Iconic Tower Already More Than 80-Percent Presold; Occupancy Mid-2019
Since debuting for presales in March, more than 310 of the 378 condominium homes at NEXUS have been sold in what brokers claim is the fastest new development absorption rate in Seattle’s history. According to its representatives, just one home remains available at NEXUS priced below $1 million while a flurry of recent sales have averaged one per day.
“We’ve enjoyed an unprecedented level of sales momentum through the summer,” said Michael Cannon, Sales Director for NEXUS Condominiums and a project marketing specialist with Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR). “Our presale success is a testament to an exceptional design and development team coupled with unparalleled market fundamentals. Quite simply, NEXUS is what the market was waiting for.”
Above: Michael Cannon presents NEXUS to a visiting delegation from the Asian Real Estate Association of America – the 2018 Global & Luxury Summit will be held in Seattle in April 2018.
The unique design and velocity of sales hasn’t gone unnoticed by local and international media outlets either. NEXUS has been the centerpiece of dozens of high-profile news stories and earned its first award for design excellence during the Pacific Coast Builder’s Conference (PCBC) held in San Francisco on June 29, 2017. The 41-story iconic development received a Merit Award for “Best on the Boards for a Multi-Family Project” at the 2017 Golden Nugget Awards.
“For a residential tower project to be recognized for its bold and innovative design this early in the process says something, as NEXUS is still two years away from completion,” said Blaine Weber, Principal of the architectural firm Weber Thompson who led the design process. “Transformative projects like NEXUS don’t happen without a visionary developer like the Burrard Group, and we won’t be surprised if this is only the first of many such acknowledgements to come.”
Weber describes NEXUS as a series of stacked cubes, which are offset by 8-degrees of separation, with each cube distinguished by a reveal that is in the form of Sky Terrace levels. This creates the perception that the dynamic tall and slender building ‘rotates’—a question that has often been asked at the NEXUS Sales Center. Its front and center location crowning downtown Seattle is a gateway to the city and it will be highly visible – both upon the cityscape and from within the tower itself as owners will enjoy expansive views of South Lake Union, Capitol Hill and Mt. Rainier.
Above: A rendering by Weber Thompson illustrates the provocative architecture of NEXUS against the backdrop of other towers as seen from southbound on Interstate 5.
“We didn’t want NEXUS to blend into the skyline and it most certainly won’t,” added Weber. “This tower will be a landmark and stands as an exclamation point to Seattle’s innovative spirit, asa beacon of progress – it is simply the next generation of urban living.”
Progressive architecture was just the beginning of provocative planning for NEXUS. Its developer, Burrard Group, sought to challenge the status-quo in high-rise design by introducing highly-efficient floor plans that benefit from in-line kitchens with optional islands, convertible rooms that expand living spaces and a variety of high-tech features hosting an array of services and forward-thinking conveniences, allowing homeowners to control their home, their community and their lifestyle.
The amenities are as plentiful as they are thoughtful; the Podium Club on the 7thfloor will feature a co-working space with meeting rooms, a media room for presentations, screening and entertainment, a dog lounge with indoor and outdoor spaces, a fitness center and yoga studio. The Sky Club located on the 41st floor boasts a fireside lounge, exhibition kitchen, catering kitchen, private dining room, conference room, games room and an expansive outdoor roof deck with a sky garden, BBQ area and lounge areas, commanding panoramic views high above the city streets below. There will be several guest suites available too, operated by the Home Owner’s Association like a hotel for overnight guests. Even the ground floor retail is planned to cater to the residents with a café concept accessible to the lobby and a destination restaurant space.
Above & Below: Nearly 30,000 square feet of amenities, common areas and retail spaces complement the individual homes at NEXUS to create an in-city resort lifestyle.
“Our vision for NEXUS is design-forward and very much hospitality-oriented,” said Christian Chan, Executive Vice President of Burrard who operates noted hotels and golf courses in Hawaii, California and British Columbia. “Our residents won’t just live in their residences but within a vertical village. We will activate community through events and promote interaction within the XEN app to foster a thriving, virtual ecosystem.”
NEXUS was so named because its location at the corner of Minor Avenue and Howell Street – perfectly centered between the Capitol Hill, the Central Business District, the Denny Regrade / Belltown neighborhood and the burgeoning South Lake Union district. However, this moniker also befits its pivotal place in the housing cycle as condominiums make a comeback in downtown Seattle and consumers respond to its innovative design features and amenities.
NEXUS is the first high-rise condominium to offer homes for presales in recent years, and given protracted permitting and construction schedules, it’s actually the last opportunity to own such property before 2020.
“The reality is 94-percent of what’s to be delivered in downtown Seattle for the current decade is built for rent and not for sale – condominium development continues to be undersupplied,” said Brian O’Connor, an economist and appraiser with O’Connor Consulting Group. “Developers believe the vast majority of new residents will prefer to rent for a few years before settling down, and their investors want to retain these trophy assets within the fastest-growing large city in the US.”
Above: O’Connor Consulting Group and RSIR jointly published a comparison of new apartments and condominiums over the past two decades and it demonstrates the overwhelming preference for developers to build rental housing.
Not everyone wants to rent and some pundits foresee a shortage of condos in the near future – just ask Dean Jones, President and CEO of RSIR. He’s monitoring approximately 15,000 new apartment dwellers that are paying between $2,000 to more than $5,000 per month to live in newer apartments that were delivered since 2010. He believes more and more are eyeing condos for tax benefits and equity gains and many are planning ahead with a presale purchase at NEXUS.
“What’s going to happen when say 10 or 20-percent of these new residents decide to buy,” questions Jones, “They will surface in the next year or two and discover that downtown Seattle is effectively sold out with an anemic resale selection and even higher prices.”
Above: RSIR published a new condominium development pipeline and notes that two-thirds of the total supply being delivered by 2020 is already presold.
Jones refers to a new developments pipeline graphic depicting zero new condominium deliveries in 2018 and NEXUS as the sole delivery in 2019. He predicts median home prices will continue to climb – especially resales, which jumped 27-percent year-over-year in July 2017. He notes several new high-rise projects are on the drawing boards but their product and locations will vary greatly. Truly the only commonality shared by these developments is the escalating cost of construction. According to British advisory firm Turner & Townsend, Seattle is now among the most expensive cities in the world to build a residential tower and it currently has more tower cranes crowding the skyline than any other market in the US.
Above: An animation by Burrard Group illustrates the central location of NEXUS and the meteoric level of development that is definint the East Village disrict of downtown Seattle – at this time, NEXUS is the only project to offer homes for sale.
“Developers are watching hard costs climb a minimum of 6 to 8-percent per year,” said Terry Bendrick, Vice President of Development for Burrard. “If we had to buy out our building again today, we’d have to tack on another 10 to 15-percent to our sales prices just to make it pencil. Fortunately, our presale buyers locked in their prices already so they are insulated from these market pressures.”
Extraordinary market fundamentals and rumors of an international home buying phenomenon has compelled numerous news outlets to feature NEXUS. Most recently, May Lee, a reporter with CGTV and a US-based affiliate of China’s CCTV, visited with market leaders to explore the trends. Her tour included meeting with city leaders, a presentation at the NEXUS Sales Center, a waterfront home tour. She also attended a private party hosted by principals of GeekWire – a leading source for news in the tech sector, to check out the so-called Silicon Forest for herself.
Above & Below: Mary Lee, a reporter of CGTV based in Los Angeles, interviews with Terry Bendrick at NEXUS Sales Center and Dean Jones along the Lake Washington waterfront. Lee says her audience is more than 2 billion viewers.
“Seattle indeed shares Vancouver’s draw as an international investment mecca and actually passed the Bay Area as the most plentiful job market for IT and cloud computing,” said Cannon. “But we pale by comparison to both markets when it comes development of condominiums. Our prices will play catch up to our West Coast peer cities much faster than the supply levels will.”
Despite the demand, a recent report by Sightline Institute explains the differences with condominium development in major West Coast markets and the headwinds Developers face including the Washington State Condominium Act. Here consumer protection policies mean a lack of security for condo developers given relatively nominal earnest money deposit structure and rescission rights held by presales buyers in Washington. Chan addresses this in a recent Q&A with Buzz Buzz News, by programming NEXUS to be both iconic and incomparable to the competitive landscape.
“Not all condominiums are created equal,” he added.