Archive for the ‘Condos’ Category

Expo 62 Condos Converted to Axis Apartments

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Expo 62 Axis Apartments on May 28, 2008

Expo 62′s branding was widely criticized by many in the Seattle real estate community, but at least the brand was distinctive. Prometheus Real Estate Group, the apartment developer who acquired Expo 62 from Intracorp, has rebranded the development as Axis Apartments.

Axis Apartments Logo
- Or -

Expo 62 Site from 2007

Has renting in downtown Seattle become more expensive than owning? Or perhaps Axis Apartments is highly ambitious? I purchased a condo at Parc Belltown in March, and I pay less per month to own a comparable unit than it now costs to rent at Axis Apartments.

Axis Apartments Floorplans Beds Baths Monthly Rent
0 Bed 1 Bath Studio 1 $1175-$1425
1 Bed 1 Bath 1 1 $1450-$1996
1X1 Plus Den 1 1 $1555-$2310
Live/Work Lofts 1 1.5 $1785-$3520
2 Beds 2 Baths 2 2 $2145-$2900
Penthouse 2 2 $2870-$3980

The most interesting floorplans are the two-story townhouse style live/work lofts with direct sidewalk access. These units have become increasingly popular and typically sell for $400-600k as condos, but I’m not aware of any that are available for rent in traditional apartment communities like Axis. Where else can you rent a two-level live/work loft in an apartment building near downtown Seattle?

Gallery Belltown Closing Schedule

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Gallery Belltown announced their newest closing scheduled tonight at a private buyers event at the Space Needle. Floors 1-5 are now scheduled to close in August, with floors 6-9 following in September, and floors 10-13 set to close by the end of October.

Gallery Belltown, June 4th, 2008

Construction is moving along now with the exterior of Gallery nearly complete. Part of me really wishes I had bought at Gallery rather than the Parc, but the 30% price jump for a similar unit was just too much to bear. Once complete, Gallery will likely be the best looking building in Belltown other than Mosler Lofts, which was also architected by Mithun.

Expo 62 Condos Sold into Apartments

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

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.

Expo 62 Sold as 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.

Expo 62 over Gallery Belltown

Monday, November 12th, 2007

After months of research and two earnest money backed reservations at both Expo 62 and Gallery, I have finally settled on my next condo purchase. Expo 62 is my choice at a $300-375k price point.

Expo 62 from East

Expo 62 unit 407 is actually located on effectively the 3rd floor, which provides sound and dalmatian absorbing concrete construction beneath. At only 454 square feet, this unit is much smaller than the unit I was purchasing at Gallery. However, this unit includes a 150 square foot terrace, with excellent and virtually guaranteed views of the Space Needle and Pacific Science Museum arches for all time. With the seemingly endless new condo construction in Seattle’s lower queen anne and belltown neighborhoods, the only view I am interested in investing in is one that could never be obstructed. There is barely enough room for my condo home theater, but it will definitely fit while taking advantage of the flexible acoustic environment that this unit in particular offers.

Expo 62 Entrance

I should also point out that I only began actively searching for new construction condos again after Gallery decided to split all of their awesome 2-story Sky Loft plans into 1-story 600 square foot open one bedroom plans. I feel that this will negatively affect the value and potential appreciation of open one bedroom units in less desirable sections of the building. This design change also dramatically increased the number of units in the building, and while the amenities at Gallery are superior, I would prefer to share them with a few dozen $650k+ Sky Loft residents rather than twice as many $375k open one bedroom residents. Ultimately, the luxury proposition of Gallery has been sacrificed for the profitability of the development, and as a result I am no longer willing to pay the luxury concrete and steel premium.

Gallery Condominiums in Belltown

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

If you’re single and don’t need a huge floorplan, definitely check out the open 1 bedroom plans at the Gallery sales center. Apparently, I’m now single and as a direct result have purchased unit #310. Kate Dog will have a nice balcony from which to blend in with the white architectural design element.

Gallery Condominiums - Belltown

Expo 62 Sales Center Opens

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

Expo 62 has opened with first looks at a limited number of floorplans and pricing information. I’m most interested in the live / work lofts as they feature desirable concrete, steel, and glass construction with Dalmatian-friendly street access. The 3rd floor and above feature wood construction condos which will be competing on price with the Gallery condo development and infamous wood frame condo failure Trio see it here. All 3 developments should complete construction nearly simultaneously and within a 2-block radius on the edge of Belltown and Queen Anne – Uptown Seattle perhaps?.

I love the Piet Mondrian windows (reminds me of a vacation in Den Haag, NL)

Expo 62 from North

You’ll notice that the Expo 62 model is encased in glass, thwarting the evil Theresa-monster’s plans to demolish the building using floorplan handouts. The Gallery model was not so lucky…

Condo Home Theater 2.0 in HD

Monday, February 19th, 2007

An audiophile’s approach to any decision is all about compromise. As one salesman so aptly explained, “You don’t want the best component, you want the one that sucks the least.”

Choosing to live in a condo over a house is a huge concession for someone with a passion for music and cinema. Not only do you need to make the best use of the available $500+ per square foot space, but also keep your volume down for the neighbors. Alright, the hell with the neighbors, let’s set about optimizing our home theater for that cozy living room, or cubby hole as Theresa so affectionately calls it.

Upgrading to a flat screen HDTV is a great way to start. However, these sleek sexy sets also present a new problem: Where does that full-size center channel speaker go?

I searched the A/V furniture market for my requirements:

  • Flat screen TV
  • Turntable shelf check that
  • Center channel speaker shelf

The problem is that on any rack, the turntable needs to be on the top so that you can put records on it. The center channel speaker also needs to be as elevated as possible. Apparently I’m one of the few people who own both a turntable and a center speaker, and I don’t see any easy solution from the purpose-built audio furniture available.

Just when I was about to give up on flat screens altogether, my favorite furniture retailer, Room and Board, has unwittingly created an ideal solution:

This sliding-door media cabinet maximizes floor space, accessibility, storage, ventilation, remote control operation, and provides a 5-foot high area on which you can place a meaty center channel speaker. This would require drilling through the back of one of the middle shelves to channel the turntable cables back to the amp and power, but that’s something even my unhandy skills can easily work out.

Like most solutions that solve multiple problems, it’s expensive at $3,000 before taxes or delivery. That’s a whopping 50% more than the Sony KDL-XBR3 that I plan to mate it with. That said, I haven’t seen a better looking way to keep my home theater sounding great.

Expo 62

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

Belltown isn’t really my pace, and I have grown to love Lower Queen Anne in every way. There seems to be a hotspot for condo development right on the boundary of these neighborhoods, essentially the Denny corridor.

Mosler Lofts 1 bedrooms were way overpriced for open 1 bedroom floorplans, which we don’t really like. Expo 62 seems much more reasonable, as long as the floorplans have proper bedrooms.

Expo 62