One of the new construction projects completing this year is the occasionally overlooked 5th and Madison project in downtown Seattle. If you are a big fan of city views and love Manhattan style high-rise living in a more business-like area of downtown, this may be a project worth checking out.
Here are some of my observations:
1.) Unlike most projects focusing a lot of their efforts on indoor amenities and charging a lot more on their homeowner dues, one of 5th and Madison’s most unique selling points is the outdoor plaza. The water features and greenery on the south side of the building create an interesting in-city green space for residents.
2.) The exterior architectural design is sleek and simple with generous floor-to-ceilings windows for all their floor plans, especially their 04 floor plans which feature expansive views of the city. However, the trade off would be you might get some traffic noise coming from I5.
3.) The most popular floor plan is the one bedroom plus den 01 layout (on higher floors) which gets partial water views and mostly city views. Great amount of sunlight for these units but the only minor drawback is the odd shaped balcony that doesn’t seem to be too functional.
Overall, the building feels very well constructed and probably deserves more buyer consideration than it has received thus far.
I agree that this project is often overlooked although is a solid value. The location is the main problem. of course, but I think it is perfect for downtown business people who occasionally want don’t want to fight traffic after a long day.
The problem with the location is that it’s really soul-less. Granted, it’s only a few blocks from the shopping district but I prefer a building that has the buzz right at your steps.
The quality is obvious with this project.
I seriously considered it but the amount of cash you had to part with in order to get a view made it too spendy. Downtown buildings are cool as a view but I think it would get claustrophobic after a while being so close.
I agree with pretty much all of the above posts…especially the ones regarding claustrophobia…but that’s just me.
There are a couple of units currently for rent that I wouldn’t even consider due to the *IN YOUR FACE* view of the library (I think that’s what it is).
Prime quiet location within a short walk to everything. Sleek and sophisticated. Don’t pay for a view that might change with all of the new projects going up. Many of the new projects without a view will sell for a lot more.
If you have too much money to waste and enjoy being miserable welcome to 5th & Madison. I live in this building. I got fooled by the look of it. The water is always cold with low pressure and no one takes care of your problem. Everyday some new issues come up. the water pipes broke in 2nd and 3rd floors and the condos got flooded. the heating system is always broke and someone is fixing it every week. I have lived here for 20 days and I am still longing for a nice and hot shower. The amenities are not ready yet. I hate this place so far.
Since there are so many 1BR and 1BR+den floorplans at 5th and Madison, I do wonder about how this will affect eventual resales in the usual turnaround time of 3-5 years (or at any time) in the future. In most complexes, there are more variety of floorplans, ie: studios through 2BR+dens, so that if there are, for instance, 2-5% for sale at a given time in the future, there is a variety to choose from. At 5th & Madison, they will mostly be of a similar size. The only differences will be floor height, view and whatever upgrades the seller has made. Won’t this make it harder to resell against competing units in the complex?
Great question Anna. I think there will probably be more competition for your unit than in a typical building of similar size. On the other hand, there are some advantages. Here are a few. (1) Since there are so many 1BR’s, your building will get a lot of 1BR buyer agent traffic/awareness and that will lead to lots of potential buyers viewing your unit. (2) Buyers and sellers will be able to figure out fair pricing since there will be lots of in-building comparables. (3) There will be fewer “spoilers” who sell far below fair market value since it will only take 5-10% discount at most to move their unit quickly.
Hey, 5th and Madison resident. It would be great if you could detail your experience there in more detail. That is exactly the sort of “under the hood” assessment that I am looking for in these blogs. I would appreciate input from other 5th and Madison residents. Feel free to come to my blog and post as well.
I purchased a condo at 5th & Madison and so far I am very pleased. I had a minor problem with my thermostat the first day I moved in and they fixed it the next day.The place is as secure as Fort Knox, took a few days to get use to keys etc. View is terrific and location is great. M street Market is only 3 blocks away.
Has there been any response to the criticism by the developers at 5th & Madison. We are considering a purchase, but some of these issues due bother me.
I have been at 5th and Madison for several months. The developers have been very good about fixing the problems we’ve had. The biggest problem is with CWD the property manager. Supposedly they manage over 90 buildings in Seattle but you wouldn’t think they had ever does this before by the way they have behaved. I don’t think they’ll be here much longer.
There is problem with the ventilation system in 5th and Madison. Cigarette smoke comes from surrounding units from the vents. Also there is no fan in the bathrooms! I am very unhappy that there is no solution to these problems.
Any more comments from residents?
I looked at this property recently and it has some great aspects. The price is right and the view over the library is not going to get built out.
Some stuff I didn’t like was the lackluster lobby and the lack of a freight elevator. The idea of moving furniture through the main lobby is pretty blah. It looked like there was still work to do on a lot of units.
We have been at the 5th and Madison since December and it is a great building. All the people that we have dealt with, including CWD have been great and any minor problems we have had have been taken care promptly. We have great people living in the building or at least the ones that we have met, and socialized with through the condo sponsored activities. We have not had any noise, water temperature, smoke smell, and/or any other problems with our unit. We are happy it is a quiet area and will have 24/7 security starting tomorrow. Also glad there will not be another tower built in front of us as we expect the library to be there for a long time.
I toured 5th and Madison last weekend – sure enough, no fans in the bathrooms! That seems a bit weird to me?! Can any residents comment?
That sounds nasty — especially after some bad sushi.
I’ve toured the building twice and liked what I saw. Just as Ace pointed out (two posts above), I also did not see any ventilation fans in the bathrooms. The bathrooms do have HVAC vents though.. not sure if the developer deliberately designed this omission and I’m wondering whether they plan to address this at all? Would imagine it’s too late now though.
The bathrooms at 5th and Madison have a mild continuous vent which seems to be adequate in some units, however, others say it does not do the job well. This beautiful green building has a serious ventilation problem which seems to involve hood fan ducts. Some residents are getting cooking smells and other odors in their units coming from their neighbor’s units. Most unpleasant! The problem has been brought to the attention of the developer (Kennedy Wilson), the HOA, the facilities management (CWD) and the HVAC installers and designers at Hermanson. After six months, a few attempts have been made (and failed) to solve this problem at hood fan ducts within the units. Some residents believe it is a more serious design flaw and hope that more serious steps will be taken. There are many issues probably being considered here including how to solve this, who’s responsible, expense and LEED standards. Anyone considering buying here might want to talk to residents and see how this all plays out.
Thanks for the info. That doesn’t sound so bad. Compared to Mosler’s problems it’s pretty minor.
Can you comment on security of the parking garage? I realized after I visited that it is open to the public all day (no dedicated resident parking) and only locked up at night. Has there been any concerns over that?
Any other comments on 5th & Madison from residents would be great. I agree it’s a beautiful building.
Ace: Definitely not as bad as Mosler, but still a serious problem which must be resolved. It’s really not fun coming home to a unit permeated with someone else’s cooking smells or any other odors they might be producing.
Each unit has an assigned parking space and storage space in the garage. There was a break-in to one of the storage spaces and they are now working to make these more secure. There is also now 24hr security for both the condo and office building next door.
Is it true 5th and Madison lost power for over 24 hours last week?
There was an article in the PI that said an underground vault flooded and blacked out a condo ‘under construction’ on the corner of 5th and Madison.
Eh…consider it a free workout plan I guess.
Any updates on 5th and Madison? I noticed they are still trying to sell the last dozen condo’s, and the price of resales has been dropping steadily.
Any progress on the air quality issues?
I’ve heard mixed reports from people who live there and still trying to make up my mind.
i rented at 5th and madison up until march. it seems like a lot of the building is renters.
there are still a lot of empty condo’s. the top floor is entirely unsold as far as I could tell. you should be able to get a good deal.
overall the building and location is ok but not great. there isn’t much in the way of amenities.
major problems is the parking is completely unsecured (open to public most of the time) and i saw bums wandering around there several times (the library is a major bum magnet). lucky i don’t drive but this was a common complaint. i did hear about the breakins in the storage units in the parking level. if you have a car or need the storage then it would suck.
apparently they are going to fix the ventilation issue. mine got better when the smelly renters next door moved out. you can always open a window.
Negative on the good deals, they still have the 2007 move-in pricing on the units! After nearly 2 years!
the major problem here at 909 5th is security.
since the library tightened up security and they opened the new federal court park across the street there are too many homeless/drug addicts loitering and never any police. the parking levels at 909 are apparently an attractive place to shoot up, have sex or relieve oneself. as a result it is highly unsafe and also unsanitary. more than once i’ve found needles, condom’s and human waste near my car. i also have seen several people sleeping in here.
yes, there are camera’s but what they really need to do is lock down the parking level. because it is shared by the condo and the building next door, and open to the public, anyone can wander in any time of the day or night. it’s a no-brainer but it costs $$$ so it will continue to be a problem.
Chris – the developer is starting to get realistic on 5th and Madison prices. I spoke to a Williams agent on the weekend and they said to expect some bargains here soon as they move to clear the inventory.
One of the 5th floor condo’s has been discounted under $400k and they just repriced another one today down to $470 a square foot which isn’t bad.
The owners trying to sell probably aren’t too happy.
Level 9- I am the garage manager for this building. The security at this facility is second to none and if an issue is presented it is rectified. Grill gates are closed after 7:00pm for access only by card holders. A maintenance man walks the garage continuously cleaning up any debris etc. I receive a report if any transient type debris is found (there is none). With our security and garage attendants consistintly patrolling,I am confident in saying that we have one of the lowest incidents of unwanted guests. The homeless at the library are not an issue, they are simply homeless, talk to them and say hi they say hi back. They actually read.
I toured this building again recently, and it’s pretty obvious 5th and Madison has been a disaster for everyone who ‘invested’ in it. Prices have been sinking every month, and the developer has started to slash prices on their unsold units, which has made it a race to the bottom. They don’t appear to be able to sell condo’s even under $500 sq ft, and it a big chunk of the building is empty, including several of the upper floors and the entire penthouse level.
People who paid top dollar to buy in this building are going to be underwater for a long time, because it lacks amenities to compete with other condo’s. It hasn’t aged well either, and it’s starting to look a little shabby in the common areas.
I did have to laugh at the perpetual cheeriness of the Williams agent though. Those people must be on a large dose of happy pills. I’d be ready to throw myself out the window if I’d been trying to sell this turkey for three years.
There is an 04 plan listed on the MLS for $372 a square foot, which is a new low for the Fifth and Madison condo.
Pretty much every current MLS listing there is underwater by $50k or more….one of them is $100k down.
the 0,1,and 2 units are on one vent/fan system. the 3,4,and 5 units are on another vent/fan system. The two fans per floor run continuously. I have a 3 unit and I have no moisture problem in either of my bathrooms.
Are you speaking of the foreclosured unit 204? Of course this unit will sell for less than the value of the unit. One thing to note is the HOA fees did not increase in 2010.
I’m more concerned about the lack of security in the garage and the fact that the residents are not notified about problems/concerns (breakins)in the building.
There are three penthouse units. Two have been bought and one remains unsold. One of the penthouses did an extensive remodel. One of the penthouses is being resold because the owner has relocated.
I do have a problem with the amenities. For example, the board bought new chairs and table for the common area when they could have purchased a gate to seperate the dog area from the rest of the patio. But this is a problem with the board.
PH3 just cut their price again by $50k – now it’s $150k under last sale. I haven’t seen a sale listed for the the other penthouse. I’d be shocked if someone paid $1000 per square foot.
Overall the building does lack amenities compared to others around town. It’s a pity because it looks great from outside, but the lobby etc is pretty ordinary.
What’s the new restaurant like?
sips is pretty busy during their happy hour. prices are a little bit more than purple. food is good. a definite advantage. They have valet parking for those needing it. Downstairs garage is hard to get into after 7 pm for non residents.
ph2 is being sold by the developer. They have started putting in the finishing touches, so it will be sold as finished.
I agree there are a lot of renters and they have the same rights to everything that owners do so there is more wear and tear to the facilities. In most condos, renters have to pay an extra fee. Butt he developer still owns so many units, this would never pass and the board lacks leadership ability.
What do people think about the auction?
My gut feel is there are too many problems with this building to risk it, even at a cheap price.
I live in the building and I have the funds to buy another unit and I’m not buying.
I live in the building and have a few rebuttals to the above posts:
Many professional people bought here, including engineers, BECAUSE of the good mechanicals. Of course there are exhaust fans in all the bathrooms. They are unobtrusive, flat vents that run continuously, but you can’t hear them. I can take a long shower, and when I step out, the mirror is not even fogged.
The HVAC system is by water pump, so it is also very quiet and efficient and occupies almost no space in the unit, unlike many condos such as Cosmo or Olive 8. My unit stays perfectly warm in the winter for less than $20 a month electric bill.
The hot water comes on the instant you turn it on, unlike some condos I have lived in.
On parking, whoever wrote that about sex, excrement, needles, condoms, and sleeping bums, they are completely lying. Ditto with bums in the park across the street. That is the Federal Court of Appeals and they don’t allow bums at all. The same rules apply to that place as do at a military base. It is strictly patrolled and exquisitely secure. We have 24/7 security in this building and garage. My husband is a security professional and he is satisfied with the security here.
And lastly, as to amenities, this is a boutique building. It is smaller, more exclusive, which some people prefer, myself included. It has a great residents lounge, outdoor deck, probably the best condo plaza, as well as a dog park and gym. It lacks a pool and hot tub. I don’t wish to pay for a pool. I don’t want to soak in an unsanitary community hot tub, but if you do, there are buildings that offer them – just not this one.
Do you have a oven or stove in your resident lounge with a full kitchen?
Has the board or developer told the owners about the attorneys response about the ventalation issues?
Thankfully there is no stove in residents lounge kitchen. We don’t have to pay the electric and gas and oven cleaning bills for another’s parties. It makes it safer and cleaner, too. No smoke and grease. As for ventilation issues, only a couple of people have complained, and their complaints are being looked into. If you have complaints, I suggest you air them in resident meetings, not on the internet.
If only a couple of people complained about the ventilation issues, why did the board hire attorneys. Seems like a waste of money for the rest of the owners?
If residents rent out the residents lounge for parties, how do they cook their food if they have not oven or cooktop?
I don’t see any more info about the LEED certification. Did the building come in as Gold as advertised? The building has been occupied since November 07.
govt may be slow but not as slow as the builder/developer-over 2 years for LEED certification. OR maybe the developer is incapable of getting the promised LEED certification.
So you leave your guest and trot (you’ll have to run) back to your unit to cook the food. High end units…
The building is leadfree. Oh, you meant LEED? Sorry!
I feel sorry for my friend who was about to list his unit. The auction prices are lower than his mortgage balance. I suspect we haven’t seen the last foreclosure here.
I am an owner at the 5th and Madison and have been here for over two years. My husband and I love our unit the building and the neighborhood. The units are very quiet since there is concrete between floors and all the windows bring in an amazing amount of light. The shades in the windows are great for when you want to block the sun. The unit is well built and everything has worked well for us. Our neighbors are all nice to us and our guests and the amenities are just right for a smaller building and also keep our dues down. The absolute best thing a out the neighborhood is the proximity to the library. We don’t buy books anymore as we just walk across the street to grab anything that we could want to read. We’re close to all transit lines and have easy driving access to I-5 and 99. Overall we are very happy and we have talked with many residents in our building who feel the same way.
Dues are high and I expect them to be raised next year. The board spent money hiring a lawyer for the Hvac, hired a company to bolt down some panels, and fix the noise problems. Homeowners recieved a bill for $1.12 for the HVAC inspection and the restaurant hooked up to the condo gas lines for free gas to the restaurants commercial grills.
I agree the building is great. The location is even better. The problem is the developer and not coming through on things that were promised. The problem is the developer is bailing before he fixes all of the residents complaints. Why won’t the board and developer agree to release the lawyer’s report on the HVAC?
Homeowners received a bill for how much?
I’m interested in buying. A unit is currently listed at $300k, is this a good deal?
Don’t pay more than $400 a square foot. And review the last 12 months of HOA board minutes to understand all of the building issues before you buy.