The South Lake Union sneak preview took place last Saturday under a giant white tent next to the Discovery center. It was certainly one of the events that many prospective buyers have been waiting for with anticipation. DJ playing music, hors d’oeuvres served and a steady stream of Martinis from one of many drink stations. The sneak preview showcased the four condo projects that Vulcan has been planning over the last few years. It is evident that the market has a bigger appetite for more of Vulcan’s condos after the successful sell out of their units in the 2200 Westlake project. The four new condos will add approximately 596 units to the South Lake Union community.
This is going to be a 450,000-square-foot, mixed-use development with residential units occupying from 6 to18 stories in the South tower. It is going to be right across from 2200 Westlake on 9th and Denny Way. Vulcan is designing the development as a high performance "green" building and it will feature more natural daylight than traditional buildings, energy and water saving fixtures, and the use of environmentally sensitive building materials. It will also feature a garden terrace, an exercise facility and an entry atrium. This will be a glass building so it looks like Seattle is starting to catch up with Vancouver glass skyline (we can all thank our planning boards that 7 story earth-toned synthetic stucco projects are a thing of the past).
There will be four different standard color palette options for homebuyers. Acrylic door panels are available to separate the bedroom and living area. Other features include Bosch appliances, limestone, wood, and broadloom carpets. Their open one bedroom floor plan features a private entrance area, open living room, balcony and end to end windows from the bedroom to the living room.
My favorite 2 bedroom floor plan is their 05 series. Windows stretch all the way from the living room to the two bedrooms giving each room an expansive view of the neighborhood. One draw back of the 05 series is that it comes with a small balcony. Their biggest unit is approximately 2,300 square feet: a 2 bedroom plus den penthouse that comes with two separate balconies Most of the floor plans are nicely layed out and very functional.
Estimated Price range:
Open One Bedroom- 703 sq. ft.
Low $400,000s to high $500,000s
One Bedroom- 705-895 sq. ft.
Mid $400,000s to mid $700,000s
One Bedroom + Den- 877-977 sq. ft.
high $500,000s to low $800,000s
Two Bedroom- 1127-1375 sq. ft.
high $700,000s to over $1 million
Penthouses- 1559-2285 sq. ft.
Price over $1.6 million
This project is targeting first time home buyers. It will include 94 homes featuring a mix of flat lofts, full height lofts and flexi lofts. Veer Lofts is geared towards Manhattan loft style with exposed beam ceiling, concrete floor and open layout.
During the event, it seemed like most visitors preferred the flexi-lofts. I can see why. The flexi lofts are approximately 950 square feet with 635 square feet on the main level and 315 square feet on the loft level. Compared to the other floor plans, the flexi loft has a bigger bedroom space and definitely more room for furniture. SCR readers now know which floor plan will probably sell out first. [update: SCR readers aren’t unanimous about this due to the lower ceiling height in the sleeping section…I guess we’ll have to wait and see if the lower sleeping ceiling is a deal breaker for most buyers]
If you are thinking of investing in this condo, you may be in for a big disappointment. Sources from the sales center revealed that this condo is targeted more for buyers who are purchasing it as a primary residence. Unlike Enso and Rollin, Veer loft may not allow investment purchase or may come with a lower investor cap.
Estimated price range:
Flat lofts- 620-788 sq.ft.
Mid $200,000-mid $400,000
Flexi lofts- 640-740 sq. ft.
Mid $300,000-low $500,000
Full height lofts- 800-1,000 sq.ft.
Right behind the Cinerama will be the new location for The Martin. This 24 story development will include 170 condominium unit and 4,000 square feet of retail space.
Homes feature open and efficient floor plans with gas fireplaces and expansive windows. Other features include a multi-level roof deck terrace with outdoor kitchen, grilling area and outdoor fire place. This project will appeal to young professionals who work in the downtown area. There is also a dog park on the sixth floor. I think it is great that developer is starting to include pet friendly amenities in their projects – I know my yellow lab is getting bored of the same crowd on Second and Bell.
The Martin is the only condo that doesn’t have any floor plans for review at the moment. Bright, clean and minimal is the way the condo is being described (perhaps it will be Lumen-esque).
Prices for one bedroom will start from Mid $400,000’s to $600,000 and two bedrooms will be around $600,000 to $800,000.
Rollin St is going to be an 11 story project which will feature 208 Soho style lofts and 25,000 square feet of retail space. This 414,000 square feet development will be located at the northeast corner of Westlake Ave North and Denny Way.
Rollin St homes will include features like high ceilings, walls of floor-to-ceiling windows, gourmet kitchens, hardwood floors, Zebra strip wood cabinets and fireplaces. Home buyers can either take out or add a different height sliding door. The theme at Rollin like Lumen and others is that you can create your own flexible living space. Some of the finishes displayed has a antique bronzed feel to it. It will be interesting to see how the final finishes combination will turn out.
Many of their two bedrooms have a long stretch of balcony. You will either find an L shaped balcony on the corner of the living area or end to end living room and bedroom balcony or balcony that wrapped around two side of the unit.
Estimated Price range:
Open one bedroom- 703-1,085 sq. ft.
Two bedroom and Penthouse- 1,303-2,003 sq.ft.
$800,000-Over 1 million
This sneak preview event only gives prospective buyers a sniff of the condo. The real bite is still far along. Vulcan is not using a traditional sales method for their three condos (Veer Lofts, Enso and Rollin St). Buyers who are interested in purchasing a unit have to go through a few hoops before becoming a true Vulcannaire.
1.) First, you will have to call up for an informational overview appointment on June 21st. During the informational overview appointment, you will be given more information on how to prepare yourself if you want to buy a unit in any of the three condos. You will look at floor plan and fill out a Homebuyer preference form. You will mostly likely be given information on how to get yourselves pre-approved by their preferred lender at that point.
2.) You will fill out a lottery card and submit your pre-approval for the drawing by Sept 1st. Existing 2200 Westlake homeowners can also enter the drawing. In fact, they will have a special 2200 Westlake box for each condo. Five 2200 Westlake homeowners will be randomly picked first for each project. After these five lottery cards have been chosen, the remaining 2200 Westlake buyer box will be merged into the larger project boxes and the random drawing will continue.
3.) The order in which the cards are drawn determines the order of the home selection. Once the drawing is complete, you will be contacted and given a day and time to select your home. Notification of this selection appointment will take place beginning the week of Sept 10 and ending Sept 24th. You will be given 8 hours to confirm if you would still like to keep the home selection appointment.
4.) Finally, around late Sept or early Oct you will attend the home selection appointment. During the appointment, you will need to sign a purchase and sale agreement and provide a 5% good faith deposit.
5.) The lottery card you enter for the drawing must match that of the name(s) on the purchase and sale agreement. If you are interested in two different condos, you are allowed to enter one lottery card in each condo that you are interested in.
A few tips:
1.) Organize your files and get your pre-approval by a lender. This helps you to focus on the price range that you should look at.
2.) Think about the condo that you are interested in. If you are buying as an investment and feel that Enso is your first choice and Rollin is your 2nd choice.You may want to enter both. Since Rollin has more units (208) than Enso. Your chances are higher with Rollin. If you don’t get Enso, you might get Rollin. If you only enter one, you might end up having none. If you are so lucky to have both, you can always have the option of dropping one.
3.) Look at the different floor plans and start stack ranking them in terms of the top five floor plans that you like. If someone before you picks the unit you like, you will know what your back up units are.
4.) Consider retaining an experienced Realtor (hint, hint). Read here for my post on why you should be wary of purchasing a condo naked.
So are you ready to become a Vulcannaire?
Click here to request for a detailed comparison of the 4 condos in SLU.
Technorati Tags: Enso, Rollin, The Martin, Veer lofts, South Lake Union condos, Rollin condo, Enso condo, Veer Lofts condo, The Martin condo, Discovery Center, Lumen, 2200 Westlake, Pan Pacific Hotel/condo
Went to the event over the weekend, I shouldn’t have even bothered.
I think Vulcan is out of their mind with the pricing on these projects.
I’m not sure that your explanation of the drawing order is correct. As I understand it, after reading the information provided at the event, the first five cards drawn for each project will be from the box holding existing Vulcan RE buyers (ie, 2200), and after that the two boxes (new buyers and existing Vulcan buyers) will be mixed together as they proceed with the drawing. In other words, if you previously bought at 2200 and are interested in buying ANOTHER Vulcan property then you are rewarded with a better chance in the lottery. Wonder who’s pulling the cards out of the boxes…
And I agree about the pricing. After hearing that relatively few units would be offered at the “mid $200’s” level, and that the majority of the next level units would be priced at $350+, I was disappointed. Not exaclty first-time homebuyer pricing, unless you are happy with 600sf.
I should have specified – I was referring to the Veer Lofts development in my pricing rant.
I’ve clarified that. Thanks for the heads up!
I must say I went into the event looking specifically at the flex loft units at Veer, anticipating that I wouldn’t be able to afford the full loft layout as a first time homebuyer (i was correct). But I came out almost certain that I wouldn’t buy the flex layout.
The upper level will have less than 5’6″ of clearance from floor to ceiling, so us average to tall people will have to hunch, bend over or even crawl to maneuver around. And how exactly are you supposed to get your furniture to the upper level with only a ladder to take you up? (only the full lofts have a stair case) Not to mention trying to make it to the bathroom in the middle of the night without breaking your neck. (again, only the full lofts have a bathroom on the second floor)
I have spoken with a few people about this and we are all disappointed with the details we saw/heard.
I agree the flexi-lofts aren’t going to be the most popular floor plan due to it’s limited loft height.
That said, however, sleeping lofts are not uncommon in Seattle. Others that come to mind – 80 S. Jackson Lofts, 19th Avenue Lofts, even Seattle Heights. There’s a another new project with a sleeping loft layout but I can’t remember which one right now.
Hey Ben, you are probably referring to the fairly new condo, Luminaire. Another one will be West Queen Anne School condo.
I went to the event as well, and I thought the event was very much like most events downtown. However, I thought this has a bit more substance.
That being said, I think the Veer Lofts are great. I have been to the 19th Avenue Lofts with their abbreviated ceiling height in the second floor… they look fantastic… and there is a ton of things you can do with that space. I wouldn’t be able to stand in it, but I could certainly put a futon couch and watch a nice large flatscreen TV.
As for affordable, I think the most affordable thing in the city is a studio for 250k. If I can get a 10′ ceiling and 600+ square feet of space, I am all over it. If I can get a flexi-loft for $50k more, I might even do that!
Kudos to Vulcan… they could be 1521… or the Four Seasons and charge $2000 a square foot… but they aren’t… they are making a place for people like me.
What is considered affordable is subjective of course. Personally, I think the Vulcans are crazy with these prices.Also who ever is willing to buy one is crazy,but do what makes you happy. Live long and Prosper.
Went to the South Lake Union showroom at Westlake and Denny to have a look. I have to concur that these units are pretty much uniformly overpriced and under-spaced. As first time homebuyers, my wife and I will have to pass. It is amazing to us what some developers will ask for a block of space 25+ feet above street level, and what some people will actually pay for it. Good luck to all you deep pockets out there in fullfilling Mayor Nickles’ urban development dream. I hope you will be happy in your granite, glass and stainless steel coops. We will be looking at the increasingly attractive and available suburbs.
I find the number of incredulous comments a bit surprising. While the Vulcan projects are certainly pricey, they’re in good company: Olive 8, Escala, 5th and Madison, etc. are all expensive.
Views, a downtown location, and any prestige factor normally garner premiums in an economy with sufficient demand. Whether or not demand for high- and ultra-high-end condos falls short of the rapidly increasing supply is of course the $500k question.
Perhaps one disconnect is due to Vulcan’s marketing, especially with respect to Veer. Veer’s marketing appears to target young artist-types, but frankly none of my undiscovered artist friends could possibly afford it, and Vulcan knows that. I think Veer’s ad campaign is designed to entice young hobbyist professionals, e.g. the single Microsoft engineer who spends his weekends with a Hasselblad.
We just bought at Rollin St. The large unit size, glass deck, and overall location were big sellers for us. We also love the fact that it isn’t a high-rise building as those seem a dime a dozen these days.
I am buying at the Enso and there have been some miscommunication regarding the kitchen upgrades. Standard features in the show unit (we were told by the staff that they are standard) turned out not to be so after the initial meeting with their design team. We are now required to pay for things which we were told were standard. Are there any other Enso buyers facing this problem and what have been their experiences so far?
i think you may have to live with it. if you really want to make a stink, you can tell them you want to withdraw and they might even give you the earnest money back. on the other hand, if you intend to go forward with the purchase and they refuse to honor their sales person’s promise, than you’re kind of up the creek.
Thanks for your response. Do you thing I have any legal recourse?
You may want to consult a condo attorney and review the contract with him/her.
Thanks Wendy. We are talking about less than 5K. Are there any authorities/bodies who give free consultation?
at the end of the day most lawyers will likely tell you this is in the grey area and you can threaten to sue them if you think the harm to you justifies the $5-10k a lawyer will charge you to go to the mat. if i were you, i’d contact the seller directly, threaten to sue, and if they refuse to make it right, decide of the cost of suing is less than the benefit of a potential ruling in your favor.
Be sure to ask LOTS of questions about upgrades if buying a new unit. I have noticed that there IS some confusion sometimes on what is standard, and what is an upgrade. Ask more than one person and if there is uncertainty, get it in writing. Hope it works out for you.
And remember, most of what is on the showroom floor are usually upgrades. Of course, they want it to look as good as possible!
I am curious about what the upgrade is that you were told was standard? Feel free to share or not.
totally agree with “newbuyer.” when in doubt, get it in writing and have your agent add it to the addendum for the purchase and sales agreement so there’s zero confusion later on.
Can’t believe people are paying this much for new construction in South Lake Union. What is the fuss about? There’s nothing there…
I’d love for an explanation of why SLU seems to be at a relatively higher/comparable pricepoint to Belltown.
i agree there’s nothing in SLU today. i suppose people are betting that in the future it will be this wonderful neighborhood to live in but right now it feels like a ton of traffic and no character with a whole foods in the middle.
you are right. It doesn’t feel like much now, but in as little as a couple of years you will really be surprised by all of the changes. We bought a place in that area that will be finished in 2009 and by then I expect it to be well on it’s way. Not completed by any means, but on it’s way to becoming a really vibrant, clean, area. I hope that with all the new construction though, that it still has a lot of character and charm like I envision it to have.
I heard from some of the people at SLU Discovery center that The Martin has been on hold! Appears that Vulcan is concerned that with increased construction costs and inventory this project may not be competitive at this time.
Anyone else have any news about this?
It was put on hold long ago. We heard that back in April. So I don’t think that it is because of recent events…