Insignia’s Nat Bosa – Too Good to Be True? Hopefully Not

On Tuesday a few of us got the chance to chat with Nat Bosa, the Canadian developer, in his brand new sales center for Insignia, the first condo development to break ground after five years of essentially no building. And this isn’t just any old condo project, this is 706 units of premium condos in two huge towers close to downtown.

photo%20%281%29 M Insignias Nat Bosa   Too Good to Be True? Hopefully Not

Since we’re late to the game – Curbed has the best photos, DJC has the best writeup and PSBJ covers the greenlighting of the second tower.

What hasn’t been as well reported is Nat Bosa’s passion. The animated 69 year old spoke at length about topics as random as diesel engines, oil fracking, and the history of Vancouver development. The must have said, “let me give you an example of that” ten times and then animatedly ramble on about another story. But he spent most of his time talking about sparing no expense to build the highest quality homes. (Consider that he’s already built 25,000 homes.) He’s also been at the forefront of pushing the next thing in amenities and so it is no surprise that Insignia is going to have a 41st floor sky lounge, huge 7th floor terrace, fitness atrium, yoga and pilates studio, screening room, pet area, pet wash, car wash, electric charging, bike storage and work area and indoor pool and spa. (I can’t think of another amenity that I’d want other than an indoor rock climbing wall.) But he emphasized that he doesn’t just invest in what you see, he invests in what you don’t see like a span coil system instead of heat pumps (I have no idea what a span coil system is) and some other mumbo jumbo about wrapping foundations.

He also spoke at length about his customer focus. “The only thing I have is my reputation.” He doesn’t build cookie cutter buildings; what works in San Diego and SF won’t necessarily work in Seattle. He doesn’t charge for upgrades. Everything comes standard, just pick your color pallet. If you have a problem he wants to hear about it first so he can fix it. I really believed him when he talked about standing behind everything he builds. As evidence he spoke (anecdotally) about the number of people who have bought at his other buildings lining up to buy here in Seattle. He also was proud of the fact that he lived in one of his own buildings and didn’t hide from fellow homeowners.

I left thinking all this was too good to be true. 707 premium condos, built by someone who really cares? We live in a city where nearly every major building has been embroiled in lawsuits and settlements. 2200 for $26 million. Mosler Lofts for $8.5 million. Gallery is going through a lawsuit now. How many developers and builders here have said they won’t do another condo? How many people will buy from Mark Schuster twice? A lot of people in Seattle’s last condo wave got burned badly.

Sure enough a search on Google for Nat Bosa and lawsuit turns up nothing other than some residents didn’t like their lobby so he ponied up $1m to re-do it. So maybe we finally have a standup developer on the side of the buyer and not out to make a quick buck. Nat only has this one parcel in SEattle though he is looking for more.

The grand opening is this Saturday at 2200 6th Ave. Who is going? If you go, let us know in the comments of this post what you think!

Some other things to consider:

  • Ceiling heights are a little low at 8’8?
  • Requiring 5% earnest money now with another 5% in 1 year with no contingencies for buyers in the Purchase and Sale Contracts (making the full 10% non-refundable)

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Disclaimer: Insignia is an Urbnlivn advertiser.

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.

  • Peter K

    Matt – I told you Nat was the best. He is a visionary and extremely passionate about building high quality homes.

  • http://twitter.com/mattgoyer mattgoyer

    You did! And I was definitely impressed.

  • Jeff Wilson

    Regarding the indoor climbing wall – there is one going in at the True North apartments on Dexter Ave!

  • http://twitter.com/mattgoyer mattgoyer

    Super cool! Would love to see it :).

  • ND

    Matt – I thought this was great development and was really excited about the high quality and luxury condo. So we put in a reservation for a 1br unit plus friend put in a 2br unit.

    Today we received the paperwork and upon closer inspection, the square footage on the contract that will be recorded is LOWER than the advertised/marketed square footage. It was 6.5% lower for 1br and 9.2% lower for 2br. The 2br was marketed as 1036SF and the contract says 941SF. That is outrageous and very disappointing. I would say that is a very nasty bait and switch and false advertisement if the developer is aware of this difference.

    I did a little google and found a litigation on Bosa Development. I even called the law firm and what they said is very similar what is happening here. I think people should be aware of this and carefully review the contract before signing. It is still a great project but the false advertisement is significant and unethical.

    http://www.bholaw.com/cases.html#bosa

    Bosa Development Corporation

    Bosa Development has built 9 residential condominium towers in California, 7 of the buildings are in downtown San Diego. In August 2009, lawyers from the Firm filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Bosa (and its sales agent RE/MAX) sold the condominiums with a square footage “bait-and-switch.” When selling its condominiums Bosa promised a specified square footage but actually built and sold units that were up to 28% smaller.

    The square footage promised by Bosa was inflated because Bosa’s measurements included space that the buyer does not own and cannot occupy. The lawsuit alleges that Bosa used the inflated square footages to increase sales and sales prices.

    The Bosa condominiums covered by the lawsuit are: Bayside, Electra, Legend, Discovery, Park Place, Horizons, The Grande, Marquee, and Radiance.

    For more information on this case, please see the complaint and motion for class certification.

    On July 7, 2011, the San Diego Superior Court certified a class of “all persons
    who purchased from Bosa residential
    units developed by Bosa in California.”
    The class includes purchasers in the
    Bayside, Electra, Legend, Discovery,
    Park Place, Horizons, The Grande,
    Marquee and Radiance. The lawsuit
    alleges Bosa and RE/MAX Real Estate
    Development misrepresented the
    square footage of the condominium
    units in a “bait and switch” scheme,
    resulting in units that are 7% to
    28% smaller than advertised.

  • http://twitter.com/mattgoyer mattgoyer

    :(

    Did they explain why there is a difference?

    And nice work on the Googling, thanks for sharing what you found.

  • ND

    They said it was due to drywall, and stuff. Not very upfront about it. They did say that SF may change, but this is clearly much lower and not the typical 5-10SF variance in condo marketed/actual SF. Previous Seattle high rise condo have never market condo in this manner and from the litigation, this is clearly a nasty pattern for Bosa. I would hope the builder re-look at this and do what is right because Seattle community needs to be aware of this and not be in another condo lawsuit.

  • Joseph Rajewski

    I checked out one of his buildings in Burnaby. Very nice (value too), but living in Escala you can not beat the 9.5′ ceilings, semi-private elevators, and huge balconies (plus no unit is under 900 ft^2). I think the 10% non-refundable “ain’t gonna happen” with smart buyers. That is leftover culture from the out-of-control Vancouver real estate bubble, I mean market. First building in five years and people are still scared of condos here- I don’t think they have forgotten the bubble just yet. I am glad he is building here and it will be a very nice addition to fill in the Denny (“Bermuda”) Triangle. Please ask him not to put carpet in the bedrooms. What is up with that Seattle? That would never fly in Boston.

  • MaryD

    Enjoyed the update on the 2nd tower going up with all the sales and reservations for a home in the 1st tower.

  • JD

    I owned three Bosa units in different buildings in San Diego and lived in two of them. They were great buildings, I did enjoyed living in them. However, I recently learned that there is a class action lawsuit scheduled for trial soon against Bosa for knowingly misrepresenting the square footage from what they stated with the Department of Real Estate versus what they marketed the condos as. The suit states that the difference in falsely advertised square footage ranges from 7%-28% smaller. With over 2000 home buyers involved in this class action suit and potential damages that can end up in the $10’s, if not $100’s of milliions, I would use great caution before making a hefty down payment for now, or at least until the dust settles. At a minimum, bring a tape meausre.

  • ZJ

    Washington Post:
    “There are two important legal records in a condominium: the declaration
    and the bylaws. The former creates the condominium and contains basic
    concepts, including a definition of units, common elements and limited
    common elements.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/01/AR2007060100946.html

    Related to that should be a survey that follows the definition in the Declaration.

    WA Condominium Law provides a definition, that appears to be all but structure supporting wall finishes that is deeper than paint-to-paint, but defers to the Declaration.

    RCW 64.34.204
    “Unit boundaries.
    Except as provided by the declaration:

    (1) The walls, floors, or ceilings are the boundaries of a unit, and
    all lath, furring, wallboard, plasterboard, plaster, paneling, tiles,
    wallpaper, paint, finished flooring, and any other materials
    constituting any part of the finished surfaces thereof are a part of the
    unit, and all other portions of the walls, floors, or ceilings are a
    part of the common elements.”

    That is all I learned about it tonight. You have to find the definition that applies. For example the square footage of a bunch of rooms does not total the area of a full level. Should that full level include the exterior walls or just living space?

    A modern, tall building can have significant wall thickness that can account for a sizable portion of overall area. Find the appropriate definitions before calling foul. It looks bad, but many a lawsuit is filed that gets tossed. An arrest is not a conviction.

    ND’s 1036/941sf difference can be accounted for with a perimeter of 9″ walls. Is that right? Look at the declaration and possibly a survey drawing. It doesn’t matter what is included as long as you know what is there. Should it change? Probably not.

    Be wary when you sign a contract that says ‘nothing we told you is reliable, this document is the full extent or our agreement, ‘ like all RE contracts, and others. Know your variables (area borders) and compare to others when shopping. Condos are slippery. HOAs are a mixed bag.

  • Raye Scott

    You only need to take a quick trip to downtown San Diego and see what Bosa Development has done for this city. His reputation for standing behind his product is well known and the quality of the product just keeps getting better and better. Nat is a visionary,not only in terms of timing, but of responding to market needs and changes.