Update 9/13/2011: The project, which had been foreclosed, was recently purchased by a New Jersey real estate investment company. I suspect they will complete the project as apartments in the near term.
A year over due, the last of Seattle’s new condominium developments is finally nearing completion. The boutique development at 1st Avenue & Bell Street, which was previously known as Alex, has been rebranded the Volta Condominium. I had an opportunity to tour the building and chat with the new marketing team recently.
When I last spoke to developer Gerry LaCaille in 2007, the original Alex concept reflected the booming condo market – upscale, customized and highly personalized catering to various buyer profiles. Today, it’s another story. The downtown condo market has struggled with the proliferation of high-end condo buildings creating a tough environment in which to bring a new development to market. Fortunately, like Enso and Escala, Volta has repositioned itself to appeal to a larger segment of buyers. Volta will still offer an array of layout and size options appealing to a wide range of buyers but with more standardized finishes allowing it to enter the market at reasonable price points.
Why the name Volta, you ask? Two reasons. First, to provide a fresh start with a new marketing & sales team. Second, it’s a marketing play on the name. The building has been renamed in honor of Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, known for inventing the electric battery. Alessandro pays homage to the project’s original name, Alex. The building is situated just two blocks from the Battery Street tunnel and the center of Volta’s medallion logo bares a likeness of the top of a modern battery.
Volta Condominium features 34 home homes with 20 different floor plans within its compact 8-level design. The ground floor will contain a commercial space and a live/work loft with one-bedroom, one-bedroom + den and two-bedroom homes above ranging in size from 626 to 1,095 square feet. There are two penthouses that will offer soaring 15′ ceiling heights, skylights, spectacular views and large private roof top decks.
The one-bedrooms on the west side and the two-bedroom north facing homes appear to have the most appeal, offering good living space and views. The 4th floor north facing units also have private decks.
The building and home interior features include:
- Two color and finish schemes – Cognac (light) and Slate (dark)
- Quadruple glazed four layer windows for noise reduction
- Vast floor-to-ceiling windows providing ample light and views, in most units
- High ceiling heights, up to 15′ in the penthouses
- Oversized stained wood doors to individual units
- Hardwoods in the entry, hallways and kitchen; carpet in living and bedrooms
- Whirlpool Gold stainless appliances with Bosch and Viking upgrade options
- Custom Euro Concept kitchen cabinetry
- Slab silestone counters with under mount sinks
It’s unfortunate that the living area will be carpeted particularly when many of the homes have an open kitchen / living design. Having hardwoods throughout would provide a more seamless finish. Perhaps that will change as the floors are laid. In order to keep prices down several items are not included with purchase, namely washer and dryers and parking. Aside from the penthouses, which comes with two parking spaces each, parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis for $25,000. At this writing, storage is still being worked out. It may be included with every home or offered as an option.
Prices start from $299,950 for a one-bedroom and range up to $1,095,950 for a large west-facing penthouse shell. The project has applied for FHA approval as 28 of the homes are within FHA’s loan limit. More pricing info to come shortly.
Amenities are limited to the main lobby and a roof top deck, though that helps to keep HOA dues down which is expected to be around $.44 per square foot. The roof deck, located on the east side of the building will include a dog run area and green space.
The sales center is slated to open at the end of April / early May with first occupancy expected in July. Though only a handful of units are presently listed in the MLS, all homes are available for pre-sale purchase.