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Stranger Features on Views

By April 4, 2008


This week The Stranger is running a feature on views, A View Without a Room –
It’s the only part of your house that’s not part of your house. What’s a view worth, anyway?

The article touches on how marketers get those view shots before the condo is built. One way is with blimps, example Enso:

Two summers ago, in 2006, Fred Cavazos showed up at the Enso site, which was just a parking lot at the time, with an 18-foot-long helium blimp. Cavazos is the owner of Above the Rest Aerial Photography. The blimp is white with red fins and has “atrphoto.com” printed in black letters on its side. He attached a digital camera to the blimp and unspooled it up into the air like a kite. He had made markings on the tether to correspond with each of Enso’s planned floors. Cavazos maneuvered the blimp by hand and the camera, when the wind conditions were right, took dozens of pictures in every direction at each level.

Or with helicopters, example Olive 8:

…a miniature, remote-controlled helicopter came all the way from Chicago to buzz around above a pile of dirt at Olive Way and Eighth Avenue, where the 39 stories of Olive 8 would eventually begin to rise. Leslie Williams, head of Williams Marketing Inc. and the epitome of the successful entrepreneurial real-estate marketer in Seattle, is the one who hired the helicopter, which came with a trained pilot. The Chicago company SkyPan invented and patented the helicopter for the sole purpose of shooting views that don’t exist yet, because at certain heights, blimps are unsteady, and in certain urban zones, cranes are too unwieldy.

The article also points out the Cosmo problem of having your views disappear before you move in because of zoning nightmares.

For me I need a view. When I worked at Microsoft it was in an interior office with no outside light which was absolutely utterly depressing. So it was great to go home to a south-west corner apartment with views of downtown, the sound, the Space Needle, the Olympics and Queen Anne. When I bought a condo I couldn’t afford the same view but none-the-less I had a great view of downtown and the Space Needle.

Downtown View from the Meritage - Seattle Condo Space Needle View from the Meritage - Seattle Condo

My current condo’s view is not a nice as my last one’s but I still have a view of downtown, the top of the Space Needle and the Olympics (I’m waiting for my upstairs neighbors to bore of downtown living so I can move up a floor and get a view of Rainer to the south.)

The other view question is price. At Meritage there was a $20,000 differential between my unit at the one above. At Trace Lofts the differential was $25,000. While I had the opportunity at Meritage to buy the unit above mine I decided it wasn’t worth it (and I’m still glad I didn’t) and at Trace I’m still kicking myself and cursing the Sloan’s that I’m stuck in #201 and not #301. A study of same floor plan prices for new construction and then re-sale would be interesting to look at. Does the higher floor premium increase or decrease after purchase?

I own and manage Urban Living, a boutique Seattle and Bellevue real estate brokerage. I love lofts, floating homes, new construction, and mid-century moderns, but I will help you buy or sell just about anything!

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