The Stranger blows open the situation at 2200

The Stranger blows open the situation at 2200, Lawsuit and Tenant Complaints Dog Vulcan in Denny Triangle. It’s a lengthy article with lots of thought provoking questions. Here’s a teaser to get you started:

However, on March 26, 2007, O’Leary filed suit in King County Superior Court against the developers after a series of delays and construction disputes left him with a condo that, according to the complaint, was “substantially [different] from the scope, nature, and extent of the project as it was described” when he signed a sale agreement in February 2005. Expressing his hopes for the development, O’Leary recounts, “The quality, as promised, sounded great.” Instead, he describes the building to The Stranger as “basically a Motel 6. It was not high quality and I did not get what I paid for.”

This article brings up some good questions around price points and inventory.
With a March 2007 median price for a condo at $316,950 (see Seattle PI, Good homes stood out in the crowd as housing sales slow and with most of the flip inventory in the $400,000+ range it really feels like inventory is stacking up.

Another issue I’ve wondered about and the article touches on is flip rates. We all feel like the flip rate at 2200 is high. And Vulcan says that’s fine because their investor cap was 30%, but an investor cap does not prevent speculation and flipping. My understanding is that all it will really do is limit renters. But I’m just a consumer so if someone could enlighten us all that would be appreciated.

The other question the articles raises is about quality. I know my experience at the Meritage has been less than stellar and I’ll blog about all the defects soon (a month after moving in I still have a window broken during construction!) but at least I haven’t had sewage problems.

Hopefully for buyers blogs and publications willing to take risks, like The Stranger, will take developers and marketers to task so we end up with higher quality product at the right price.

For more intrigue check out the Fast Times at 2200 blog. Looks like Vulcan has been posting anonymously on the 2200 blog trying to discredit the author. I for one love the 2200 blog. If you’re not a 2200 resident and want to bitch about your development feel free to use the Urbnlivn forums. I’m happy to create categories for new developments.

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

    How old is everyone? Thirteen? Grow up people. This includes people on both sides.

    Whoever takes The Stranger article seriously or anything they write needs to have their head checked. Talk about painting a picture of doom and gloom at 2200. Boy. You think they’d be ready to tear the entire place down.

    People don’t understand that moving into a new development takes months and months to get the kinks worked out. Don’t want to bother with that? Buy something that is a few years old.

  • jo

    How old is everyone? Thirteen? Grow up people. This includes people on both sides.

    Whoever takes The Stranger article seriously or anything they write needs to have their head checked. Talk about painting a picture of doom and gloom at 2200. Boy. You think they’d be ready to tear the entire place down.

    People don’t understand that moving into a new development takes months and months to get the kinks worked out. Don’t want to bother with that? Buy something that is a few years old.

  • EconE

    Jo…always a pleasure reading your responses. Getting a bit testy aren’t we?

  • EconE

    Jo…always a pleasure reading your responses. Getting a bit testy aren’t we?

  • chris

    What’s funny is people paid a premium to get into the first project when that means 1) living in a currently “transitional” neighborhood – not a transitionl as say, Rainer Valley areas – but still…and 2) getting into Vulcan’s first residential project. As my prof used to say, the first pioneer get the arrows and the second gets the gold

  • chris

    What’s funny is people paid a premium to get into the first project when that means 1) living in a currently “transitional” neighborhood – not a transitionl as say, Rainer Valley areas – but still…and 2) getting into Vulcan’s first residential project. As my prof used to say, the first pioneer get the arrows and the second gets the gold

  • Bob

    I am no housing bear but if I am paying that much, I demand perfection or something close to it.

  • Bob

    I am no housing bear but if I am paying that much, I demand perfection or something close to it.

  • Dan Ji

    Sounds like I live with a bunch of people who like to throw big-boy tantrums. No new development is going to be perfect, especially one this large. Might help by not acting like a “yuppie” to those handling the warranty claims/CWD staff.

    And satisfaction has nothing to do with cost – $1 mil or $150k… you should be satisfied with what you bought. Somehow, me thinks people have a sense of entitlement because they paid $X more than others.

    And leave the Motel 6 name out of this, I know a bunch of people who own them! =)

  • Dan Ji

    Sounds like I live with a bunch of people who like to throw big-boy tantrums. No new development is going to be perfect, especially one this large. Might help by not acting like a “yuppie” to those handling the warranty claims/CWD staff.

    And satisfaction has nothing to do with cost – $1 mil or $150k… you should be satisfied with what you bought. Somehow, me thinks people have a sense of entitlement because they paid $X more than others.

    And leave the Motel 6 name out of this, I know a bunch of people who own them! =)

  • Bob

    Big-boy tantrums? Entitlement? If I pay $200 at a restaurant, that meal should be much better than the $2 burger at McD. More money means higher expectations and rightfully so.

  • Bob

    Big-boy tantrums? Entitlement? If I pay $200 at a restaurant, that meal should be much better than the $2 burger at McD. More money means higher expectations and rightfully so.

  • Dan Ji

    Bob, not sure how you can really compare a meal to a condo… but regardless, my point is that regardless of price, a house should meet expectations.

    Just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. Is the person behind the counter at McDonalds any less of a person than the one at Canlis’ front desk?

  • Dan Ji

    Bob, not sure how you can really compare a meal to a condo… but regardless, my point is that regardless of price, a house should meet expectations.

    Just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. Is the person behind the counter at McDonalds any less of a person than the one at Canlis’ front desk?

  • Dan Ji

    oops, too quick to press “sumbmit”

    Even a $150k condo better uphold certain standards – such as everything functioning as designed and its proper installation/execution. I’m not talking about fixture quality, or shiny details here… all homes should “work”.

    My simple point is that the above should hold true in an expensive home, much as it should in a less expensive one. Just because someone paid more doesn’t mean they have more of a right to it.

  • Dan Ji

    oops, too quick to press “sumbmit”

    Even a $150k condo better uphold certain standards – such as everything functioning as designed and its proper installation/execution. I’m not talking about fixture quality, or shiny details here… all homes should “work”.

    My simple point is that the above should hold true in an expensive home, much as it should in a less expensive one. Just because someone paid more doesn’t mean they have more of a right to it.

  • http://www.randyjames.net Randy

    Hi, I just moved into 2200 a couple of weeks ago as a renter. While I really like the place, there are some obvious value shortcomings. I’ve been a home owner for years and am only temporarily renting, so I think I have some valid observations.

    I’m on the 9th floor of Arte. The unit looks great, however as you start to use the place some things really start to stand out. First, if I had bought the place for 590K or so I’m guessing was paid for it, I would have expected the building to not only install good looking interiors, but also quality interiors. From past remodeling experiences I know that the price between “pergo style laminate floors” and “marble tiles” vs solid wood and granite or marble slab isn’t all that much especially when you talk 560K for the place. From the looks of it the owner got about 30K max in interior features. Laminate floors, marble tile counters, ikea style cabinets, plastic/composite bathtub, tin can clanky washer and dryer (not sure what else to call em), air pump heating system that dries you out, almost useless closets, a rule to cover 70% of your fancy laminate floors with rugs to keep things quiet (what happened to the concrete slabs?) . In regards to laminate floors, I dont mind them and the do save resources; however the darker floors that were used in this unit really show scratches. I tried a similar pattern in my last place and ended up pulling it since scratches showed very badly.

    Bottom line is that the unit has good looking cheap interior features. If it was me, Id be ticked off; however I dont know what the owner agreed on when it was purchased. For hardly anything more, this unit could have had hardwood floors and solid counters, and a cast iron tub.

    Cheers,
    R

  • http://www.randyjames.net Randy

    Hi, I just moved into 2200 a couple of weeks ago as a renter. While I really like the place, there are some obvious value shortcomings. I’ve been a home owner for years and am only temporarily renting, so I think I have some valid observations.

    I’m on the 9th floor of Arte. The unit looks great, however as you start to use the place some things really start to stand out. First, if I had bought the place for 590K or so I’m guessing was paid for it, I would have expected the building to not only install good looking interiors, but also quality interiors. From past remodeling experiences I know that the price between “pergo style laminate floors” and “marble tiles” vs solid wood and granite or marble slab isn’t all that much especially when you talk 560K for the place. From the looks of it the owner got about 30K max in interior features. Laminate floors, marble tile counters, ikea style cabinets, plastic/composite bathtub, tin can clanky washer and dryer (not sure what else to call em), air pump heating system that dries you out, almost useless closets, a rule to cover 70% of your fancy laminate floors with rugs to keep things quiet (what happened to the concrete slabs?) . In regards to laminate floors, I don’t mind them and the do save resources; however the darker floors that were used in this unit really show scratches. I tried a similar pattern in my last place and ended up pulling it since scratches showed very badly.

    Bottom line is that the unit has good looking cheap interior features. If it was me, I’d be ticked off; however I don’t know what the owner agreed on when it was purchased. For hardly anything more, this unit could have had hardwood floors and solid counters, and a cast iron tub.

    Cheers,
    R

  • http://www.randyjames.net Randy

    I meant to say granite counters. No marble in this unit.

  • http://www.randyjames.net Randy

    I meant to say granite counters. No marble in this unit.

  • http://2200life.blogspot.com chucky cheese

    Randy – I’m the dude that runs the 2200life blog. I agree with what you’re saying. They really marketed this thing as high luxury style, but really there’s a lot of things that are “fake”. Flooring for example. I have a number of very visible scratches on my floor, and there’s nothing I can do about it. The one thing that I do appreciate is the double-paned glass which keeps most noise out. Also, what’s the deal with the tiny little windows that open up? It’s as if they think people are going to jump out the window when they realize they’ve been ripped off by 2200.

  • http://2200life.blogspot.com chucky cheese

    Randy – I’m the dude that runs the 2200life blog. I agree with what you’re saying. They really marketed this thing as high luxury style, but really there’s a lot of things that are “fake”. Flooring for example. I have a number of very visible scratches on my floor, and there’s nothing I can do about it. The one thing that I do appreciate is the double-paned glass which keeps most noise out. Also, what’s the deal with the tiny little windows that open up? It’s as if they think people are going to jump out the window when they realize they’ve been ripped off by 2200.

  • Matthew

    I think Bob’s analogy is relevant. If I am paying more money per sq. ft for a “luxury” condo, I’m expecting better quality, PERIOD.

    This place sounds like a disaster. Kudos for Chucky and the gang for shining the light on the roaches.

  • Matthew

    I think Bob’s analogy is relevant. If I am paying more money per sq. ft for a “luxury” condo, I’m expecting better quality, PERIOD.

    This place sounds like a disaster. Kudos for Chucky and the gang for shining the light on the roaches.

  • Dan Ji

    Yes Matthew, you’re right… a couple loud complaints and the place transforms into a dump! I should sell for pennies on the dollar right now! =)

    What I was trying to say is that regardless of price, there are certain standards a new/newer place should meet. You pay the big bucks for luxury items, views, more sq/ft. etc etc. You ARE NOT paying for craftsmanship (within the context of a particular building).

    Why should a 14th floor Aria penthouse owner have more of a right to a belmish free unit than a 2nd floor Azur studio owner?

    Chucky Cheese’s blog is a call to action – to light a fire under the Vulcan/CWD management. I have absolutely no problems with that – in fact, I agree with a lot of the things he has to say (and have a chuckle along with it).

    What I don’t agree with is whining/tantrum throwing simply because the person spent a lot of money.

  • Dan Ji

    Yes Matthew, you’re right… a couple loud complaints and the place transforms into a dump! I should sell for pennies on the dollar right now! =)

    What I was trying to say is that regardless of price, there are certain standards a new/newer place should meet. You pay the big bucks for luxury items, views, more sq/ft. etc etc. You ARE NOT paying for craftsmanship (within the context of a particular building).

    Why should a 14th floor Aria penthouse owner have more of a right to a belmish free unit than a 2nd floor Azur studio owner?

    Chucky Cheese’s blog is a call to action – to light a fire under the Vulcan/CWD management. I have absolutely no problems with that – in fact, I agree with a lot of the things he has to say (and have a chuckle along with it).

    What I don’t agree with is whining/tantrum throwing simply because the person spent a lot of money.

  • Dan Ji

    Randy… I’m assuming you live in a 1br + den unit? No where near 590k. Prolly more like 390k.

  • Dan Ji

    Randy… I’m assuming you live in a 1br + den unit? No where near 590k. Prolly more like 390k.

  • Matthew

    Two people? Apparently you haven’t read the 2200 blog!! I don’t think anyone is throwing a tantrum, they have a right to voice their opinions, just like you have the right to voice yours.

  • Matthew

    Two people? Apparently you haven’t read the 2200 blog!! I don’t think anyone is throwing a tantrum, they have a right to voice their opinions, just like you have the right to voice yours.

  • Dan Ji

    Hey Matthew,

    Not only do I read the blog (and contribute to the comments), I live at the 2200. =)

    I may not agree with it, but I will never deny a person the right to throw a tantrum.

  • Dan Ji

    Hey Matthew,

    Not only do I read the blog (and contribute to the comments), I live at the 2200. =)

    I may not agree with it, but I will never deny a person the right to throw a tantrum.

  • Jerry O’Leary

    Because of some of the strangely off base comments suggesting elitism or unrealistic expectations on my part being posted in this blog, I wanted to clarify for your readers some of the issues I have with the 2200 project. I am the man mentioned in “The Stranger” article as filing the lawsuit to recover my earnest money.

    My situation differs from that of flippers and other owners in that I have refused to close on my condo, rather than closing and being unhappy or closing with the goal of a profitable flip. Additionally, I was ultimately buying a shell, so my comments are not about the quality of the finish work or materials, which apparently are troublesome to many of the residents, renter and owner alike.

    Some of the issues evident from an early walk through of my unit included the fire sprinklers being installed above the framing for the ceiling (which would have required an expensive reconstruction of the sprinkler system in the unit), a vent pipe that protruded from a wall below the ceiling, crossing a hallway and then re-entering the ceiling area, a poured concrete deck which appeared to slope into the unit (evidenced by a note from the contractor taped to the sliding door warning everyone to leave the slider closed so as to prevent leaks into the apartment below). Additionally, the anodized metal frame structures on the exterior which included the deck railing, windows and door frames, all were so badly damaged as to need replacement. This would have involved damaging and then repairing the concrete exterior around my unit in order to accomplish a permanent repair of these structural elements (read, I dont want to live in a leaking unit). This was the professional assessment of my contractor, not my elitist desire.

    My claim in my lawsuit speaks to the difficulties of dealing with Vulcan. Pursuant to the terms of the Vulcan drafted contract, the most that they can keep if I rescind my offer to purchase is a 5% earnest money, in my case about$50k. However, they have over $100K of my money and have stonewalled all my attempts to get anything back. Under Washington law, they are not entitled to even the 5% if I demonstrate that the finished project was sufficiently inferior through defect or poor quality to what I had been promised and expected. Contrary to what some of the participants of this and other blogs are opining, I believe we ALL have a right to a well built home as a basic part of our purchase agreement. I am not asking for better quality than other purchasers in the project should be entitled to receive

    Vulcan has attempted to alternatively bully and ignore me and my
    representatives, much as they apparently are doing to many of the
    folks who have closed on their condos and have taken up residency. I
    view this as a bit of a David vs Goliath thing at this point. Vulcan has refused to let my lawyer and construction experts enter the unit I had hoped to purchase, S1500 in the Arte building. We want to film the unit as is to create a record of its
    deficiencies, something Vulcan obviously wants to avoid. Since my
    unit was to be delivered as basically a shell, many structural issues
    are easier to see and document than would be the case if walls and
    ceilings and flooring were installed.

    I thought that “The Stranger” did a nice job pointing out some of the
    overall issues regarding 2200 without buying in to either my point of
    view nor that of Vulcan.

    I love the ending comment of Ms Jefferies that she could not
    understand why I might want the public to know about the project’s
    deficiencies. Vulcan certainly has used the media to hype the
    project. After over 2 years of being by turns misled, bullied and
    ignored by Vulcan, I want prospective buyers of all Vulcan projects
    both to be aware of how difficult it is to deal with Vulcan, and how
    careful they must be to assure they will get the quality of
    construction and finish work that they are led to believe each
    project offers. With an internal goal of 30% investors, while
    publicly touting the community to be developed at 2200 and assuring
    buyers that they were guarding against flippers, you have yet another
    indication of the callous disrespect Vulcan has for the client
    purchasers of their projects. I also continue to wonder why the
    Vulcan affiliated persons with what I assume were sweetheart purchase
    deals ended up choosing not to close on their units. I hope that “The
    Stranger” article generates a wider dialogue about what we as
    residents of Seattle, whether or not residing in a Vulcan project,
    have a right to expect in these developments largely on what was city
    owned property.

    Jerry O’Leary

  • Jerry O’Leary

    Because of some of the strangely off base comments suggesting elitism or unrealistic expectations on my part being posted in this blog, I wanted to clarify for your readers some of the issues I have with the 2200 project. I am the man mentioned in “The Stranger” article as filing the lawsuit to recover my earnest money.

    My situation differs from that of flippers and other owners in that I have refused to close on my condo, rather than closing and being unhappy or closing with the goal of a profitable flip. Additionally, I was ultimately buying a shell, so my comments are not about the quality of the finish work or materials, which apparently are troublesome to many of the residents, renter and owner alike.

    Some of the issues evident from an early walk through of my unit included the fire sprinklers being installed above the framing for the ceiling (which would have required an expensive reconstruction of the sprinkler system in the unit), a vent pipe that protruded from a wall below the ceiling, crossing a hallway and then re-entering the ceiling area, a poured concrete deck which appeared to slope into the unit (evidenced by a note from the contractor taped to the sliding door warning everyone to leave the slider closed so as to prevent leaks into the apartment below). Additionally, the anodized metal frame structures on the exterior which included the deck railing, windows and door frames, all were so badly damaged as to need replacement. This would have involved damaging and then repairing the concrete exterior around my unit in order to accomplish a permanent repair of these structural elements (read, I don’t want to live in a leaking unit). This was the professional assessment of my contractor, not my elitist desire.

    My claim in my lawsuit speaks to the difficulties of dealing with Vulcan. Pursuant to the terms of the Vulcan drafted contract, the most that they can keep if I rescind my offer to purchase is a 5% earnest money, in my case about$50k. However, they have over $100K of my money and have stonewalled all my attempts to get anything back. Under Washington law, they are not entitled to even the 5% if I demonstrate that the finished project was sufficiently inferior through defect or poor quality to what I had been promised and expected. Contrary to what some of the participants of this and other blogs are opining, I believe we ALL have a right to a well built home as a basic part of our purchase agreement. I am not asking for better quality than other purchasers in the project should be entitled to receive

    Vulcan has attempted to alternatively bully and ignore me and my
    representatives, much as they apparently are doing to many of the
    folks who have closed on their condos and have taken up residency. I
    view this as a bit of a David vs Goliath thing at this point. Vulcan has refused to let my lawyer and construction experts enter the unit I had hoped to purchase, S1500 in the Arte building. We want to film the unit as is to create a record of its
    deficiencies, something Vulcan obviously wants to avoid. Since my
    unit was to be delivered as basically a shell, many structural issues
    are easier to see and document than would be the case if walls and
    ceilings and flooring were installed.

    I thought that “The Stranger” did a nice job pointing out some of the
    overall issues regarding 2200 without buying in to either my point of
    view nor that of Vulcan.

    I love the ending comment of Ms Jefferies that she could not
    understand why I might want the public to know about the project’s
    deficiencies. Vulcan certainly has used the media to hype the
    project. After over 2 years of being by turns misled, bullied and
    ignored by Vulcan, I want prospective buyers of all Vulcan projects
    both to be aware of how difficult it is to deal with Vulcan, and how
    careful they must be to assure they will get the quality of
    construction and finish work that they are led to believe each
    project offers. With an internal goal of 30% investors, while
    publicly touting the community to be developed at 2200 and assuring
    buyers that they were guarding against flippers, you have yet another
    indication of the callous disrespect Vulcan has for the client
    purchasers of their projects. I also continue to wonder why the
    Vulcan affiliated persons with what I assume were sweetheart purchase
    deals ended up choosing not to close on their units. I hope that “The
    Stranger” article generates a wider dialogue about what we as
    residents of Seattle, whether or not residing in a Vulcan project,
    have a right to expect in these developments largely on what was city
    owned property.

    Jerry O’Leary

  • Dan Ji

    Jerry, the elitist comments weren’t directed at you specifically… it was towards people who think these things shouldn’t happen because “yuppies” paid a lot for them. My view is that these kind of issues should not have any coorelation to purchase cost – these should be basic standards to any new/newer construction.

    In fact what you wrote below is a nice reflection of my one and main point:

    “Contrary to what some of the participants of this and other blogs are opining, I believe we ALL have a right to a well built home as a basic part of our purchase agreement. I am not asking for better quality than other purchasers in the project should be entitled to receive”

  • Dan Ji

    Jerry, the elitist comments weren’t directed at you specifically… it was towards people who think these things shouldn’t happen because “yuppies” paid a lot for them. My view is that these kind of issues should not have any coorelation to purchase cost – these should be basic standards to any new/newer construction.

    In fact what you wrote below is a nice reflection of my one and main point:

    “Contrary to what some of the participants of this and other blogs are opining, I believe we ALL have a right to a well built home as a basic part of our purchase agreement. I am not asking for better quality than other purchasers in the project should be entitled to receive”