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Seattle Public Library – Five Stars, and Five Secrets


Recently, Library posted the L J Index of Public Library Service 2010, rating 7,407 public libraries nationwide. 258 of these were designated as “Star Libraries”. In its category, the Seattle Public Library System (SPL) received Library Journal’s highest rating of five stars, ranking # 1 west of the Mississippi and # 3 nationwide.  Portland and San Francisco came in at # 11 and # 14 nationwide, respectively, and both received three stars.

In light of this terrific news, we thought it’d be a good time to revisit the SPL, with special emphasis on its crown jewel, the Central Library.  Located at 1000 Fourth Avenue, it is not only a marvel in glass, but in the breadth of services it offers.  From checking out books to booking a catered event, the Central Library is the last word in community service.

Ready for the Five Secrets?

 1.  If you’re into genealogy, you’ve hit a goldmine. Logging into the SPL website with your library card number gives you access to a number of databases. The Central Library itself is a repository for many genealogy items AND you can sit at a terminal and enjoy free access to

2.  On the first and third Mondays of each month, take a bag lunch to the Microsoft Auditorium on Level 1  (4th Avenue) and treat yourself to a “Thrilling Tale”, read aloud by a library staffer. This starts at noon and runs for about 50 minutes. This is one of a number of lunch hour programs that SPL does.

3.  Looking for a unique gift?  Level 3 near the Fifth Avenue entrance has a wonderful store called Friendshop, featuring items created by more than 65 Northwest artists. Along with library souvenirs, you can buy jewelry, cards and many other items at prices that won’t bust your budget.  This Friendshop link takes you to their website where you can even purchase online.

4.  They host a wide range of events, from the daylong “To Kill a Mockingbird” event held in September to a children’s Fall Festival afternoon of stories and craft making. Check their Calendar of Events link for readings, author visits, concerts, classes and more, which cover not only the Central Library but the entire 26-branch system. All of these events are free of charge.

5.  SPL has a free mobile app. Learn more about it here.

Library Journal is the field’s leading professional publication and developed its national rankings based on per capita statistics for library visits, circulation, program attendance and public Internet computer use. This year’s ratings were based on 2008 data that libraries reported to the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.  SPL was one of only five libraries in the country in the expenditures of $30 million or higher category to receive a five-star rating.  The others included three public libraries in Ohio and the Denver Public Library.

Auction Results for 5th and Madison

March 30, 2010 by  
Filed under 5thMadison, Featured

All the final bids are subject to the seller’s acceptance which should be finalized within the next four days. The penthouse did not sell.

The auction was standing room only, attracting over 300 people for the units in this 24-story tower known for its sustainable living features. The building was named one of Natural Home Magazine’s Top 10 of America’s Best Green Condos and designed to be 20% more energy efficient than industry standards.

Unit Number Floorplan Beds/Baths Approx. Sq. Ft. Original Price Starting Bid Selling Price
1102 ? ? ? $550,000 $235,000 $350,000
1200 00 1 Bed/1Bath 913 $580,000 $235,000 $392,000
1402 02 1 Bed/1.5 Bath 978 $499,000 $235,000 $353,000
1702 02 1 Bed/1.5 Bath 978 $615,000 $235,000 $358,000
1703 03 1 Bed/1.5 Bath + Den 978 $600,000 $235,000 $391,000
1705 05 1 Bed/1 Bath 808 $399,000 $195,000 $348,000
1803 03 1 Bed/1.5 Bath + Den 978 $600,000 $235,000 $370,000
1805 05 1 Bed/1 Bath 808 $415,000 $195,000 $331,000
2003 03 1 Bed/1.5 Bath + Den 978 $746,000 $290,000 $476,000
2005 05 1 Bed/1Bath 807 $570,000 $225,000 $355,000
2103 03 1 Bed/1.5 Bath + Den 978 $720,000 $275,000 $415,000
2200 00 1 Bed/1 Bath 913 $760,000 $290,000 $445,000
2202 02 1 Bed/1.5 Bath 978 $700,000 $290,000 $405,000
2203 03 1 Bed/1.5 Bath + Den 978 $746,000 $290,000 $476,000
2301 01 1 Bed/1.5 Bath + Den 1,241 $899,000 $385,000 $719,000
2305 05 1 Bed/1Bath 807 $625,000 $225,000 $390,000

“Now’s The Time” – Pryde + Johnson Announces Condo Clearance Sale in Ballard and Greenlake for more info. for more info.

We have recently been given a press release from Pryde + Johnson regarding another bulk buy sales strategy for LEED Silver (targeted) built Hjarta in Ballard and Florera in Greenlake – units will be sold at up to 35% off original pricing in an alternative to auctions.

“We’re meeting the market on price and are committed to selling through as condominiums,” said Curt Pryde, principal of Pryde + Johnson and developer of both Hjarta and Florera Condominiums. “Homebuyers will also benefit from our preferred selection, FHA financing (3.5% down payment), today’s low interest rates and other limited-time incentives such as Federal tax credits up to $8,000 (for purchases contracted before April 30, 2010).”

As we understand it, several dozen sales have been generated to date using the sales strategy at The Decatur and Eleven Eleven East Pike. Rather than slowly lowering prices over a longer period of time (which seems systemic at many projects), Realogics was able convince the developer and their lender to explore more dramatic cuts in hopes of garnering quicker sales.  The block of sales also helps shore up FHA financing and unit appraisals.  In theory, this establishes a stabilized market value for the remaining sales while resolves a common concern amongst “wait and see” buyers that prices will drop further after buying.  Hjarta and Florera will be undergoing a similar strategy and should offer some great deals for those who take advantage.

Studios (578 – 598 sq. ft.) will start from $244,950
One bedrooms (614 – 921 sq. ft.) will start from $274,950
One bedroom plus dens (792 – 923 sq. ft.) will start from $314,950
Two bedrooms (1,037 – 1,447 sq. ft.) will start from $399,950
Two bedrooms plus den penthouses (1,331 – 1,578 sq. ft.) will start from $589,950
Three bedroom plus den penthouses (1,909 sq. ft.) will start from $799,950 for more info. for more info.

Pryde + Johnson appears to be motivated to sell now so buyers can take advantage of the extended homebuyer tax credit, and today’s historically low rates.  Since rates will soon begin to climb, and the homebuyer tax credit will soon expire, these are exceptional opportunities for buyers who are interested in living outside the urban core, but within one of two prime urban neighborhoods.  The official sales release will begin on March 27 but you can preview in advance – open houses will be scheduled for each weekend or by appointment.  March 27th is the same weekend as Escala reintroduces sales at price drops and 5th & Madison auctions their remaining inventory so it should be a marketplace as buyers hunt down bargains.


Schedule a Showing

DisclaimerThese projects are listings of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty’s “special projects” division, which is affiliated but independent of the “resale” division co-founded by James Stroupe and Moira Holley.

Seller’s Reserve for 5th and Madison Auction

March 8, 2010 by  
Filed under 5thMadison, Featured

5th and Madison is a great building!  Across the street from the Federal Court House and the Seattle Public Library, one could argue that it’s one of the quietest and safest parts of town.  The corner of 5th and Madison is referred to as being in the business district, so there are several commercial high-rises where business professionals have found it convenient to walk to work. 

Commonly known for its green terrace and water feature, 5th and Madison has also received some recent recognition for the SIP restaurant which opened last fall.  In addition to being known for its LEED certification, the building also features an appreciated collection of amenities which include a residents lounge, dog park and gym.

The most interesting thing to note about the 5th and Madison auction is the fine print which states all bids are subject to Seller’s reserve.  If a starting bid is $195,000 (as advertised), and that bid is the only bid that unit receives, it’s likely that it will not meet the undisclosed amount the seller is willing to accept for the unit.  Keep this in mind when considering expectations of your possible bid limits.

The auction does require a registration and $5,000 deposit and prequalification to bid.

Again, especially for this auction, representation is a wise idea.

The prospective client (“Bidder/Buyer”) must register their broker on the Auction Registration Form at the time of their initial registration or no later than Thursday, March 25, 2010. No broker registration will be accepted on auction day.

Brokers must accompany the Bidder/Buyer to the auction and, if successful, through the entire purchase process at the auction on Sunday, March 28, 2010, and execute the Cooperating Broker Agreement.

Get more information from us regarding registration and the bidding process.

LEED-Certified Condos Yeild Higher Return

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.

average performance of leed certified homes

Here’s a look at what downtown area projects have been, or are striving to be LEED-certified:

2200 Westlake
5th and Madison
Fifteen Twenty-One
Mosler Lofts
Olive 8
Veer Lofts

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.

Green Home Checklist
Green Homes 101

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?

Open House Wed, Feb 6th 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

February 4, 2008 by  
Filed under 5thMadison


Due to association rules on signage and no direct response regarding the scheduled open house for Wednesday we have canceled the 5th and Madison open house. If you would like to arrange a private showing, call Staci Dinehart at (206) 351-0572

Downtown 1 Bedroom 1.5 Bath $515,000

5th and Madison ExteriorPrice: $515,000
MLS#: 27204043
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1.5
Square Feet: 973


Inspiration comes in many forms! Enjoy downtown Seattle Financial and Fashion District buzz with evenings of fine dining. Striking concrete, steel and glass construction seeking environmental LEED certification. The iconic Seattle Public Library and its patrons framed by floor-to-ceiling windows and a Juliet balcony. Parking + Flexcar, bike storage, and close to all public transport (ferries, rail, bus). Open floor plan. Bosch appliances. Separate tub & shower. Come find your inspiration!


5th and Madison

9o9 5th Ave 402
Seattle, WA 98104

NOTE: This community does not allow open house signs on the street. Look for buyer’s agent Staci Dinehart in the lobby or call (206) 351-0572

Would You Attend an Open House at 5th and Madison?

February 1, 2008 by  
Filed under 5thMadison

5th and Madison LogoThrough our web stats, we’ve noticed a lot of interest in 5th and Madison and thought you might like to take a visit. So, we have looked into holding an open house. However, because of it’s location and previously scheduled open houses on Sunday, we’re entertaining the idea of holding an open on Wednesday during lunch. Also, 5th and Madison does not allow open house signs to be placed outside. Therefore, we’d like to get an idea on level of interest. Please let us know if you would be interested in attending by leaving a comment below and we’ll post another entry with unit details based on your response.

5th and Madison – 909 5th Ave., Seattle, WA 98104


Address: 909 5th Ave., Seattle, WA 98104
Neighborhood: Downtown


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Newspaper headlines for 5th and Madison boast healthy, active downtown living and “built green” (one of the top 10 green built in America). Designed by architects Ruffcorn Mott Hinthorne Stine and built by Turner Construction, 5th and Madison is located across the street from the Central Seattle Library in the Financial District. The project is a renovation of the existing 40-story Bank of California office tower. Green features included 30% less energy and water usage. This high-rise is one of the first in the country to obtain a Gold Standard LEED certification for it’s leadership in environmental design. Ground-level green space is a half acre of landscaped drought-tolerant native plants with a water channel and waterfall. Even paints, adhesives and sealants are all low or no volatile organic compounds (VOC). Many of this tower’s affluent homebuyers seek healthier lifestyles and are concerned about fuel-effeciency. One-bedrooms and one-bedrooms plus dens were originally priced from the $500’s to $1.1 million. Penthouses from $1.9 million to $2.6 million.


Exterior Stream Entry

Lobby Sales Center Model Kitchen



  • Year Built: 2007
  • Number of Units: 126
  • Number of Stories: 24
  • Exterior: Cement/Concrete, Steel, Glass
  • Parking: Common Garage
  • Pets: Subj to Restrictions
  • H/O Dues Included: Central Hot Water, Earthquake Ins., Garbage, Water/Sewer
  • Common Property Features & Amenities: Cable TV, Elevator, Exercise Room, Fire Sprinklers, Lobby Entrance, Concierge, Courtyard, Club Room



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*Data is deemed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. In some cases, number of units may include commercial and residential spaces and/or height may or may not include a 13th floor.