The Lauren & The W Residences

The Lauren

If you’ve walked around downtown Bethesda, you’ve the seen the sign. The one that says “Starting in The Multi-Millions” 🙂  Despite the delays (a story for another day!), and despite what I find “amusing” about the sign, the final plans for These Residences was a bold statement.  And when they sell, an even more prnounced message.   If you build “it”, they will come.

The Lauren Residence’s “It” Factor

These are the products developers forgot to build.  The large 2 bedrooms, 3 bedrooms, other developers didn’t have the courage or “market research” to build. Bravo 1877 Holdings and company.  And you’re welcome… 🙂

The large 3 bedroom Condos + Bethesda = Sales

Aside from the smaller 2 bedrooms, The Lauren will sell in a flash.  Gretchen Koitz (Mom) and I saw the growing demand for large 3 bedroom Condos in the Greater Bethesda area — reach a fever pitch.  I’m not saying we were ahead of our time, well yes I am 🙂  

So you’re welcome 1877 Holdings….you did Quarry Spring all on your own.  But the next time you have a project concept, I’m open for counsel 🙂

In all seriousness, it took a coalition with visions and some courage to build a product that was clearly in demand.  And to all 3 of you who follow this blog, many thanks, and continue to hold me to my predictions.  I like to be help accountable.

So why does Greater Bethesda Needs a Condo Residence?  Feel free to read more about how I resided on the  issue.

why Bethesda Needs a W Hotel Condo Residence – November 14, 2009

Every area has slightly different housing needs — and if there’s one type of property the Greater Bethesda area is begging for, it’s the 2000 sq. ft.+ luxury condo. In this particular case, I picture a Boutique W,  with approximately 40 hotels rooms and 30 residences…all 2000-5000+ square foot units (the residences, that is). The upscale Hotel / Residence is the epitome of the “lock and leave” convenience, with the “resort style” living many are asking for.

More to come on The Residences Lauren and other new developments (that do it right!) – just wanted to set the record straight.  Hope everyone had great weekends!

A Bethesda Condo & Locations Within Locations

Bethesda Condos:  Location, Location, Location WITHIN a Location

I remember when “location within a location” became relevant again. I can even remember the first time I said it.  I was showing several high end Bethesda condos in the same development a over 4  years ago. It was mid 2006, a year removed from the madness of 2nd quarter 2005 (some of you remember that time; when you had to write a contingent free offer, escalate tens of thousands of dollars above asking price, and give away your first born child for a chance at getting that home :- ).

Downtown Bethesda
Just a pic of Downtown Bethesda

So, back to showing the condos: brand new, well laid out, and nice finishes…..all around one of the better developments in the Bethesda area. But the market had slowed a bit, my client knew it (I made sure he did!), and the developer knew it too. So when it was time to decide on two very similar units on different tiers of the building at relatively comparable price-points, my client turned to me and asked:

“Which one do you think?”.

Because it wasn’t an investment property or anything my client was planning on moving out of for the foreseeable future, I suggested he choose the one that felt most like home.

“But which one has more value?”, he insisted.

It was by no means a roll your eyes kind of question. I told him if he was happy with both, he should buy the top floor unit with the western exposure. It was $30K more than a similar unit facing east towards a busy road.  The question of “value” became synonymous with “marketability” and that’s where we discussed the concept of the Bethesda Condo Micro Markets. That is, we were past the point where the market demanded a “take what you can get mentality”. On the contrary, in this new real estate environment, there was a time to analyze values on much smaller scales. It wasn’t just the price per square foot, instead it was a combination of a lot of small things…not the least of which was the location within the building that would make for a more sale-able unit in the future.

There are many downtown Bethesda condo units but very few with un-obstructed, western exposures. There are many other examples of micro-markets and most have to do with demographics, supply, and demand… just a little Econ 101. For example, there’s a crying need in Bethesda for larger condo units or homes designed with one-story living in mind.

Four Seasons Residences Kona
Four Seasons Kona – Niche Luxury Condos in Washington DC

The picture to the left is from The Residences at The Four Seasons (Kona…not Washington DC!).  But looking at this picture reminded me of my client — and reminded me to kindly remind everyone that even in a market of “bargains”, it’s important to continue to analyze the micro-market. It’s not just the building, it’s not just the street and it’s certainly not just the price…instead, it’s combination of all the little pieces that make up value in our daily lives….like a sunset!

**Oh, in case you were wondering, my client ended up going with the unit with the Western exposures.

DC Condos Terraces, Bethesda Exposures & Location Within a Location

Defining Real Estate Micro, Micro Markets

This piece of market commentary was originally written by Gretchen Koitz in December 2007. But I thought it would nicely illustrate how and why large area market reports are useless. The post below takes this concept another layer deeper.  If you’d like to go straight to the source, visit our archives (this should bring you straight to it) >> Greater Bethesda – DC Real estate blog: Mircromarkets.

December, 9th 2007

How you can’t talk about the Washington Metropolitan market, or even the Bethesda market, or even the Downtown Bethesda market. Instead, you have to go almost block-by-block, and consider not only location, but also product….or how about location within a product? For example, I showed a condo in NW Washington D.C. a couple of weeks ago in a building that is somewhat challenged because of high monthly fees. Most of the time, units in this building tend to sit for weeks on end. In this case, however, this particular apartment had one of the most fabulous terraces I’ve ever seen.  It wrapped around the entire unit and faced open spaces and greenery…with an unobstructed view of The National Cathedral in the distance. It came as no surprise, that even in this “tough” market, this apartment was under contract in less than three weeks. It was a micro niche within a micro niche within a micro niche…

More reading About The Real Estate Micro-Market?

See >> Location, Location, Location Within a Location