Lumen_actualSo my husband and I are thinking about selling our condo in Belltown to move into a bigger place. We are constantly on the look out for new construction projects. There are two condos that caught our eyes, Lumen and Mosler Lofts.

Lumen is located at the corner of 5th and Mercer St, sitting on the former site of Tower Records. They had their public opening on Sat. Hewitt is the architect for Lumen as well as many Seattle's highly stylized building including The Klee and The McGuire in Belltown, and  Harbor Steps in downtown Seattle. It is a concrete, steel and glass construction. The interior is design by renowned local designer, Garret Cord Werner who also designed the Avenue One condo and The Vine in Belltown.

The cool thing that I like about this construction is the clean look.  From the exterior that has floor to ceiling glass to the interior, the moment you walk into their one bedroom model, you feel very comfortable with the wide hallway, tall ceilings and polished concrete floors. The layout is very functional. It reminds me very much of The Klee but with a higher end design. When you are purchasing new construction, the nice thing is the ability to customize the unit to your preference. Lumen definitely offers home buyers many options for upgrades. As an example, if you like more privacy for your bedroom, you can upgrade to a movable opaque glass wall. Worry about not having enough storage space?  There’s always a Garret Cord designer bed and cupboard that has room for all your personal items.

If you don’t like the traditional wood finishes for your kitchen cabinet, go with the white enamel. Both are going to give you a clean look with the refrigerator and dishwasher hiding behind them, even the kitchen electrical outlet is encased into the unit, very clear and sleek looking.

The only thing (and a pretty big thing) that will keep a home buyer from picking Lumen is the price. Let’s take their one bedroom courtyard unit with the patio as an example. The asking price is $500,000 for a 676 square feet unit. I mean it’s nice to have a patio but for $739/square feet?  It seems way over priced. I can purchase a bigger place for less money like the one bedroom in Mosler Lofts which starts at low $400,000. Or pay 5% more for a huge one bedroom which is 45% bigger and comes with a balcony.

Mosler_lofts_2So what about Mosler Lofts? This condo project is located on 3rd and Clay in Belltown. Since their opening in February, they have sold about 63% of the units. This is a high rise condo project. It has features similar to Lumen, the high ceiling, concrete and steel design. Mosler Lofts focuses more on using eco-friendly finishes. It also features hardwood flooring, exposed concrete ceiling and stainless steel appliances. Mosler Lofts has a great location. It is on a quiet street of Belltown, easily accessible to restaurants, cafes and stores and yet residents do not have to deal too much with the weekend noise coming from the bars and pubs along 1st Avenue.

If you are looking at investing, Mosler Lofts is a better buy than Lumen. In fact, I feel that Mosler Lofts should price their units higher. If they go 2-5% higher, I think the market will still be receptive to it. I was told the developer is going to raise their prices soon. Well, we’ll see how much higher.

Quick snapshot

Lumen :                
Completion date end of 2006- early 2007
500-1,200 square feet
$200,000 to over $900,000
100 units

Mosler Lofts:          
Completion Summer 2007
12 story project with 160 units
Low $200,000 to over $700,000
148 units 

Both projects require 5% earnest money to write up an offer.


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