Brad Golik is a condo specialist with LuxuryCondosofPortland.com and Total Property Resources in the Pearl District. You can reach Brad at 503-896-8856 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
As The Cosmopolitan nears completion, the feedback is…?
As the Cosmopolitan nears completion, it reminds me of the night when the developer invited many top agents to get their input on what their condo buyer’s wanted in a new “Luxury” condo development. Here were some of the suggestions from agents that night: Bigger decks, high end finishes, spacious master suites, spacious feeling units, fireplaces, and my input…a small artificial grass “potty” area for pets on the mezzanine level so that owners did not have to go down to street level late at night. Now, lets take a look at how they did in these areas: High end finishes. Well this was a given considering the prices charged. But is everyone happy? The truth is, Pedini cabinets are very nice, but they are a little over contemporary for some. All in all, a decent job here! Bigger decks? Well, apparently after the meeting, the developers ran to the architects…and told them to do the total opposite! The deck space on a majority of these units is terrible! Add the exterior door swing and they become even smaller!
Spacious master suites. A majority of the master suites remind me of Waterfront Pearl. (and this is not a compliment!) Most masters at The Cosmopolitan have a width of 10 feet (and only one place the bed can go) So with a King bed and headboard/footboard you are looking at about 2.6 feet or less of space to walk around your bed! And remember people, as an example, the SW corner units (E4 Plans) are $1,000,000+ condos! Fireplaces…we are good here! Pet area on the Mezzanine level…not happening! And not saying it was a great idea just because it was my idea…but? And finally…and I want to spend some time here, spacious units. This is where I think there will be the biggest amount of disappointment amongst buyers when they move into their new units. (and from people I have spoken with that have seen the units, it seems to be pretty accurate.) The problem in a number of floor plans is the actual usable living space. In a number of units there is an excessive amount of hall space. To use an example, let’s go back to the E4 plan in the SW corner…or the 14 stack (1314,1214,etc..) This unit is a 2 bedroom unit with 1,592 square feet. If you calculate in the amount of hallway space in this unit, it equals about 225 sq. feet or approx. 14% of the total square footage… this is a lot! ( if you take away that amount it makes the actual living areas closer to 1,367 sq. ft.) At 14% it comes in a close second to the worst unit which is the 2 bedroom units on the NE corner (the D6 Plans or the 17 stack…1817,1717 etc.) these have approx. 14.5% of the square footage in hallways. Others in the building are the 15 stack in the SE corner below the 14th floor at 13.5%, the 12 Stack in the NW corner at 12%, and the best in terms of actual usable space is the 15 stack in the SE corner above the 13th floor as the number there represents only 7.3% (and remember, these are approximate numbers, not exact!) For a little perspective here, let’s look at the D6 plan (NE corner below 19th floor) At 1,350 square feet, if you loose about 200 square feet that puts you at 1,150 square feet. In the world a spaciousness in condos, 200 square feet of space is a lot of space.
So are there other buildings in town with hallways taking up livable space? Of course (but none that you ever paid $600 to $1200 a square foot for!) The point I am trying to make here is that if you walk into your new unit at The Cosmopolitan, and it feels a lot smaller than you were thinking it was going to be… depending on which floor plan you bought, this could be part of the reason.
Some of the other feedback that I have heard has to do with customer service, or from what I have heard on a number of occasions, the lack of. Have spoken with several that have not gotten great service in working on the design aspects of their purchase…even one who paid over several million! Hopefully there will be more people with positive comments than negative ones as we move closer to closings!
Since my first post about the Cosmopolitan I have gotten many calls and emails from people to discuss the Cosmopolitan and the pricing. What is interesting is that a number of buyers are trying to justify the pricing with comments such as…but it will be new and have all new appliances! Here is what I often tell them. “If you want new appliances, by a resale condo in a nice building like The Metropolitan, put $30,000 to $50,000 into a nice kitchen remodel and you will still be way ahead of the game compared to paying extremely excessive prices at the Cosmopolitan!”
Since my last update on the Cosmopolitan… not much has changed.
If you can recall my first post where I wrote about the euphoria of the new project and the normal sales of a new project when the developer sold 33 units during the grand opening. A couple weeks later I said the total sales were at 36 (December 11th). As of today, sales at the Cosmopolitan are at 40. From our last writing they have sold an additional 3 of the 1 bedroom garden units. These were units that were selling in the high $300,000 to the $400,000 range. (also priced in the $550 to $575 per sq. foot range. ) Most of the units that sold during the euphoric grand opening period were the smaller 2 bedroom units on the NE corner which sold out units #717 to #1817. The price range for these units was $769,500 to $918,000. The price per sq. ft for these units went from $575 to an excessive $680 for unit #1817. In my opinion, units #717 to #1317 in the $575 to $600 range is not unreasonable… still high, but not totally out of line. . 70% of the original units sold in the grand opening were in the $550 to $620 price per sq. ft. range. The low hanging fruit is now gone!
I am still sticking to my belief that this project is way overpriced! They have sold very few of the 1 bedroom units other than the popular Garden units. They still have not sold anything above the 21st floor with one exception, unit #2315, priced at $1,773,000 (crazy $1,000 per sq. ft!) I am still a little baffled as to why 8 to 9 buyers paid between $800 to $1000 a sq. ft. Again, was it the excitement of a new building,? Was it that they did not have representation from an outside broker to explain to them the severity of the high price per square foot they were paying? While it is certainly not my intention to bash this project, because I was as excited about it as anyone, the fact is that it is just very much overpriced. I believe it everyone’s right to make a reasonable profit from their hard work. But when I see excessive numbers in several areas that benefit the developer beyond a normal number, that is when I have a problem. Overcharging buyers by a considerable amount over the current market, again, the developer can pocket additional excessive profits. What happens to those buyers who are buying a unit for $650 to $1200 a square foot, and then realize a year after they move in they need to sell their unit for whatever reason. These buyers will be hammered in the resale market! Why? Because they paid $650 to $1200 a square foot in a market that should be $450 to $850!
What is my hope on this project? While I personally never wish bad on anyone, I do hope that sales remain as slow as they have been and maybe get worse. This will force the developer to drop their prices to REASONABLE numbers so that buyers don’t get punished when they become sellers in 2-5 years! In addition, my hope is that they will also go back to everyone that has made a purchase and additionally drop their prices as well. Again, I said the low hanging fruit is gone for the most part and sales will only get tougher for the developer moving forward as they try to sell a ton of units in the $700 to $1200 sq. ft. price range.
Buyers…ask yourself this one question. Should you be paying more for a condo than a similar project in Seattle? And remember, this project in Seattle is only 60% sold after a year and a half and has the benefit of Amazon as a nearby job force to support it! In addition Seattle is just priced much higher than Portland in general!
I am adding the graphic below again because I believe it tells a story pretty well!
If you still have an interest in making a purchase at the Cosmopolitan, please give me a call and we can discuss what may be the best values within the building because there are some units that have better value than others. Call Brad Golik at 503-896-8856.
Cosmopolitan on the Park
Since my last post on The Cosmopolitan, my tune on the project has changed dramatically! Why is this?
Several things actually. First and foremost is pricing!!! This project is almost like a tale of two cities. You have the city of $600 a square foot and then the city of insane pricing of $700 to 1199 a square foot!
When I wrote my first post on this project it was directly after the Cosmopolitan had their grand opening. After the first week and a half they had 32 sales, which is pretty typical with the euphoria of any new project. As of Monday morning of this week….they are at just 33 sales!
Let me start with my main issue and that is their pricing… It is higher than the new building Insignia in Seattle! Seattle’s condo prices have always been higher than Portland’s and I know that condo market very well up there. The first tower of this dual tower project is only 60% sold after a year and a half of marketing. This is a building that offers stunning Elliot Bay views. Speaking to my fellow www.Condo10.com friend and condo specialist Jim Stroupe of the Stroupe Group, he said the downtown condo market in Seattle is being driven by Amazon (a downtown headquartered company) that will be bringing in over 50,000 jobs to the downtown area. My point here? Isignia has not been a huge sellout ( only 60% of tower 1), even with the awesome amenities being offered (see tour below) and the downtown job force. In addition, many of the sales at Insignia have been Chinese investors, something we don’t have a lot of in Portland.
The Cosmopolitans pricing up to about the sixteen floors for two bedroom units is very high in my opinion, but above the sixteenth floor it just gets ridiculous! When Insignia, which I believe will be a superior building, is selling for $700 to $800 a sq. ft and The Cosmopolitan jumps to over $800 a square foot for the NE 19th floor unit, something is wrong! On the SE corner units the pricing is at $1,507,000 for unit #2015. This is $850 a sq. foot! And it quickly jumps to over 900 a sq. ft. Pricing from the 19th floor jumps $88,000 per floor! Crazy!
For comparison sake, if you go back a year and a half and look at Portland’s best, most expensive condo sales, you only have 2 condos that sold in the $800 a sq. ft. range and one of those was the penthouse at 937 which was $805 sq. ft. The penthouse PH3 at The Metropolitan sold for $690 sq. ft.! Most of the top 20 sales were in the $500 to $700 range…and these are some of the best units in some of the best buildings like The Metropolitan, The Casey, 937 and The Henry!
My second issue with this project is the marketing of the project itself. I believe it has been very thrown together and not very well thought out. The developers have not been overly agent friendly (they are paying buyers agents 1% less than Insignia is paying the agents in Seattle) They have not presented this project in the most professional manner. They currently do not even have a website up and running that shows buyers what they are getting for their overpriced units. Going back to Insignia (who has hired the Mark Company to do their marketing) they show buyers in many ways what they are getting, from aerial views from each floor to a video like tour http://www.insigniabybosa.com/#/tour . These are things that should be done before you start selling a multi million dollar project! I would be much more inclined to drop down $1,500,000 if I could get a visualization like this instead of just a few samples in a showroom. Once again Hoyt has chosen to use their in house sales force. In addition, they are forcing buyers to get pre-approved with an individual at Wells Fargo… who, as I understand, happens to be married to the Sales manager at The Cosmopolitan… no conflict of interest here?
What am I doing with my clients? If they are looking at units in the $500 to $600 a sq. ft. range I think that is marginally ok to make a purchase because if the market runs up, they will eventually be at market price…a risk though. Anything that is above $700 a sq. ft… I will be telling them to wait or I will find a unit at The Metropolitan,937, The Casey or one of the other very nice buildings in town. Here is a thought. Instead of paying $1,950,000 for a 1773 sq. ft. non -penthouse unit at the Cosmopolitan, you could spend $1,700,000 for a penthouse at the Waterfront Pearl that has great water views and night city light views and 3300 sq. ft.! One more thing to add here. The developer is asking $3,757,000 and $3,883,000 for the 2 penthouses with amazing 28th floor views. If you remember a while back, the penthouse at The Westerly that was priced $1,000,000 less, had the most spectacular views in the city (4 mountain and city view) and it didn’t sell at that price!
Bottom line….In my opinion, this building is way overpriced and I will be telling my clients…and others to wait. They will have to bring their prices way down! For those who have already put down earnest money, I feel bad because there are no escape clauses in the Hoyt Street in-house contracts that allow for them to bail if the developer reduces prices. I especially feel for those 6 buyers out of 33 who paid $800 to $1000 a sq. ft. With any luck if the developer does reduce prices maybe, just maybe if they have a heart, will reduce your prices as well!
For me personally, this is a tough situation because I believe with correct pricing I could easily sell $10,000,000 to $15,000,000 of this project and it would put me in a nice situation when the project closes in mid 2016. Instead, I would rather protect my clients best interest! I believe that if buyers held tough, over time the developer MUST reduce the prices to something in the realm of Portland condo pricing!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist in Portland and has sold condos in both Portland and Seattle.
You can find him at http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com