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Sanctuary Tour & Photos (2012)

By January 22, 2012

The Sanctuary Preview

Way back when Sanctuary was under construction the first time in 2009, Matt was lucky enough to get a tour and took lots of photos. And those photos (plus others used for marketing) are pretty much all I’ve seen of this place until today’s preview when I finally got inside. All of the units are now complete (or very nearly so), two were fully staged, and the rest were open for all to explore.

In short, I think the 12 units at the Sanctuary are amazing. Truly awesome. If you don’t take the opportunity this week or next to get in and explore each and every unique offering, you will regret it. It doesn’t matter if you are in the market or not — you need to see the inside of this place to appreciate it. In fact, on this preview weekend the place was mobbed with visitors. According to Realogics, there were about 350 registered visitors on Saturday alone and it looked to be as busy today (so busy that they are struggling to get everyone registered).

The preview hasn’t just drawn in the curious though. Many, many visitors are in attendance because they are seriously considering a purchase — in fact, when I left at 1:30PM there were eight units with reservations to purchase, and three of those had a secondary reservation in place. Curiously, at least two couples I chatted with that were looking to buy used to attend Sunday school there back when it was a church.

Realogics will begin working through the reservations next week to lock in purchases. From what I hear, some that made reservations are interested in closing immediately, others may be putting down the $5K to hold their place in line while they give it a serious few days of consideration.

One final word about visiting before I start in on what I thought: just skip your workout for the day and tour Sanctuary instead. It will take you at least an hour to visit every floor in every single one (units have as little as 3 levels and as many as 5). You will probably do at least a mile of stairs. If you are interested in buying, then carve out at least 2 hours in your schedule because it will take you at least that long to narrow your choice down to one. Besides the challenge of the stairs, you will be challenged by the fact that no unit is the same and that makes it awfully hard to choose.

Each unit has many things to love, and every unit likely has one or more quirks that you have to decide to ignore. I said they were amazing, not perfect :). One downside that you won’t have to ignore any longer is that whole “no warranty on the construction” issue — sounds like there is one in place.

Here’s what I really liked:

  • All that concrete, steel, and loft-appeal built into each one, plus the ones with exposed brick were especially pleasing to me.
  • Others might be more attracted to the layouts with kitchens placed by the outer wall to leverage the huge window to the outdoors.
  • Still others will be entranced by the outdoor decks attached to a select few (except maybe that deck with super high walls).
  • Of course, the two units with the huge stained-glass window that can be opened to normal glass are impressive (that effort is estimated to have cost $60K for the two units per unit).
  • The two condos one containing a bedroom with skylight that looks up towards the domed ceiling is pretty cool.
  • All of this seems to focus on what’s been added but props should definitely be given for the architectural features that were retained: columns, moldings, doors…

The home that I preferred of the 12 surprised me. It was #9 (1859 16th Ave) and is one of the smaller units at 2,553 square feet. With a price of $729K, there was only one other unit with a smaller price tag. But #9 had all the concrete, steel, and exposed brick I could ask for and with its super tall, narrow window it felt more like a loft in Manhattan. Yes, there are larger, more functional layouts of the bunch — any of which I can see the beauty of — but the aesthetic of #9 was what drew me.

Then again, if I had spent more time in #9, I might have found the not-so-perfect that I occasionally came across in other units including:

  • The choice of lighting fixtures wasn’t all that. One of my friends explained that the disks with exposed & tinted bulbs are all the rage, but I wasn’t in love with them. Easy to replace though right?
  • Stupid things like exposed plumbing on the visible side of the toilets.
  • The random, shallow built-in cabinet you might come across.
  • Bedrooms with no windows in the lower floors.
  • And then, there are the units that didn’t quite have enough space to entertain or the kitchens felt dinky or that room/corner/cornice/layout just seems slightly awkward.

Quirks, you either accept ’em or you don’t. Bottom line is that you are more likely to be impressed than not with every stair you climb at the Sanctuary.

Here are a few of the many photos I took:

Sanctuary Take 2

Sanctuary Take 2

Sanctuary Take 2

Sanctuary Take 2

There are more numbers to talk about (HOA dues, partial 10-year tax abatement, price per square foot, parking spaces) but that will have to come later. Right now I just want to hear from others that visited. What did you think? And which was your favorite?

And for those that didn’t make it in this weekend for the preview, I hear there is a VIP event Wednesday night and the sales office opens January 28.

Disclaimer: Realogics and Sanctuary are Urbnlivn advertisers.

Update 1/23/12: Corrected a couple of my statements (thanks readers & Realogics for keeping me honest!). Plus, Dean at Realogics added that by the end of Sunday, they had 450 registered visitors for the weekend but many came in groups so were not registered. Also, 9 of the 12 units ended up with reservations, some with multiple reservations. Realogics will begin closing sales after Sanctuary gets its TCO (certificate of occupancy) and they expect that to happen this week.