Yesterday the Puget Sound Business Journal reported that luxury condo prices at Escala, a 30-story tower at 4th and Virginia in downtown Seattle (photo above), have been reduced by between 20 and 50 percent. Last week, the same paper reported a similar scenario at the Four Seasons Hotel/Condo project at 1st and Union (photo below), where prices have been cut by up to 45 percent.
Somehow I doubt that this news is generating much sympathy among most Seattleites.
The $370 million Escala has only sold six of its 269 units since starting pre-sales as far back as 2007. In 2008 they actually raised prices to entice buyers.
Marking down the penthouse from $12 million to $7 million is likely to be more effective. Who knew that even those among the tiny slice of top earners whose incomes have not stagnated over the past few decades tend to notice when things are absurdly overpriced.
As buildings in the downtown urban fabric, both the Escala and the Four Seasons buildings have their particular shortcomings, as I've noted here, here, and here. But I'm not gloating. Both also deserve some credit for bringing housing to downtown Seattle, and hopefully catalyzing more in the future.