I recently had a chance to revisit the Domaine condo project and met with Kathryn Armstrong, VP of Intracorp, Domaine’s developer. We had a nice chat about the condo and talked mainly about the origins of the project, her position on the Seattle market, and how she sees home buyers taste and preferences changing in the future.
During our conversation, she pointed out that the site was picked for its proximity to downtown Seattle, its east facing slope with views of Lake Union, Gas Works Park and the Cascades, and its walking distance to Lake Union and Fremont. So, with so many new construction projects going on in downtown/Belltown area, I asked if she is concerned Domaine will be facing strong competition. Kathryn felt that there are home buyers who want to be in all the action like living in Belltown /downtown and there are others who don’t. A lot of home buyers prefer to be in a place where there is more open space and they can feel like part of the neighborhood. This is something she believes Domaine offers.
“Domaine provides home buyers with more open space. There is a central landscaped courtyard and all the homes come with large patios or decks. The tree shaded land and oversized decks give home buyers more private outdoor space; something which is becoming harder to find in new construction in Belltown/downtown.” Kathryn also feels positive about the condo market in Seattle. In her view, the strong job growth is a fundamental factor allowing the Seattle property market to continue to grow.
So what are developers going to do to differentiate their projects in the future? It seems like so many condos come with concrete and steel construction, stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors. Kathryn feels that even though many new projects have concrete and steel, it doesn’t matter. “What is more important is how they are all put together, the design and the style that makes it different. Just like using the same fabric to make different garments.” The design needs to be thoughtful and tailored to the people who are going to live in it.
She pointed out that buyers taste and preferences are changing. Many are now looking for quality of space rather than quantity of space. Home buyers are getting more sophisticated, they know more about what they want and what they are looking for. Their level of expectations has risen. They want more thoughtful layouts and innovative storage systems. Open space is much preferred to compartmentalized space. More customized options like flexibility of having or not having a particular wall, fireplace, and doors. Open versus closed kitchen. Home buyers are increasingly expecting to tailor their own space for how they live. They want a condo that has unique character and something that reflects their own style.
So what’s next for Intracorp? Their next project is going to be on 2nd Ave N and John St, next to the Seattle Center. According to Kathryn, it is going to be completely different from Domaine. There will be around 114 units in this new project including 10 work/live homes along a terrace elevated from the street. The terrace also serves as an entrance for these homes. There will be more information coming up in a few months’ time. Completion date for this condo is going to be 2008.
Three featured homes with buyer incentives:
#601 William Sonoma furniture
#1101 Flat screen TV
#5201 Hardwood floors
Domaine most unique floor plan is their 2 bedroom town home (Building 3) with an upper lofts space that has large windows on top of it. It feels like a sky light lofts.
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