Keller Williams Greater Seattle, Ben Kakimoto, Seattle Condo Agent

Sapphire Condos – Greenwood


Updated 4/28/07

This new construction project in Greenwood has flown under the radar. They officially began sales during their Grand Opening on Saturday 4/28 and apparently they anticipate a rush given their “Rules of Sale” which state:

  • Doors open at 10 AM
  • Limit to 2 units per customer
  • $3,000 deposit required
  • First come, first served
  • All units to be sold in 60 days
  • Must be pre-approved by on-site lender

Home and building amenities include:

  • GE Stainless steel appliances
  • Hardwood floors (laminated hardwoods)
  • European-style cabinetry in kitchen & bath
  • Slab granite countertops in kitchen & bath
  • Tiled granite floors in bath
  • Tall vanities bath
  • Ceiling fans in bedrooms
  • Fitness center w/Plasma TVs
  • Billiard & card tables (located off the lobby)
  • Private park on property
  • Terrace with waterfall & BBQ
  • Washer & Dryer with every unit
  • Parking with every unit
  • Pets ok, subject to restrictions

Note: They actually began soft sales on Wednesday. When I arrived at the sales center at 10:30 on 4/28, 24 of the 55 units were sold. By the time I left an hour later, an additional 3 units were sold.

The project consists of 13 studios, 22 one-bedrooms and 20 two-bedrooms. Prices start at $169,000 for studios and two-bedrooms range from $329,000 to $400,000 (I don’t have info on the one-bedroom pricing).

The homeowner dues are quite high, especially compared to downtown condos. They listed dues for a 446 sq ft studio at $250…that’s $.56/sq ft. Dues for studios are $250, 1-bedrooms are $285 and 2-bedrooms are $348. They stated the dues include the cost of the King County sewer capacity charge.

Overall, I was impressed with the project particularly considering the price ranges, unit size, numerous floor plan options, large entertainment terrace and a landscaped park area. The finishes were standard (laminated cabinets, basic carpeting in bedrooms) but better than I’ve seen in comparably priced conversions. Plus, there were many small touches such as a ceiling fan in every bedroom, fixtures, spacious closets, high ceiling heights and so forth.

It’s located close to the heart of Greenwood at 424 N 85th Street (map) about 2 blocks from Greenwood’s many restaurants, cafes and antique shops. Homes facing 85th can expect noise as 85th is a major East-West thorough-fare.

Here’s their website…though, it only has a registration form. The developers are Gamel & Mastro Properties who were the principals behind the Onyx and Epic conversions. A site registration applies.

View available Sapphire condos for sale.

View Photos

Related Story: Seattle PI article

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About the Author

About the Author: Ben Kakimoto is a Seattle condo and urban real estate marketing & listing specialist. Contact Ben to learn more about the Seattle condo and loft real estate market or about buying or selling a Seattle area condo. Find Ben on Twitter and Facebook. .


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There Are 23 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Mike says:

    >Gamble & Mastro Properties
    That’s Gamel, not Gamble, though I agree it’s a Gamble as well.

    The opening sentence of this post describes this as a new construction project although it clearly is a conversion. I’m positive it’s a conversion, as that’s all the Gamels do. The HOA dues are -HUGE-!!! (see Parc, Gallery, Expo62, and other new construction with better location / amenities)

    According to the project website, this appears to be the first project spearheaded by the Joel Gamel’s daughters, Joanne and Judy. Gamel / Mastro were also responsible for the Athena and Asia condo conversions. Athena is about $0.40/sqft for HOA

  2. Ben_Kakimoto says:

    Thanks for the correction on the name. Most of the other Gamel/Mastro projects have been conversions, but this is new construction…I’ve seen it being constructed. Mastro also owns the Leilani Lanes parcel on Greenwood Ave which will be new construction condos or apts. I agree, the dues are very high.

  3. Mike says:

    Actually, I’ve been watching this for a few years now and have even tracked the construction through all the permitting etc. From what I can tell, I think Mastro was originally intending this as an apartment building (since I found spread sheets online with breakdowns of detailed charges (including $25 a month for pet rent??!!)) then somewhere along the line they decided to go for condos. I was impressed by the place, it has a real Las Vegas hotel feel inside, but the location is stil a bit so so.

  4. flapjacks says:

    I lived in the apartments on the east side of the building for six months…what a waste of money. The area is convenient enough, but I assume the western units will have the same beautiful view of the Fred Meyer and McDonald’s signs and the frequent emergency sirens are sure to please. Unless they have a parking lot for visitors, guests will have a horrible time finding parking. These are rediculously overpriced, and the HOA dues are laughable.

  5. flapjacks says:

    Also, these are definitely new construction. I saw the foundation poured on the empty lot about a year and a half ago.

  6. Robert says:

    My guess is that this new development is only the first of many to come to Greenwood. A new library was opened just about 2 years ago. There’s another new apartment or condo building yet to be revealed (still under scaffolding) kitty corner to Safeway on Greenwood Ave. Also, I’ve come across an article proposing changes to revitalize the heart of Greenwood.
    Buyers of these sapphire condos may actually be getting a great deal! Think of how prices/demography have changed in belltown, ballard, and fremont over the past ten years. With the south lake union growth there will be certainly be people looking to settle into new housing and new neighborhoods; developers are always looking to make money too. I personally like the non-trendy diversity found in Greenwood.

  7. Ben_Kakimoto says:

    Robert – the building by Safeway is an existing apartment building. Whether it’s converting, I’m not sure. My initial thought was they were residing. I did a brief search on the DPD site but didn’t find anything.

    The area around Greenwood and 85th will be changing considerably in the years to come. There were plans to redevelop the Fred Meyer parcel as well.

  8. Hank says:

    I too lived in the apartments to the East. There’s no view to speak of – as flapjacks mentioned – and parking for guests (or residents with 2 cars) will no doubt be troublesome.

    I’d argue that the street noise is an issue, too; buses and trucks make their way down 85th all night long.

    Choose carefully.

  9. Q says:

    This building was originally intended to be apartments…I called the sign when the fence first went up since I live close by and was entirely curious! I was surprised to the see the hundreds of “A” boards all over the place for the new condo buiding 🙂 but will stop by within the next few days to check it out – thanks for the info, Ben!

  10. Nas says:

    Greenwood is a great neighbourhood and having lived here for four years it is dramatically different than it was even last year.

    It is a liveable, affordable neighbourhood with a great community feeling and allows people who aren’t rolling in cash and families the opportunity to live close to downtown.

    Better location is relative people who like Parc, Gallery etc probably have no desire to live in Greenwood but not everyone wants to live in Belltown. I own in both locations and live in Greenwood and comparing the two is Apples and Oranges.

    Carkeek Park is a gem, Greenlake is 5 minutes away and the quality of local restaurants, stores is constantly improving. Flapjacks should jump on the bandwagon now before Greenwood actually becomes overpriced.

  11. Ben_Kakimoto says:

    Nas – Thanks for your comment. In my opinion, Greenwood is probably the next neighborhood that will transform, following on the heels of Ballard. It won’t appeal to hardcore urbanites but it does have its own character and many great local businesses/services, not to mention an easy commute to downtown.

  12. bigg_b says:

    Hi Ben, I actually visted the saphire condominiums and I was pretty impressed with the place. The only thing that I could not bear to think of was the ridiculous HOA dues and the first level floors have the lowest ceilings I’ve ever been to. I’m 6’2 and I felt so cramped in the first floor, I could touch the ceiling without extending my arms straight. However the top floor has high ceilings. I do know that they are doing something right because they have sold I’d say 80 percent of their units.

  13. Gergorio says:

    I live in Greenwood and am impressed with the Sapphire Condos. Just one thing bothers me, though. They tore the sidewalk up out in front corner of the buiding during construction and just left it all torn up. I drive by or walk by every day — and evey day there are a few laborers staring at the unfinished sidewalk. They next day the laborers are kicking at the gravel that is where the cement will go. The next day they are out there talking about and milling around. You get the picture. It has been several months and no one can walk by 85th and Dayton on the North side of the 85th without walking out into the street. How many more months of inconvenience will us neighbors have? One? Three? Six? Have you ever heard of subconstrctors??

  14. barry martin says:

    I would check out the developer. if this is the same Gamel family who left our condo conversion with million of dollars of repairs and walked away from the project telling “my frineds” ” I will see this through until the end” We are still reeling from shoddy construction & a dveloper who left us with a 50 year old boiler instead of the 2 new ones he promised in the offering plan.
    Please check the offering plan as he had no reserve set up.

  15. Ben_Kakimoto says:

    Barry – thank you for your comments. I’m sorry to hear about your experiences at one of their conversion properties. At least for Sapphire owners, it is a newly constructed building.

    Gergorio – I was just there a few days ago and that corner is still unfinished. I’m surprised it’s taken so long…as a seller/developer I’d be concerned that it’ll take away from the appeal of the project.

  16. John Doe says:

    I bought at the Sapphire in 5/07. I think the Gambles let people think there were more sold then actually were to be honest with you. I think that’s how they roll to get people more interested.
    That aside, there were very nice and did whatever it took to please people. I have no gripes about them whatsoever.

    I agree, the HOA dues are ridiculous. However, I look at it as being 7 min tops from Belltown. Once you are on Aurora, there is two lights till Greenlake and it’s a straight shot with no lights. That’s pretty sweet.

    Although it’s no Belltown certainly, and not a freemont of ballard, (and it’s close to those as well), it is going to go through more changes. So as far as the “view of fred myers, etc”, the owners of the University Village own that and from numerous sources are apparently going to renovate it. That just means the property of my condo will go up.

    Some people act as though this view and supposed sirens are the achilles heal. I never heard any sirens, and I haven’t heard anyone talking about loud busses either, so…. Furthermore, part of looking for a good investment is buying something in a location that will appreciate in the years to come. Of course it’s not the “greatest” neighborhood, if it was, I would have paid 600K and not 344K for a 2/2 Duh.

  17. barry martin says:

    Ben; I am interested in learning how owners are doing at the Sapphire Condos in Greenwood as my condo is still in need of millions in repairs the Gamels left their “friend”eofre claiming poverty and moving on to their next group of uns suspecting “friends”

  18. barry martin says:

    How are the unit owners holding up over at the Sapphire Condos in Greenwood? I’ll bet the 2 unit limit on purchases no longer exists. Gamel was sold out within the first 2 weeks at the Grandview palace Condo in Liberty NY as well…..only no one could get a mortgage and the bank had to save the complex by finishing up the last 100 units, out of a total of 382 units. He also sold off 10 acres of our property which he later sold for $1.00 because he didn’t want to pay the taxes. It was later lost to the county gov’t due to non payment.

    He never paved the roads, or finsihed the parking lots and left the pools rusting and the tennis courts in disrepair. Not to mention leaking roofs, missing leaders & gutters, a 50 year old boiler and no air condtioning in the common areas.

    He did provide lots of bagles, coffee and cake before sneaking out in the middle of the night.

  19. Ben_Kakimoto says:

    As far as I know Sapphire is fine. Unlike most other Gamel projects, Sapphire was new construction and they partnered with a well-known local developer.

  20. anthony says:

    Anyone know how to get to view condo’s website?

  21. barry martin says:

    Interested in how the project is progressing at this point in time? is it still bells and whistles?
    Did the Gamels leave the scene yet?

  22. Ben_Kakimoto says:

    Anthony – they probably took the site down since the project is completed.

    Barry – so far, I haven’t heard anything. Unlike other Gamel projects, this was new construction with Mastro behind it as well.

  23. B. Franks says:

    I own a unit at the Sapphire and we are having HUGE issues! Mastro was incompetent and did not know how to build from the ground up. We are being told by our HOA board that attorneys have been hired and an indepth inspection of the building is happening soon.
    Mastro hires workers with no experience to fix issues throughout the building. So we have warped doors, cracks in walls, buckling floors, a leaking fountain, and lists of other issues the board has collected.
    Gamel was out of here as soon as the place was turned over to the HOA.

    A word of caution to anyone thinking of buying a Gamel or Mastro or worse combination building of the two. Save yourself the grief and expense of not knowing if you will be able to live in your building safely and or ever be able to sell your unit. DO NOT BUY INTO THEIR BUILDINGS! PlEASE SAVE YOURSELF THE HEADACHE!

    They allowed too many investors to rent and or lease their units. So we have way too many renters here. Hopefully that will be fixed soon.
    Work that was supposed to be completed is still sitting waiting to be done correctly.
    The Gamel girls are nice to a point but once you ask too many questions or insist on unit inspections etc they become very rude. Slamming the phone down on you rude.

    When you walk their building you are taken in by what looks like a great product. But look very hard at the quality of the of the materials that are in the units. Then walk the rest of the building and see if the pipes run straight in the building. Are there any odd holes in the walls, large cracks in places that should not have them, flaws in the glass, etc. Seriously, look at the whole building because you are buying into it and it’s issues become your problem. Don’t count on Mastro or Gamel to come and fix problems. They want to get out fast and leave you holding the bag.

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