With only 17 of 114 units sold, condo developer Intracorp bailed out of its Expo 62 development at 2nd and John St. in Lower Queen Anne. The project is now expected to be completed in summer 2008 as luxury apartments.
There has been much debate within the Seattle real estate community about the underlying cause of this projects failure. Most people pin the blame on the disconnected and bizarre marketing creative or simply the overall decline of market conditions. I was personally vested in Expo 62 as a buyer. I’ve spent the last year continuously researching this building and I feel I can offer a more specific point of failure within the marketing strategy itself.
Expo 62′s unit inventory was released in phases. Initially, only 30 units were offered for pre-sale, most of which were among the least desirable in the building. The 27 condo units selected were not representative of the building as a whole, while the 3 live/work lofts were representative and successful with 2/3 selling immediately. The 27 initial condo units were on lower floors, and did not include the more expensive floorplans available in the building. On numerous occasions in the sales center, visitors were confused about why they couldn’t buy the unit they wanted and simply walked out frustrated. During this “phase 1″ of pre-sales between March and July of 2007, 13/30 available units were sold. This indicates that during the final 6 months, only 4 additional units were sold.
As soon as the market slowed and the rain began, this strategy completely backfired and saw Intracorp making a last ditch attempt to attract interest by updating the Expo62.com website to show all units as available, even the units that were pre-sold at the time. The moral of the story is that no matter what industry you do business in, if your marketing strategy doesn’t allow your sales staff to sell people what they want – when they want it… the competition will.