Report from the Urbnlivn Meetup Front

by guest contributor Carl Goodman

Fans of Matt’s effervescent Web site rendezvoused the other night in South Lake Union for some pub fare, brewskys, and repartee on the wonderful world of condos. We also toasted the one-year anniversary of Urbnlivn.com, a distinctly Seattle resource celebrating and empowering condo consumers.

Capitol Hill and Downtown were the focus of much of the assembled group’s interest. We learned how much an extra parking spot in a typical new downtown condo goes for (while it varies, $50,000 seems like the average going rate). A new purchaser at Escala described the sales process from non-binding reservation to committed purchase, including, surprise!, that the final price ended up being at the absolute top of the originally presented “range.” A resident of a Capitol Hill grande dame apartment building told of his displacement owing to a conversion to condos, which generated discussion on how condo fans also need to support increased renter protections in order to create a more stimulating and economically diverse city. Excited Trace purchasers, Rachel and Justin, joined Matt in gushing about their imminent lives as loft dwellers in a 100-year-old converted warehouse. A good third of the group seemed to have relocated to Seattle because of Microsoft. And Seattle’s growing international zest was reflected by Meetup attendees originally from Lebanon and Poland.

In a sign of the influence Urbnlivn.com carries, one of the attendees was representing a development team from New York and San Francisco that has plans to construct two highrise condos (one at 8th & Seneca and one at 6th & Wall). She was instructed to capture just what kind of amenities we Urbnlivnites want in our condos. So, for instance, our recent online dialogues about installing fancy showers in lieu of conventional bathtubs and giving condo purchasers the ability to choose something other than the now over-used scheme of granite countertops and stainless appliances may actually have fallen on open ears. That, plus condo marketing Web sites that give more than mere sales rhetoric and allow for an exchange of information among developers, designers, and prospective and actual purchasers. If this development team actually incorporates our suggestions, we think they’ll definitely differentiate themselves in an increasingly cluttered market, creating a win-win for both them and their purchasers.

We’ll keep you posted on plans for future Meetups. Please use the Comments to make suggestions for venue and agenda items, including whether you think special presentations by RE types, developers or urban planners would be valuable — or whether we should keep the Meetups as informal conversation sessions.

And remember that Matt welcomes contributions to his Web site. Write up your opinions or compile some research about Seattle condo developments and urban issues, and email to Matt for posting as standalone stories (note that Matt is happy to reflect your wishes whether you want a byline or not, so your incisive critiques can indeed be published anonymously). Your views will then be read by the masses!

We’re on to something here in Seattle and together we can make our beloved city both more urbane and neighborly.

About Carl Goodman
  • EconE

    ok ok…I’ll inject my 2c here.

    1. More meetups are needed…some that include the “fat cat” developers and some that are restricted to consumers only…IOW…no builders/sales clerks/et al (IOW…NO REIC people…well…Matt can come of course)…after all…you guys have your “private behind closed door “revenue maximizing” meetings”…we consumers want ours also…we’ll call those “value maximizing” meetings.

    2. When the developers are present at the meetings where they are “welcome”…bring the developer…the decision maker…you know…they guy at the top. Not some lackey that has to nod their head and say things such as…”let me get back to you on that” or “I’ll be sure to pass that information along” Yeah yeah…I know that it will cut into the time spent in Monaco on your yachts…deal with it.

    3. Ditch the NY/LA/SF developers…yeah…I said it…kick ‘em to the curb. Wouldn’t it be better to keep the profits local so that they can be pumped back into the Seattle economy rather than the other states? Invite Trump however…I want to see his comb-over in person…just before I tell him that I think his buildings on Riverside Drive in Manhattan are…well…decide for yourself. And then send him packing also.

    Oh…and Carl…when are we gonna start “pimping” out your condo? Let’s make that place “phat”!

    Finally…a quick message to Redfin…give Matt more time off. From what he writes here it sounds like he’s chained to a desk in there.

  • EconE

    ok ok…I’ll inject my 2c here.

    1. More meetups are needed…some that include the “fat cat” developers and some that are restricted to consumers only…IOW…no builders/sales clerks/et al (IOW…NO REIC people…well…Matt can come of course)…after all…you guys have your “private behind closed door “revenue maximizing” meetings”…we consumers want ours also…we’ll call those “value maximizing” meetings.

    2. When the developers are present at the meetings where they are “welcome”…bring the developer…the decision maker…you know…they guy at the top. Not some lackey that has to nod their head and say things such as…”let me get back to you on that” or “I’ll be sure to pass that information along” Yeah yeah…I know that it will cut into the time spent in Monaco on your yachts…deal with it.

    3. Ditch the NY/LA/SF developers…yeah…I said it…kick ‘em to the curb. Wouldn’t it be better to keep the profits local so that they can be pumped back into the Seattle economy rather than the other states? Invite Trump however…I want to see his comb-over in person…just before I tell him that I think his buildings on Riverside Drive in Manhattan are…well…decide for yourself. And then send him packing also.

    Oh…and Carl…when are we gonna start “pimping” out your condo? Let’s make that place “phat”!

    Finally…a quick message to Redfin…give Matt more time off. From what he writes here it sounds like he’s chained to a desk in there.

  • EconE

    ok ok…I’ll inject my 2c here.

    1. More meetups are needed…some that include the “fat cat” developers and some that are restricted to consumers only…IOW…no builders/sales clerks/et al (IOW…NO REIC people…well…Matt can come of course)…after all…you guys have your “private behind closed door “revenue maximizing” meetings”…we consumers want ours also…we’ll call those “value maximizing” meetings.

    2. When the developers are present at the meetings where they are “welcome”…bring the developer…the decision maker…you know…they guy at the top. Not some lackey that has to nod their head and say things such as…”let me get back to you on that” or “I’ll be sure to pass that information along” Yeah yeah…I know that it will cut into the time spent in Monaco on your yachts…deal with it.

    3. Ditch the NY/LA/SF developers…yeah…I said it…kick ‘em to the curb. Wouldn’t it be better to keep the profits local so that they can be pumped back into the Seattle economy rather than the other states? Invite Trump however…I want to see his comb-over in person…just before I tell him that I think his buildings on Riverside Drive in Manhattan are…well…decide for yourself. And then send him packing also.

    Oh…and Carl…when are we gonna start “pimping” out your condo? Let’s make that place “phat”!

    Finally…a quick message to Redfin…give Matt more time off. From what he writes here it sounds like he’s chained to a desk in there.

  • Chris

    I must say that Trio’s staff was very helpful as well. One agent showed me a cross-section of ceiling construction that they have on display and seemed generally knowledgeable about most issues. I might go back there once they knock prices down 20%!

  • Chris

    I must say that Trio’s staff was very helpful as well. One agent showed me a cross-section of ceiling construction that they have on display and seemed generally knowledgeable about most issues. I might go back there once they knock prices down 20%!

  • EconE

    The sales center for Rollins couldn’t even tell me what kind of granite was displayed for their upgraded counters. It was “ok”, however a little too colorful for my tastes.

    if anybody is interested in seeing what type of granite they have you can look it up here…

    http://www.eurasian.com

    I’m sure that there are more than they have listed there but it’s kind of cool to see where it is being quarried.

    or…if you go to http://www.diygranite.com you can not only check out a sampling of granites but you can see whether or not they picked a tier 1, 2, or 3 granite for your kitchens.

    I fully recommend that people research every thing that is going into their condos from light switches, cabinet hardware, doors, etc etc etc to see how much value you are getting for your money and to see where the corners are being cut.

  • Rachel

    Thank you Carl for organizing the meet-ups. :-)

  • Rachel

    Thank you Carl for organizing the meet-ups. :-)

  • http://www.designlines.wordpress.com kh

    yes, thanks carl for organizing!

    so what’s this i hear you’re updating your pad? i’d love to see it.

  • http://www.designlines.wordpress.com kh

    yes, thanks carl for organizing!

    so what’s this i hear you’re updating your pad? i’d love to see it.