2nd-floor-bar-postIn efforts to revitalize the Pike Street corridor, the vision for Seattle’s new Hard Rock Cafe started over three years ago when the space had previously been approved for a 14-story condominium development.  Today, the space is now the first restaurant to meet Gold LEED certification standards.  The building itself has been incredibly restored with northwestern woods and stone, and area vice President Stacey O’Bryan chuckled as he pointed out the complimenting exposed brick which was found behind sheet rock during the restoration.

Of course the memorabilia includes various collections from Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Pearl Jam and Nirvana. But it also features a  heavy brown suede patchwork jacket that Elvis Presley purchased in Colorado, which he later wore to stay warm when performing in the snow for a crowd of 16,000+ at Seattle’s Sick’s Stadium.  The Seattle Hard Rock is also the first to employ a new feature allowing you to get the inside story on each piece of memorabilia by simply dialing 206-204-4666.  Get more information on Bobby Keys with the Rolling Stones by entering 56, Chad Manning from Nirvana by entering 47, or information on Eddie Vedder’s acoustic with hand written lyrics (Memorabilia Designer Giovanni Taliaferro’s favorite piece), by entering number 55.

rooftop-westSome other great facts about the 14,000 square foot cafe:

  • * Creating more local opportunity by hiring an approximate 140 employees;
  • * Much of the cafe was constructed with local recycled materials;
  • * 13 booths have interactive touch screens; and
  • * The 15-foot Fender Mustang guitar was installed as a tribute to Kurt Cobain. 
  • Additionally, the Hard Rock could have saved money by tearing down the existing building and replacing the current unprotected structure. To their credit, the corporate restaurant executives from Orlando decided to preserve much more of the local culture than just music.  Kudos!

View a copy of full specs

Other than missing just one Seattle music icon, the Hard Rock did a fabulous job in capturing a unique history of our local music scene.  Enjoy the photos and be sure to stop in to see much much more!

King County Weekly Condo Sales Ratios for February 3rd, 2010

Condo Only, NWMLS Area 701 (Belltown & Downtown Seattle)

Active Listings and Pending Sales by NWMLS Area 701

Active Listings and Pending Sales by NWMLS Area 701


New Pricing Hints for Escala

February 4, 2010 by  
Filed under ESCALA, Featured, MARKET TRENDS

We had an opportunity to visit ESCALA this week.  There is so much to absorb as more details are being ironed out as ESCALA undergoes their three weeks of resetting for the current market.   We had a quick (very quick) glance at the proposed pricing and it will be quite compelling.  Again, with an asterisk, everything is still being worked out and prices have not been formalized.  From what we can tell at this time, the pricing may be at least 30% under the previously published prices.

We at the Stroupe Group couldn’t be more excited for buyers that have that have expressed interest in ESCALA.  From what we’ve gathered, an approximate 200 units will be priced under $500 per square foot and sure to draw a lot of attention from all buyers interested in downtown.

If you are a regular reader of our post, you know we do not get overly excited with marketing news coming from projects.  Their job is to create “hype” to encourage movement in a project. We do our best to see the project regardless of the marketing.  That being said, if these prices at ESCALA are indeed what we expect, this is a great opportunity for a buyer looking for an exceptional product at a very attractive price.  Think of what buildings are ESCALA’s competition and what the price per square foot are in those buildings.  We cannot speak for the motivation for this drastic discount but we cannot wait to see how the public responds.

With such compelling prices, it may be likely that ESCALA will get a lot of attention over the next couple of months as the marketing for the building steps up.  Expect a BIG media splash soon.

We are currently working to get some images of the project and perhaps the exceptional furnished models.  They were also installing the chandelier over the concierge desk.  That should be fun to see.

We have an appointment on Monday morning where we expect to have significantly more information.  Perhaps some established prices too.  Be sure to register on our new website for ESCALA at where you can view floor plans, sign up for listing updates, and get more details on the building overall.  We will also be sending out pricing updates and pictures as we receive them to those who have registered.

Stay tuned.

Federal Reserve Confirms Purchase of MBS to Cease

January 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Finance, National

federal buildingAs predicted (Interest Rates of 5% May Never Be Seen Again! Here’s Why.), the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has confirmed that the program created to help repair economic recovery through the purchase of mortgage-backed securities will expire on March 31st.  Intentionally designed to drive down rates, current economic conditions have improved enough to where the need for such low rates is “no longer warranted.”

This has brought up an industry-wide push to all those who have been on the sidelines waiting for bottom to take advantage before rates inevitably go up.  However, rates are not expected to skyrocket.  Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Michael Barr, was quoted in the Washington Post as saying, “I’m not going to say there will be no effect on rates, but it should be an orderly transition.”

Expectations are that once rates begin to rise, we’ll see more market activity from hesitant buyers.  There are still a small number of buyers who believe it is possible for home prices and economic conditions to go even lower.  Therefore, with only the option to either buy or continue hestitating, rising rates could be the evidence that the market needs.

Here are some highlights from the press release issued by the FOMC:

  • Household spending is expanding at a moderate rate but remains constrained by a weak labor market, modest income growth, lower housing wealth and tight credit.
  • Business spending on equipment and software appears to be picking up, but structure investment is still contracting and employers remain reluctant to add to payrolls.
  • Firms have brought inventory stocks into better alignment with sales.
  • With substantial resource slack continuing to restrain cost pressures and with longer-term inflation expectations stable, inflation is likely to be subdued for some time.

Here’s an interesting bonus read: Higher Mortgage Rates Mean More Buyers

King County Weekly Condo Sales Ratios for January 27th, 2010

Condo Only, NWMLS Area 701 (Belltown & Downtown Seattle)

Active Listings and Pending Sales by NWMLS Area 701

Active Listings and Pending Sales by NWMLS Area 701


Stroupe Scoop: Volume 9 Issue 11

January 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Watermark

click to view volume 9 issue 11

click to view: volume 9 issue 11

For the November Scoop, we featured the Watermark Tower ( as the Featured Building.  We did not feature any individual units for this issue.  Every November we feature the dates of holidays and national events.  In addition, we include dates for all the things that go on in our city.  Be sure to view this Scoop for dates and websites regarding Sporting Events, Runs/Walks, Annual Event and Cultural Festivals, Events and Parades, as well as Film and Music Festivals.

Be sure to receive the Scoop when it first comes up by subscribing!

Hard Rock Cafe Installs More Pike Street Bling

January 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Lifestyle

Seattle Hard Rock Cafe will be opening very soon. A sign of that is yesterday’s mounting of the Fender guitar on the side of the building. Part of the plan of the Downtown Seattle Association is to enhance the Pike Street corridor which is the home of Pike Place Market, and Pacific Place Mall. The Hard Rock will light up the street for even more vibrant photos in the next few weeks, and certainly help with cleaning up the general area.


Seattle, the city that boasts one of the most diverse and influential alternative music scenes in the world, will be the site of the next U.S. Hard Rock Cafe. In addition to a state-of-the-art facility, the new Seattle Hard Rock Cafe will feature rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia from its world-famous collection, which includes items from many of Seattle’s most legendary musicians such as Pearl Jam, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave, Alice in Chains, Heart, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Duff McKagan of Guns ‘n’ Roses and Velvet Revolver, guitar legend Jimi Hendrix, and many more.


Stroupe Group Exclusive Websites for Buildings

We wanted to take a moment to share a beneficial service we provide for both buyers and sellers looking at downtown Seattle real estate.  Over the last couple of years, we have built a collection of websites for buildings downtown, and have many more in the hopper.  Our intention with these websites is to allow each unique address to convey its own personality online.

Every site we build for a condo building allows a visitor to:

  • View active units for sale,
  • View the past three years of sold history,
  • Sign up for instant email notifications of new listings,
  • Inquire about a particular unit’s value,
  • See a neighborhood map and WalkScore,
  • Look at a photo gallery of amenities, and
  • Get building management/concierge contact information.

In addition, whenever we have a seller that lists with the Stroupe Group, we integrate a customized page with professional photography.  All of our building websites also place at the top of all major search engines for maximum exposure, and we also use linking strategies to further secure placement.

Visit our current project:

Below is a list of other websites that are constantly being improved, and we would love to hear any suggestions on how we can make them better.

Sample Gallery

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