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Belltown Neighborhood Blog

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In spite of the building boom in downtown Seattle, there have been limited options for buying a home, versus renting. Somewhat resembling a giant stack of glass Rubik’s cubes, a new condominium called Nexus Seattle at 1200 Howell Street in the Denny Triangle, will rectify this for a few. The building will feature 382 units, vary in size and price, ranging from $300,000+ to $3.5 million. Because sections of the building are twisted to face different directions, owners’ views will vary, depending which floor their home is located on.

According to the Nexus website, 80% of the units have already been reserved as of November 2016. Underscoring the market’s desire for permanent housing and the influx of people for high-paying tech jobs downtown, hundreds of buyers lined up to pay the $5,000 refundable deposit to be guaranteed a spot at a priority presales event on June 4th last year. Some people even camped out overnight to be first in line.

The Burrand Group, the Canadian company that owns the site, plans to break ground this month to begin construction. The building itself will rise 41 floors, and will be within walking distance of at least two large-tech work campuses in the South Lake Union area. An article with Puget Sound Business Journal states a fitness center, common co-working space, the option of renting a guest room, and a rooftop terrace will be some of the amenities available.

As of October 2016, the median price for a downtown Seattle condo was $650,000. The median price for a 1-bedroom rental is currently $1,820 per month here, reflecting the 40% hike in rent over the past 5 years. Our city is now in the top ten of most expensive apartment markets in the United States, as of April 2016. So having the option of choosing a smaller place for the option of a smaller price (or larger space at a higher price) at the Nexus will no doubt appeal to some in our current high-demand market.

centrallibrary_exterior-interiorStanding at 1000 Fourth Avenue in downtown Seattle, Central Library, our largest city library, resembles a modern prism of glass and steel. Opened in 2004, the steel construction is meant to provide protection during an earthquake, and 10,000 glass panels reflect light outside, insulated to keep some of the weather from seeping in. Although some may consider the library’s architecture striking, the features and programs offered within the walls of the library are equally so.

The 11-level structure was conceived by principal architects Rem Koolhass, a Dutch designer with the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and Joshua Prince-Ramus, a founding parting of OMA New York, the latter originally from Seattle. In 2005, the year after it opened, this building was voted #108 on American Institute of Architects’ list of “America’s 150 favorite structures in the United States” and a national honor award from AIA for architecture. It has also received a Platinum Award for Innovation & Engineering from the American Council of Engineering Companies (AEC) of WA.

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Central Library is 362,987 square feet and also has 143-spot underground parking which requires paying a parking fee, racks to park bicycles, and metro bus service within walking distance. An elevator system, as well as stairs, whisks visitors from the bottom floor to the top.

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Interesting things to try that are unique to
Central Library: 

  • Choose from the 1,283,420 items in their complete collection (as of 2015)
  • Reserve a practice room (one hour daily limit) and play music on a digital keyboard, choosing from the library’s extensive music collection (at Book Spirals 8)
  • Access one of the library’s 400 computers (90 minutes limit)
  • Attend a concert or lecture in their auditorium
  • Lounge in the “Living Room”, a space on the 3rd floor that invites reading
  • Visit a traveling exhibition (such as Shakespeare’s First Folio which was on display last year)
  • Sip a cup of espresso while nibbling on your baked good, sandwich, or chocolate at the Chocolati Cafe Cart (Level 3)
  • Peruse the gift shop
  • Find an ancestor or look up a history through the Special Collections. The Special Collections contain:
    • oral history
    • state document depository
    • aviation history
    • genealogy records
    • historical documents about Seattle
    • written materials, 30,000+ photos, original artwork (2D and 3D), and maps
  • Pluck a book from the Books Spiral that rises & winds straight up through 4 stories
  • Study the public art inside and outside the library
  • Take a guided tour or a self-guided one by typing in reference #s on your cell phone at different, designated points throughout Central library
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Extensive Child Resources, Central Library
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Auditorium, Central Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting things to try at most Seattle Public Library locations (besides reading, of course):

  • Learn a new language (book, audio, or digital)
  • Learn new Adobe (InDesign, Illustrator, PhotoShop) and Microsoft Office (MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint) software
  • Loan a Wi-Fi Hotspot to take home with you
  • Print documents from your own wireless device (laptop, tablet, smartphone) using a Wi-Fi connection while at the library
  • Read a digital magazine through Zinio, a digital newsstand
  • Participate in the Library-to-Business program
  • Listen to an established writer through different classes and lecture series, such as SeattleWrites, then start your own book
  • Publish your own book through the SELF-e platform
  • Check out a wide variety of movies, from box office hits to lesser-known works

Interesting note: The amount the library has been used by guests is twice the volume originally predicted. Visit the Seattle Public Library website to find out more about programs on their Calendar of Events at Central Library and other locations.

upperfloor

All photos courtesy of The Seattle Public Library

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If dogs wearing costumes makes you smile (whether it’s your pooch or someone else’s), you may enjoy the 2016 Dog-O-Ween held at Bell Street Park in the vicinity of 2nd Ave. on Bell Street in downtown Seattle. The event takes place on Saturday October 22nd from 11 am to 4 pm, with a dog costume contest as well as a performance by the popular children’s performer, Caspar Babypants.

Presented by Seattle’s COLA (Citizens for Off-Leash Areas), this will be the 2nd year for this event. Last year’s event was sponsored by Seattle Parks and Recreation and 6 community partners, but was cancelled due to extremely harsh weather conditions.

In a former life, Caspar Babypants (real name Chris Ballew) was a member of the musical group “The Presidents of the United States of America”. He now performs well-received, family-centric music, and has recorded 11 children’s albums, including two based on The Beatles’ music. His 12th album is due out in November 2016.

Bring your dog or enjoy someone else’s…in full Halloween attire at Dog-O-Ween.

 

belltownReal Estate in Belltown/Downtown is continuing to show growth month by month. The numbers also show us that summer has been a busy buyer’s market. The number of sales as increased slowly up throughout spring into summer. Between March and May, the number of sales climbed in small increments March 38, April 44, May 53. At the end of June, we saw 164 residences sold with 93 left pending. The astronomic increase was due mainly to pre-sales for the Insignia building, but still shows the demand for condos continues to grow.

The general downtown area only saw 10 more sales this July than July of 2015, but the average prices increased. The lowest average price has gone up by $12,500, the median price increased by $169,450, and the highest jumped $1,520,000.  There are currently 63 active listings and 101 pending. We will have to see what this crazy neighborhood market has in store for us next month!

downtown seattleAs some of you may know, real estate in Belltown is booming! But do you know by how much? With all the new buildings going up in the neighborhood one can just assume how many people are attracted to the hip and trendy area. There are currently 93 pending listings, 45 of them being in the Insignia building. According to the NWMLS, last June (2015) there were 35 sold listings. This June there were a total of 164 sold listings, 102 of them being, once again, the Insignia Building. The cumulative days on the market dropped from forty days to fourteen.

Surprisingly, it seems prices aren’t jumping as much as you would think. The highest price for a home has dropped from $1,615,000 to $1,272,000, the lowest going from $219,000 to $210,000. But on the other hand, the median sales price is up from $557,800 to $414,950. According to the Development and Construction Projects on www.downtownseattle.com, there are currently more than 18,00 residential units in pre-development downtown. Looks like there will be a lot of inventory for next June!