Thoughts on Equinox from a reader

Matt: I still haven’t got to Equinox yet, but a a reader has and their comments are below. I have also heard (but not confirmed) from someone else that a number of units are being reserved for Windermere and the developer’s friends and family. I’m sure this is common practice but I really liked that for the South Lake Union projects Vulcan and John L Scott employees had to enter in the lottery with all us common folk consumers. If you’re visited the Equinox sales center be sure to let us know about your experience in the comments below or in the Equixnox forum.

There is only one studio, and it is 431 ft². The sizes for “open one bedrooms” then jump to 520 ft² and up. The studio will be offered between 245k and 263k, with a target price of 250k. This is a bit strange, because their marketing says “Condos from low 200s” and 250k to me isn’t low 200s. Interesting also that at one of their other projects, Gallery, advertisements said “Condos from the mid 200s” and they actually had several around 230k. So it makes me wonder… why are they confused as to what is mid and what is low?

Concrete and steel construction, wood flooring in the kitchen and entry of each unit. Wood flooring throughout is an upgrade, though the prices of upgrades will not be known until after PSA are signed.

One parking space per unit.

Same appliances as at Gallery, (Fisher/Paykel fridge, Bosch dishwasher, Frigidaire gas range/microwave hood, Frigidaire washer/dryer).

Homeowners Dues will be between 50c and 60c per square foot. Occupancy Q1 2009.

Slab granite counters are standard, and there are three colors to choose from. Beware, however, as they are only 2cm thick.

Presentation center is pretty basic. Full-size kitchen vignette, all three color schemes of cabinet/countertop combinations are shown.

Bathroom vignette is somewhat basic, just a tub and a sink display, not even a toilet.

Center courtyard is public with a built-in firepit, and the 7th floor has a large rooftop patio.

Update: I received an e-mail from Windermere saying that there is no preference for insiders:

Windermere agents and the developer’s friends and family are not receiving any special reservation or sales priority at Equinox.

About Matt

Matt , Urbnlivn's publisher, has a love for lofts with industrial features and new construction condos that is only eclipsed by his passion for outdoor sports and urban living. Phrases such as “polished concrete” and “exposed brick” are music to his ears. You can also find Matt on Twitter or skiing.

  • jo

    Between 50 and 60 cents? That’s high…Olive8 is 57 cents I believe. But that’s a hotel/condo deal.

  • jo

    Between 50 and 60 cents? That’s high…Olive8 is 57 cents I believe. But that’s a hotel/condo deal.

  • Ben K

    Jo – The dues are high at Equinox, especially when there are few common amenities – club room area, courtyard and rooftop deck. Lumen is around $.60, but there’s a lot included in their dues.

    Matt – I’ve heard that about Windermere Onsite projects, too (friend & family plan). Just slightly off topic – most agents are 1099 contractors rather than employees.

  • Ben K

    Jo – The dues are high at Equinox, especially when there are few common amenities – club room area, courtyard and rooftop deck. Lumen is around $.60, but there’s a lot included in their dues.

    Matt – I’ve heard that about Windermere Onsite projects, too (friend & family plan). Just slightly off topic – most agents are 1099 contractors rather than employees.

  • ND

    Cosmopolitan HOA is about $0.36/sf which is quite nice considering there are many amenities (24hr conceirge, party room, business center, conference room, hot tub, sauna, and amazing roof top terrace).

  • ND

    Cosmopolitan HOA is about $0.36/sf which is quite nice considering there are many amenities (24hr conceirge, party room, business center, conference room, hot tub, sauna, and amazing roof top terrace).

  • Foster

    The Windermere Onsite agents say the dues are substantiated by Concierge and common areas. I don’t personally agree. It will be interesting to see if this project succeeds. Any projections?

  • Foster

    The Windermere Onsite agents say the dues are substantiated by Concierge and common areas. I don’t personally agree. It will be interesting to see if this project succeeds. Any projections?

  • Foster

    **err… predictions, rather

  • Foster

    **err… predictions, rather

  • GD

    $580/sf for a 430 sf studio, not including plus upgrades for wood floors, plus .50-.60$/sf in HOA…in eastlake…across the road from the water and backing onto I-5?

    Can someone please explain to me why this unit might be attractive. You would have to be a) single, b) have decent job/income to qualify, c) be willing to live in a small studio if it were in the right location with the rigth amenities package.

    I fit this description myself.

    That said I’ve run the numbers every which way and, assuming 3-5% down on a standard 30 year fixed, the only way it works is if I accept the following assumptions:

    1) If prices increase 3-5% annually, I need to stay there at least 3 years to beat my alternative in terms of lower housing costs properly conservatively invested and opportunity cost om my down payment, even after tax considerations.

    2) If I plan to leave after 1-2 years, transaction costs really make the financial argument poor, unless prices increase 8-10%. I think that ship has sailed.

    3) the place I can afford here (431 sf) is better or equal to what I can rent for $1000 plus utilities. …900 sf 1-bedroom in LQA with a deck and a million dollar view of downtown and the water (somewhat dumpy building I’ll admit, but serviceable – and not 430 sf)

    anyone here in a similar position and seeing it differently?

  • GD

    $580/sf for a 430 sf studio, not including plus upgrades for wood floors, plus .50-.60$/sf in HOA…in eastlake…across the road from the water and backing onto I-5?

    Can someone please explain to me why this unit might be attractive. You would have to be a) single, b) have decent job/income to qualify, c) be willing to live in a small studio if it were in the right location with the rigth amenities package.

    I fit this description myself.

    That said I’ve run the numbers every which way and, assuming 3-5% down on a standard 30 year fixed, the only way it works is if I accept the following assumptions:

    1) If prices increase 3-5% annually, I need to stay there at least 3 years to beat my alternative in terms of lower housing costs properly conservatively invested and opportunity cost om my down payment, even after tax considerations.

    2) If I plan to leave after 1-2 years, transaction costs really make the financial argument poor, unless prices increase 8-10%. I think that ship has sailed.

    3) the place I can afford here (431 sf) is better or equal to what I can rent for $1000 plus utilities. …900 sf 1-bedroom in LQA with a deck and a million dollar view of downtown and the water (somewhat dumpy building I’ll admit, but serviceable – and not 430 sf)

    anyone here in a similar position and seeing it differently?

  • Ben K

    GD – re: #2, if you sell within 2 yrs, you not only have transaction costs (commission, excise tax, escrow/title) but also capital gains tax, too. Also, Equinox is requiring a minimum of 5% down.

  • Ben K

    GD – re: #2, if you sell within 2 yrs, you not only have transaction costs (commission, excise tax, escrow/title) but also capital gains tax, too. Also, Equinox is requiring a minimum of 5% down.

  • EconE

    Checked out their website…have no respect for a place that won’t put floor plans up…whatever the reason. Not to mention….I don’t want to have to give them my “wish list” plus all sorts of other personal information so that I can see what they have. They can show me what they have…if I like it I may buy it.

    Let me know if people camp out for their “pre-sales” event. If not…my prediction is that it might never see fruition.

  • EconE

    Checked out their website…have no respect for a place that won’t put floor plans up…whatever the reason. Not to mention….I don’t want to have to give them my “wish list” plus all sorts of other personal information so that I can see what they have. They can show me what they have…if I like it I may buy it.

    Let me know if people camp out for their “pre-sales” event. If not…my prediction is that it might never see fruition.

  • Foster

    Registered buyers have access to a “private” website which will be unveiled to tbe general public in April. It includes all the floorplans and floorplates. Also includes renderings of what the bldg will look like upon completion.

  • Foster

    Registered buyers have access to a “private” website which will be unveiled to tbe general public in April. It includes all the floorplans and floorplates. Also includes renderings of what the bldg will look like upon completion.

  • EconE

    Still have no respect for a website/builder/sales clerk/whatever that asks for so much personal information in order to “Register”…very tacky. I’m surprised that they don’t ask for income and caste status.

  • EconE

    Still have no respect for a website/builder/sales clerk/whatever that asks for so much personal information in order to “Register”…very tacky. I’m surprised that they don’t ask for income and caste status.

  • GD

    I wish the process was more transparent from a buyers perspective. Having worked with several condo marketers I know what they are doing and I’m pretty sure it will yield success. Some people like the special touches, feeling like a VIP, and the twists and turns of the process builds suspense.

  • GD

    I wish the process was more transparent from a buyers perspective. Having worked with several condo marketers I know what they are doing and I’m pretty sure it will yield success. Some people like the special touches, feeling like a VIP, and the twists and turns of the process builds suspense.

  • Foster

    Ben, what was the process like at Mosler Lofts? How much down was required? Any upcoming steel & concrete projects which you think will stand out?

  • Foster

    Ben, what was the process like at Mosler Lofts? How much down was required? Any upcoming steel & concrete projects which you think will stand out?

  • http://twitter.com/mattgoyer mattgoyer

    Does anyone have a URL for the private Equinox site? Feel free to post it here anonymously or e-mail me (mail *at* mattgoyer.com) and I’ll post it.

  • http://blog.mattgoyer.com Matt

    Does anyone have a URL for the private Equinox site? Feel free to post it here anonymously or e-mail me (mail *at* mattgoyer.com) and I’ll post it.

  • Ben K

    Foster – I believe Mosler was $10K down for reservation but I don’t recall the PSA deposit amt. The 8th & Pine (AVA) project has peaked my interest solely based on its rendering & location, but there’s little info out on it.

  • Ben K

    Foster – I believe Mosler was $10K down for reservation but I don’t recall the PSA deposit amt. The 8th & Pine (AVA) project has peaked my interest solely based on its rendering & location, but there’s little info out on it.

  • Nark
  • Nark
  • Foster

    I am absolutely kicking myself for not buying into Mosler. Oh well.. lesson learned. I can’t get over how RIDICULOUSLY expensive the HOA dues are for Equinox.

  • Foster

    I am absolutely kicking myself for not buying into Mosler. Oh well.. lesson learned. I can’t get over how RIDICULOUSLY expensive the HOA dues are for Equinox.

  • GD

    dues aren’t the half of it. The poor studio I mentioned earlier in the thread faces I-5!. $580/sf. HA! ….(my strategy has become loser units in good buildings but that s little absurd). All the smaller units have deep, narrow layouts, which is great for efficiency for the developer but miserable for people seeking light and air.

    Mosler was a great design. No loser units. I feel you.

  • GD

    dues aren’t the half of it. The poor studio I mentioned earlier in the thread faces I-5!. $580/sf. HA! ….(my strategy has become loser units in good buildings but that s little absurd). All the smaller units have deep, narrow layouts, which is great for efficiency for the developer but miserable for people seeking light and air.

    Mosler was a great design. No loser units. I feel you.

  • jo

    mosler has loser units on the backside facing straight into that building next to it

    mosler was a GREAT buy at the time. since it was so close to olive8, i went with olive9 which i dont regret

  • jo

    mosler has loser units on the backside facing straight into that building next to it

    mosler was a GREAT buy at the time. since it was so close to olive8, i went with olive9 which i dont regret

  • JDP

    In regards to Mosler, it was a 5% earnest money deposit, they went straight to purchase and sales agreements, there were no reservations. Keep in mind all of these homeowners dues are estimates, they have no history on what these buildings will cost to operate.

  • JDP

    In regards to Mosler, it was a 5% earnest money deposit, they went straight to purchase and sales agreements, there were no reservations. Keep in mind all of these homeowners dues are estimates, they have no history on what these buildings will cost to operate.

  • MJ

    After looking at a few other buildings, I walked into the Mosler sales office and bought right away. It had everything on my wish-list: concrete construction (did wood, it sucked), open floorplan with hardwood floors, and a view (for now, at least). Now I realize that the price was pretty great too.

  • MJ

    After looking at a few other buildings, I walked into the Mosler sales office and bought right away. It had everything on my wish-list: concrete construction (did wood, it sucked), open floorplan with hardwood floors, and a view (for now, at least). Now I realize that the price was pretty great too.

  • Shirley

    I would just like to say that I bought one of the larger homes at Equinox and I was very impressed with the knowledge that the sales agents had of the market, the area and the project. From the moment I walked in I felt welcome and felt like they provided me with as much information that I needed to make an 800 thousand dollar decision this includes pricing, dues and comparables. I think this project is an incredible value and there is nothing like it being built in the area. I would also like to say that the finishes at Equinox are superior to the junk I keep seeing at other trendy, soon to be outdated projects.

  • Shirley

    I would just like to say that I bought one of the larger homes at Equinox and I was very impressed with the knowledge that the sales agents had of the market, the area and the project. From the moment I walked in I felt welcome and felt like they provided me with as much information that I needed to make an 800 thousand dollar decision this includes pricing, dues and comparables. I think this project is an incredible value and there is nothing like it being built in the area. I would also like to say that the finishes at Equinox are superior to the junk I keep seeing at other trendy, soon to be outdated projects.

  • Dani

    We just bought one of the open floor plans(625 sq feet) and are PSYCHED!

    The HOA dues include hot water (central heating tanks, no heater in the unit) and GAS (which is standard, a gas range in the kitchen. I can’t get over how nice that is in a condo). The builder seems to have a great history. It’s a very unique location, I feel like Eastlake is “authentic Seattle” rather than the club and bar-heavy Belltown, I feel that appreciation will be better there (lots of higher-end developments and this is the only one so far with prices that I can afford).

    We’ve signed and rescinded at 2 other condos and this one is sticking. Much better feeling about all aspects here!!

  • Dani

    We just bought one of the open floor plans(625 sq feet) and are PSYCHED!

    The HOA dues include hot water (central heating tanks, no heater in the unit) and GAS (which is standard, a gas range in the kitchen. I can’t get over how nice that is in a condo). The builder seems to have a great history. It’s a very unique location, I feel like Eastlake is “authentic Seattle” rather than the club and bar-heavy Belltown, I feel that appreciation will be better there (lots of higher-end developments and this is the only one so far with prices that I can afford).

    We’ve signed and rescinded at 2 other condos and this one is sticking. Much better feeling about all aspects here!!