So many great things to do in Seattle!

[Editor’s note: I’m super excited to announce Sarah Payson as RCG’s newest contributor. She runs The Payson Group with her husband John Payson, who together are the first “M Agents” in Seattle. I recently had the chance to spend a day with them and was blown away by how two people could be both super-motivated and super-wonderful!   One of the things that they will undoubtably bring to RCG is an active involvement in the local community… and an excellent example of that is their active Facebook Page: 365 Things To Do In Seattle that’s grown to over 7,700 fans in about a month.  Seeing the success they’re having with this page, I asked Sarah if she’d start her RCG contributions with a post about that project.   -Dustin]

365 things to doAre you new to Seattle WA?  Have you been here a while but are tired of the same old routine?

We want to get you connected with your neighborhoods around Seattle and the Eastside, that’s why we started “365 Things to do in Seattle WA

Are you going? REBarCampSeattle and more…

logoThere are a ton of great Seattle real estate events in the near future with RCG contributors playing a huge part, so last week I asked RCG contributors to let me know which events they were going to be participating in and I thought I’d give a quick summary…

REBarCamp Seattle, 9/8 (tomorrow!):

  • A gathering of passionate real estate professionals. A casual, open, and fun way to learn about cutting edge real estate marketing ideas.
  • RCG Contributors attending include: Rhonda Porter, Ardell DellaLoggia, Galen Ward, and Cortney Cooper

SCKAR Event, 9/22:

  • How how to use Social Media panel discussion with Rhona Porter, David Gibbons and Matt Heinz.  Moderated by Claudia Wicks.

Lenders Connect (WAMP), 10/5:

  • 18th Annual wholesale lenders conference
  • Rhona Porter, Jillayne Schlicke (speaker)

REbarcamp Bellevue, 10/6:

  • Rhonda Porter (organizer!), Ardell DellaLoggia

Washington State Association of Realtors Convention, 10/12 & 10/13:

  • Jillayne Schlicke (speaker)

Also, if you check out the event conversation on FB, you’ll see that there’s also a variety of courses being taught by RCG contributors in the near future!

And If you’re gonna be at any of these events, let us know to look out for you!

Pine is dying, Urbnlivn get together, SLU delays


Last Tuesday the POWHat Neighborhood Association hosted the developers of Pine and Belmont so the community could find out more about the controversial project. I was unable to attend though Carl Goodman did and contributed an excellent article to Urbnlivn, Pine + Belmont Condo Development: More Details Revealed. Unfortunately the details are not too promising. The biggest concern being that they will not be replacing the five bars they are displacing over noise concerns even though their target demographic is young singles. Capitol Hill won’t be the same.

I would also like to announce the first ever Urbnlivn meetup. If you’re interested in condos and all things new downtown the date to save is January 31st at 7:30.

Project news

South Lake Union

The biggest news out of Paul Allen’s South Lake Union is that all three projects (Enso, Rollin Street and Veer) have announced delays ranging from one to two months. This is the second set of delays.

They say the reason is delays in securing permits but maybe they are busy with the closing of 2200. It must still be in the midst of closing because 6 more units hit the market.

Trace Lofts

Trace Lofts the ‘mysterious’ project at 12th and Madison announced their reservation process [pdf]. Reminder, there is a preview event this Thursday.


Seattle’s ugliest condo may get a little less ugly. It looks like they are re-painting it.

Condos in the news

The Seattle PI had an article that Downtown mostly a male domain. Meanwhile the Seattle Times wonders if Mixed-use buildings bring mixed feelings. On the other hand the New York Times tells of the condo bubble elsewhere in the nation, Buyers Scarce, Many Condos Are for Rent. If any condo project here converts to rentals, my money is on Trio.

Condos off to a busy start

(Editor’s Note: Today is another great day as I get to introduce Matt Goyer as the newest contributor to RCG. I’ve been following Matt’s Urbnlivn website for quite a while and I’ve always been impressed. With urbnlivn, Matt has managed to collect, organize and republish an incredible amount of local condo knowledge. However, if you decide you need more than condo information from Matt, then check out his personal blog, his more general real estate blog, or his contributions on the Redfin’s blog. While I don’t want to pigeonhole Matt into only talking condos, our current plan is to have him synthesize the great condo research he does on Urbanlivn and bring it to RCG on a regular basis. Matt can be reached at mail *at* mattgoyer *dot* com or by leaving a comment below!)

Relative to all of December it was a busy week this past week for new condo construction in Seattle. What made the first week of the new year so busy was three new events on the calendar and lots of action on the MLS.

Three new events

January 9 at 7pm, the POWHat, a community association, is hosting a discussion about proposed condo on Pine. This is the development that started the death of Pine/Pike meme and has been written about in The Stranger, The Seattle Weekly as well as The Seattle PI. Written about not because the developers paid to get in the Saturday New Homes section but written about because it is replacing the independent bars and restaurants which the condo’s marketing people love to tout as the reason why you should move to Capitol Hill. So I’m looking forward to seeing what is replacing the Cha-Cha, Bimbo’s Burritos, the Bus Stop, and Kincora because without those four institutions it’s going to be hard to market this project.

January 18 at at 6pm, Trace Lofts will host their buyers preview. We’re all looking forward to unraveling the mystery that is Trace Lofts. At least no one is upset about this development, yet.

January 19 at 5pm is Decatur Condominiums grand opening gala. Decatur is a conversion originally designed by the Space Needle’s architect. Now the invitation doesn’t mention whether this gala will be black tie or not. I’m assuming no since, I don’t own a tux and the units are supposedly all under $500,000 (people who make less than six figures likely don’t down their own tuxes, right?).

Active week on the MLS

At the beginning of last year most new condo developments shied away from the MLS. But then in the fall as the market slowed more developments listed their inventory hoping to attract more attention. Then towards then end of the year we started seeing price reductions and buyers bonuses; presumably to move inventory before year end. Now that the new year has started prices are increasing and I’m sure we’ll see fewer buyer bonuses.

To start us off, Noma first increased the prices on the 3 units it had on the MLS and then listed the rest of their inventory which is 19 units. They now have 22 listings on the MLS ranging in price from $222,950 to $539,950. I imagine they’re a little frustrated watching Canal’s success.

Olive 8, the development which added 3 floors, had 10 price increases ranging from $20,000 to $50,000. What is odd is that the increases range from 1.5% to 5% and seem fairly random.

9 units from Press 2 were listed. Press is a two phase development originally built as apartments. The first phase was an occupied apartment and has since been converted, phase two was never occupied and renovated.

4 units from Trio came online. Trio is unarguably Seattle’s biggest condo failure with only 28 units sold of 113 in over a year. Glad to see they’re coming to their senses and making their units more accessible to all the users of the MLS. Hopefully this gets them a little more attention in the New Year.

If you’re interested in following the day to day activity in the Seattle condo market be sure to check out Urbnlivn or check back here next week for my weekly updates.

Real Estate Technology Events on Google Calendar

With Google’s recently released calendar feature, they’ve made social networking of events much easier. With this in mind I’ve pre-populated a public calendar with real estate technology events that can be shared (and managed) by a group.

So far, the events that I’ve added to the calendar include:

I’d REALLY like to get some other people interested in real estate technology involved and then we can all work together to keep updated on events no matter what part of the country they occur.

At this point, I’ve tested it out with Galen Ward and he was able to manage the calendar with me (i.e. add, edit and invite people to events). If you’re interested in helping us out with this calendar, just let me know and I’d be happy to add you as a manager as well. (You will need an invite-only gmail account, so let me know if you don’t have one and I can get you one!)

For everyone else, here is an RSS feed of the calendar which can be added to your feed reader so that you can be updated each time a new event is added.

If you want to learn more about Google Calendar, Stopdesign gives a bunch of very useful tips and tricks to get the most out of the tool.

Rich Barton of Zillow talks at Northwest Entrepreneur Network on Friday

Just a quick note to let you know that Rich Barton of Zillow and Expedia will be talking at the Northwest Entrepreneur Network on Friday morning. Here’s the link for anyone who wants to check it out:

Note that you have to get up before breakfast for these meetings 🙂

See you there.

Fremont: the Center of the Universe!

While it has nothing to do with the MIT Forum, I thought it would be fun to present and comment on the TurnHere video of the Republic of Fremont along the lines of Dustin’s post on Ballard.

The video is a lot of fun and gives a great perspective on the funky, hip side of Fremont, while also acknowledging Fremont’s changing demographics.

The Russian in me can’t help but comment on the statue of Lenin that sits in a parking lot of a local Taco Del Mar. Roger Wheeler gives a brief history of the statue on the Fremont Chamber of Commerce website:

Poprad, Slovakia is the place, 1978 the year our story begins. Emil Venkov won a commission to sculpt and cast a bronze statue of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Russian revolutionary leader. He worked for ten years, finishing in 1988 – just in time for the regime to collapse. Demand for Lenin bronzes was nil, with the exception of visiting American teacher Lewis Carpenter. He was intrigued by the bold and unusual design, Lenin striding out of – what – rifles, flames, wheat? Carpenter decided to take the statue home with him, a decoration for a Slovakian restaurant maybe. He decided big time. He mortgaged his house, bought the statue for $13,000, then paid $28,000 to truck it to Scandinavia and ship it via the Panama Canal to Washington state. Carpenter was killed in a car accident in 1994 and his mother, Lydia, was left with a seven-ton Lenin in her Issaquah back pasture. Lydia called Carpenter’s Fremont sculptor-friend, Peter Bevis. Bevis and the Fremont Artwalk Committee were looking for something big to kick off their event. Lenin was just certainly that. After much welding and grinding and banging at Bevis’ Fine Arts Foundry Lenin was ready to thrust his way into Fremont history, being unveiled at Artwalk amid much carping, griping, and fist banging from critics and former countrymen who remembered Lenin as something other than heavy-duty art. Lenin is for sale. For a mere $250,000 (obo), you too can join Lenin’s well-traveled history.

Fremont attracts many local artists there are quite a few galleries. One of my favorites is Frank and Dunya, which features art and collectibles from artists from all over the world.

Some other things mentioned in the video include:

  • The weekly Fremont Sunday Market is an outdoor European-style Market has something for everyone!
  • With the charm of an old home setting, the Fremont Coffee Company is one of the best coffee shops in Fremont (but definitely not the only great one!).
  • The Fremont Troll that sits under the Aurora Bridge is definitely a fun attraction. Interestingly, a street that leads into the troll was recently named Troll Avenue.
  • Sonic Boom Record is a great local record store.

Photos of Halloween in Downtown Ballard

[photopress:archie_mcphee.jpg,thumb,alignright]Our first stop on our Halloween tour was Downtown Ballard where hundreds of kids gather to collect goodies from the local merchants! It is always a fun time, and a little bit of sprinkling definitely did not dampen the kids’ enthusiasm!

For those wanting to get a peak at a typical Halloween in Ballard, I put together a slideshow on Flickr


Freedom and Independence!

[photopress:100_1769.JPG,thumb,alignright]Happy Fourth of July! I could go on and on about how home ownership is the key to independence and how it can give you freedom from renting, but instead here are the Seattle PI’s list of celebrations around town. Hope you all have a safe and magical 4th of July!

P.S. If you are interested in the whole independence and home ownership discussion- don’t hesitate to call!

Mary Jereczek