When the original developers started renovating a century-old church on Capitol Hill in Seattle, the real estate market was still hot. It was 2006 and the only direction the market seemed to move was upward. In reality, that wasn’t the case; it just seemed like it was.
The first owners went belly-up and the project stalled as the market collapsed. The current investors bought the property and the debt super cheap, and after pumping in another couple million dollars are finally open for business.
Like many other projects, the Sanctuary was clearly envisioned at the best time in the market. Unfortunately, it arrived at effectively the bottom of the market.
The “First Church of Christ, Scientist” building has historic landmark status. That makes the 12 town-home units truly unique, carved, as they are, into the hollowed out center of the old domed building. The units share a huge central atrium with a stained-glass oculus in the roof, but each has its own address and outdoor entrance.
The project is unique and it also helps tell an interesting story about the downtown Seattle real-estate market. For the in-city sales area within walking distance of downtown neighborhoods, business is actually pretty good. Median home prices went up last year by 5 percent. Sales volume was also up slightly.
Downtown Seattle condos are extremely popular. In the past, consumers have been weary of buying condos, given financing problems. However, sales momentum has really picked, which further brought on more sales. Buyers who have been on the fence have finally decided to make purchasing decisions, realizing that there probably won’t be any new major multi-family projects on the market for at least the next 2 years. The one-of-a kind “Sanctuary,” which took so long to make it to market, is the only project in the pipeline. This defines the end of the last development cycle. Today’s prices are set at slightly more than half what the original developers envisioned.