Emeralds are Forever...a new Seattle Condo

It has been nearly 10 years since the last condo boom in Seattle. Prior to the financial crisis, condos were making a comeback in 2006-2010. The last two big projects finishing up in 2008-2010 were Olive 8 and Escala. Olive 8, an exceptional building that is hardly rivaled when it comes to amenities as residents can utilize the world-class Hyatt Hotel amenities that include a 24/7 2,400 sqft gym w/Peloton bikes, yoga studio, valet, room service, and housekeeping. Escala, one of Seattle's most elegant condo buildings in the city, with the widest price ranges of any building, from $700,000 to $10,000,000. Escala is most commonly recognized since the penthouse of Escala was the setting for Fifty Shades of Grey.

Since 2010 condos have primarily been on the backburner for most developers, and apartments for rent have been the focus. Now that home prices have gone up enough, developers are now seeing a good enough ROI to start building condos again. Today's focus for the newsletter is one of the newest condos on the Seattle skyline, the Emerald.

Emeralds are forever...

Since a reemergence of condos in 2015 staring with the Insignia Towers, condos have really started to gain traction in the Seattle market. With rents being as high as they are and interest rates at nearly a 30-year low, many buyers realize it makes more sense, financially, to buy than to rent. Thus, the demand for condos has bounced back. Shortly after Insignia, we had Luma, Gridiron, and now Nexus and Emerald this coming year. Standing tall at 41-stories, The Emerald is at the very heart of Seattle just one block away from Pike Place Market. The building contains 260 units. Pricing for Emerald starts in the 500K range for studios and up to ~3+ million for the penthouse. We're looking at most units starting around $900 price per square foot (ppsf). New construction typically falls between $900 and $1,100 ppsf. There are a number of pros and cons to the building that I will go through below!

Pros

  • It is a brand new building with modern amenities

  • 24/7 concierge

  • Gym and Yoga Studio

  • The top floor sky lounge with grills and catering kitchen

  • Envoy luxury electric vehicle carshare

  • Pet Spa

  • Residence Guest Suite

  • To the West, above floor 17, you have unobstructed sweeping views of the Puget Sound

  • Location is amazing, a block from Pike Place Market

  • Buying pre-sale, a year in advance, can gain you equity before you even get your keys

  • Buyers who commit early only need 5-10% down with mortgage payments starting only after getting your keys

  • No bidding war for your unit

  • 5-minute walk to Westlake Light Rail Station

Cons

  • Higher than average prices (premium for being new)

  • Depending on the side and floor, you could be facing a wall

  • Interest rates could go up between now and completion

  • You do not truly know what your unit will look, have to base it off of the model unit and sales office

  • The final result may differ from expectations

  • Construction can (and likely) be delayed

  • Only 60 parking spots for 260 units

  • Parking is not included in unit price, parking spots are purchased at $60,000 each in addition to the unit

  • Your life plans could change in the time that you put the deposit and when the building is completed

  • In my opinion, the open-air terrace on the 3rd floor will hardly be utilized since there is noise from 2nd Ave

The unparalleled view from the top floor amenity space

Verdict...

The Emerald is the perfect condo for someone who wants to be in the heart of the city and have a lock & leave lifestyle. Values in many units, particularly the ones with unobstructed 180-degree views of the Sound, will be sustained and rise as views like that become increasingly rare. It is imperative that Buyers spend time analyzing the building and views, with their agent, before moving forward on a purchase, particularly in new construction. If you are interested in a more detailed review of the building, watch my YouTube Video below on the project or give me a call!

© 2015 by Cyrus Fiene, Coldwell Banker Bain