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The Grand Opening of Lake Union Park



How long does it take to turn garbage into gold? The answer is 20 years.

And that’s really true. Back in 1990, serious attention was turned towards 12 acres of prime Lake Union property filled with contaminated soil and degraded seawall. It also contained tons of garbage, creosote piles, concrete and asphalt debris. A great deal of vision, paired with a groundswell of community support, would be needed in order to polish this polluted land into a true Seattle jewel.

And 20 years later, what a jewel it is!  Those 12 acres of land is now Lake Union Park, a world-class waterfront park on the south shores of Lake Union. It will have something for everyone. Environmentalists will marvel at the restored shoreline and the returned habitat of turtles, salmon, heron and native plants. History enthusiasts will enjoy the History Trail throughout the park. Outdoor lovers will enjoy the trails for walking, jogging and biking. There’s also a pedestrian bridge, waterfront boardwalk, terraced steps at the lake’s edge. There is a beach for hand-launched boats and a model boat pond. A place to have a picnic?  There’s a tree grove with tables and benches. Things for kids to do?  There’s a 300-foot long interactive fountain, a great lawn and sculpted landforms to play with. The park has a streetcar stop for commuting convenience.


 The pre-dedication festivities kick off on Friday evening, September 24th with a lavish dinner dance. The “Green Tie Gala.” will introduce civic, business and philanthropic leaders to the beauty of Lake Union Park. On Saturday, September 25th, the real party kicks in from sunrise to sunset (7 a.m. – 7 p.m.) and you’re invited!  The community-wide celebration will begin with sunrise yoga and a family Fun Run. The ribbon-cutting ceremony starts at 11:30 a.m. Live music, a fitness field, parade of Seattle mascots, maritime activities, History Trail guided tours, kayak and paddle board demonstrations, and ample food and drink will set the stage for a great day in the park. All activities are free of charge.

Seattle Parks Foundation is a private nonprofit organization working to improve, expand, and create parks and green spaces, building a more vibrant community. Founded in 2001 to bring new resources to Seattle’s park system, Seattle Parks Foundation has completed 30 park projects and secured more than $29 million for parks and green spaces in Seattle. Lake Union Park was specifically chosen as its first major project because of its central location, a need for green space in the downtown area, plus the project’s amazing partnerships with The Center for Wooden Boats, Museum of History and Industry, The United Indians of all Tribes Foundation, and the City of Seattle.

Lake Union Park is located at 860 Terry Avenue. For more information, please visit their website. Come to the park, and come to it often!

Coming Attractions at the Cinerama – Including New Management

September 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Belltown, Cinerama, Featured, Lifestyle, MISC


As you’ve recently heard, the Seattle Cinerama Theatre is now closed for a multimillion dollar renovation. Breathe easy, though… it’s scheduled to reopen in November.

Philanthropist and Seattle native son Paul Allen’s plans are to bring this beloved 808-seat landmark into the 21st century. This will include a new feature film screen, state-of-the-art digital sound, and 3-D viewing abilities. Plans are also in the works to do interior and exterior refurbishing.   While all of this is big news, of course, we find the more intriguing part to be an upcoming change of leadership.  Management company AMC Entertainment, Inc. has been replaced with a new management agreement under Greg Wood, owner and operator of the Roseway Theater in Portland.

 Wood was raised in Los Angeles, the grandson of a film editor and son of a director of Sony’s engineering department. After graduating from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, he decided to stay and keep up the family tradition in the Northwest instead. The first movie venue he operated was the Liberty, a vintage movie theater in Camas, on the Washington side of the Columbia River across from Portland. But while he enjoyed great success at the Liberty, Wood desired to have his own theater. The Roseway became available in early 2008.

Wood restored the Roseway’s  original art-deco decor and invested in state-of-the-art projection and sound equipment.  While most theaters would have been butchered into smaller screens, Wood kept the 500-seat auditorium intact, with 330 seats set up for maximum legroom. The upgrades made it easy for him to book major films from “Batman” to “Up” to “Avatar”. And, for those of you who enjoy great cuisine, the Roseway is reported to have some of the best movie popcorn in town.

He should work well with Allen, who grew up attending Seattle Cinerama movies. When rumors in the late 90’s arose that the Cinerama might be turned into a rock-climbing club– or even a parking lot– he bought the venue.  A full interior/exterior renovation began in June 1998, and the Cinerama reopened in full glory and to much applause in April 1999.

The Seattle Cinerama Theatre is one of only three movie theaters in the world still capable of showing three-panel Cinerama films. We’ll keep you posted on the reopening.

The ABC’s of Deeds

September 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Buying, Featured, Selling

Trust Deed

You may think a deed is a pretty standard document but in reality, there are seven types to choose from.  They are:

Bargain and Sale Deed:  A deed by which the grantor “bargains, sells and conveys” real property to the grantee.  A bargain and sale deed conveys fee simple title to the grantee and warrants against defects created by the grantor, except for those matters disclosed in the deed.

Quit Claim Deed:  A deed by which the grantor “conveys and quit claims” to the grantee any interest the grantor might have, if any, in certain real property. A quit claim deed conveys no warranties or title. A quit claim deed conveys no after-acquired title, unless the deed contains words expressing the intent to do so.

Personal Representative Deed:  An attorney-prepared deed used when the seller of property is deceased. The Grantor on this type of deed has been authorized by the court to convey the property on behalf of the estate. The attorney preparing the deed may incorporate warrants similar to Bargain & Sale Deed, Special Warranty Deed or Quit Claim Deed.

Statutory Warranty Deed:  A deed by which the grantor “conveys and warrants” the real property to the grantee. A statutory warranty deed conveys fee simple title to the grantee and warrants against defects asserted by all persons, except for those matters disclosed in the deed.

Special Warranty Deed:  A special warranty deed is similar to a Washington form bargain and sale deed, which conveys fee simple title to the grantee and warrants against defects created by the grantor, except for those matters disclosed in the deed.

Tax Deed:  A deed issued by the county treasurer to the purchaser at a tax sale conducted due to nonpayment of taxes.  A tax deed should be recorded to give notice that title has passed to the purchaser at the sale.

Trustee’s Deed:  A deed issued by the trustee of a deed of trust following the non-judicial foreclosure of a deed of trust in default.  First, the trustee or beneficiary sends a Notice of Default.  Then, the trustee: 1) records a Notice of Trustee’s Sale; 2) holds the trustee’s sale; and 3) issues a Trustee’s Deed to the highest bidder at the sale.  The Trustee’s Deed should be recorded to give notice that title has passed to the purchaser at the sale.

If you need further explanation specific to your situation, please consult your attorney. We’d like to thank Michelle Barry, Senior Account Manager at Commonwealth Land Title Company of Puget Sound, LLC for allowing us to reprint this material. If you have further questions, please contact her at

Belltown Art Walk on September 16th

September 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Belltown, Denny Triangle, Lifestyle, West Edge

The next Belltown Art Walk & More begins at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 16th.  Make sure you pick up a flyer as you stroll about. It will contain coupons good for discounts and 2-for-1 offers at Belltown’s most popular restaurants and bars.  We’ve grouped these by avenue for your convenience.  For a map and current event information, check out this link.


Western & Bell:  Mars Hill Church, 2333 Western Ave

1st & Blanchard: Vain, 2018 1st Ave

1st & Blanchard: Gary Manuel Salon, 2127 1st Ave

1st & Battery:  Form/Space Atelier, 2407 1st Ave

1st & Broad: Allure Salon, 2915 1st Ave

2nd & Virginia:  Whisky Bar, 2000 2nd Ave

2nd & Blanchard: See Sound Lounge, 115 Blanchard St

2nd & Blanchard:  Belltown Barber, 2219 2nd Ave #A

2nd & Bell:  Bedlam Coffee, 2231 2nd Ave

2nd & Bell: Roq La Rue, 2312 2nd Ave

2nd & Bell:  Damaged Goods, 2316 2nd Ave

2nd & Bell:  Stylus, 2321 2nd Ave

2nd & Battery:  City Hostel Seattle, 2327 2nd Ave

3rd & Wall: Belltown Video, 2500 3rd Ave

3rd & Cedar:  Street Bean, 2702 3rd Ave

4th & Bell:  Belltown Pull-Apart, 2308 4th Ave

4th & Bell:  Gilt Edge Society, 2312 4th Ave

4th & Blanchard:  Yellow Leaf Cupcakes, 2313 4th Ave

5th & Cedar:  Musadesign, 2617 5th Ave

Denny & Taylor:  In.Fringe, 100 Taylor Ave N #A2

9th & Westlake:  Art Not Terminal, 2045 Westlake Ave

9th & Blanchard:  Eleveight Salon, 2130 Westlake Ave

9th & Westlake:  Design Theory, 2132 Westlake Ave

Bullseye! The Newmark is getting a Target store!

August 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Lifestyle, Newmark Tower

Target Corporation has purchased the bottom three floors of The Newmark Tower and will be converting it to a small-format Target store, complete with a Newmark resident entrance.  The doors will open on the Pike Street side, and the 103,000 sq ft space will also have 250 spaces of underground parking.  The store is the latest Target venture into an urban area, and is expected to open in the summer of 2011.

We’ll keep you posted on its progress!

The Value of the View by William Justen

A recent study has shown that condos with a view are of course more likely to sell, but by how much?  Unfortunately there is no magic formula to accurately pinpoint the value of downtown Seattle view.  However, it sure would make our jobs easier if it could be as easy as:

Former Planning Director and owner of 22 downtown Seattle properties, William Justen, has pointed out that buyers are attracted to views of Elliott Bay more so than amenities and/or finishes.

Today about 175 units remain unsold within four condominium buildings west of 2nd Avenue. This compares to 481 units remaining between 4th and 8th avenues to the east. These view premiums can range from 25% to more than 50% over a comparable home, especially if the view is protected. That’s why the West side of 2nd Avenue may soon look like Park Avenue – there are four permitted condominium towers planned between Pine and Lenora streets, and the City of Seattle recently extended all permit holders’ development rights for six years to maintain this trajectory.

A Value of View Flyer presented by William Justen’s project Fifteen Twenty-One, shows that many downtown addresses still have threatened views.  This in turn threatens your investment’s value, and should be a well thought- out precaution before making a decision that could potentially cost you $10,000’s from something as simple as an application for a building permit.  Although many of the proposed projects that have been postponed from 2006/07 may still not break ground for another couple of years, developers are still holding onto permits as Seattle continues to be one of the top cities people relocate to.

Over the past 18 months, 123 units have been sold within six condominium towers with an average purchase price of $2 million. The top property sale was more than $9 million. In 2009, the vast majority of King County’s condo sales valued at more than $1 million were located within a single address: Fifteen Twenty-One Second Avenue, just a half-block east and high above the Pike Place Market. What’s the secret to such success? Every home offers a protected view of Elliott Bay.

Have you seen our zoning map?  According to specifications presented by the City of Seattle, we created an interactive map that shows how high a residential/commercial lot is allowed to go.  You can find the map under the Search button, or click here to view it now.

By the way, William Justen and all those over at Fifteen Twenty-One would like you to know…

Open House This Weekend
March 27th & 28th
12:00pm to 4:00pm

What’s the Sales Difference at Cosmopolitan by View?

March 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Cosmopolitan, Featured, Land Use, Selling

Cosmopolitan closings, N, S, E facing:
Address Bd Bth SqFt Date CDOM Sale Price $/SqFt
1 1.5 1,093 6/27/2008 11 549,950 503
2 1.75 1,316 10/8/2009 5 510,840 388
2 2 1,186 8/15/2008 102 715,000 603
1 1 734 2/1/2008 79 438,000 597
2 2 1,195 9/7/2007 118 735,000 615
2 2 1,318 5/2/2008 243 800,000 607
1 1 734 4/19/2007 104 441,950 602
1 1 954 6/8/2007 12 590,000 618
1 1 767 2/25/2010 262 330,000 430
2 2 1,195 7/20/2007 27 710,000 594
2 2 1,316 6/20/2009 139 750,000 570
2 1.75 1,318 7/24/2007 35 892,000 677
1 1 740 6/19/2007 31 455,000 615
1 1 943 6/18/2007 24 572,300 607
1 1 739 8/30/2007 112 412,000 558
1 1 954 6/5/2007 41 579,950 608
1 1 735 5/31/2007 23 430,000 585
2 2 1,195 2/6/2009 138 535,000 448
1 1 739 9/25/2008 245 377,000 510
1 1 738 7/25/2008 24 370,000 501
1 1 954 10/7/2009 100 367,000 385
1 1 820 3/13/2008 41 504,750 616
1 1 738 11/10/2009 136 240,000 325
1 1 735 6/8/2007 27 431,000 586
1 1 965 8/13/2007 115 532,500 552
1 1 820 10/10/2007 62 425,000 518
2 2 1,186 3/1/2010 105 500,000 422
2 1.75 1,316 7/29/2009 35 650,000 494
1 1 738 12/14/2007 212 366,000 496
1 1 943 9/28/2007 151 495,000 525
1 1 735 6/13/2007 28 439,900 599
Averages 963 89.903226 $520,811 $540
Cosmopolitan closings, West facing:
Address Bd Bth SqFt Date CDOM Sale Price $/SqFt
1 1 979 7/31/2007 63 625,000 638
1 1 943 10/5/2007 145 607,000 644
1 1 722 3/25/2008 50 400,000 554
1 1 722 9/6/2007 82 439,000 608
2 2 1,248 8/2/2007 76 760,000 609
1 1 719 7/10/2007 53 400,000 556
0 1 427 6/21/2007 59 255,000 597
1 1 800 3/2/2009 537 330,000 413
1 1 800 6/14/2007 98 445,000 556
1 1 719 10/29/2007 16 400,000 556
1 1 719 7/19/2007 42 440,000 612
1 1 719 5/15/2007 23 330,000 459
0 1 424 9/28/2009 17 202,000 476
1 1 719 8/24/2007 93 415,000 577
0 1 427 6/30/2008 370 222,000 520
0 1 419 9/24/2008 528 220,000 525
1 1 719 5/30/2007 56 399,950 556
1 1 943 4/27/2007 19 560,000 594
0 1 419 5/4/2009 23 206,000 492
1 1 711 5/25/2007 36 379,950 534
1 1 800 5/8/2008 27 380,000 475
1 1 719 8/16/2007 76 378,950 527
1 1 719 4/30/2007 14 389,950 542
1 1 800 10/8/2007 112 425,000 531
1 1 711 5/8/2007 17 377,000 530
0 1 427 7/27/2007 27 242,900 569
Averages 710.538462 102.26923
Curently on market, west facing:
Address Bd Bth SqFt Date CDOM Sale Price $/SqFt
1 1 738 2/27/2010 237 299,000 405
1 1 722 12/12/2009 241 299,950 415
1 1 800 12/3/2009 318 307,000 384
1 1 954 12/2/2009 183 325,000 341
1 1 722 2/9/2010 127 350,000 485
1 1 800 2/16/2010 195 360,000 450
2 2 1,322 3/1/2010 244 599,950 454
2 1.75 1,324 3/2/2010 511 645,000 487

View StroupeCondoBlog on Your iPhone!

February 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Featured Technology

iphone-screenTechnology is great isn’t it?  Especially for you iPhoners who get a kick out of telling everybody about all the cool things you can do that we Blackberry and Trio users cannot.  In spirit of all you can-doers, we’ve installed a new program that allows you to stay on top of the downtown Seattle real estate market using your iPhone.  In this circumstance, we would love for you to talk about how cool your iPhone is.

iPhone Guy:

“Hey man!  Check out all the cool things I can do with my iPhone!  Not only can I pretend to use this Star Wars light saber, but I can even stay current with downtown condos at”

Blackberry/Trio Guy:

“Yeah, cool man.  Anyway…”

Just a couple of features…

  • Full search is built-in, allowing you to easily find what you’re looking for.
  • Loads more posts inline using Ajax, into an iPhone application-like experience.
  • Post images and other content are scaled and handled automatically on touch mobile devices.
  • Users can easily send native e-mail with the title and a link to the post they’re reading.

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!

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