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Capitol Hill sells out — Wave of new apartments reportedly moving quickly

A Terravita view

They keep building new Capitol Hill apartments — nearly 350 new units have opened up since May. And new tenants apparently keep filling them up.

Welcome to Capitol Hill.

This summer has seen the opening of Citizen Apartmentsand Lawrence Lofts on E Madison, andTerravita on E Pine. All three have been selling like hotcakes, according to building managers.

“It’s been a little crazy,” said Devon Richardson at Terravita, which opened up leases on June 1. “We’re already 70% leased — opening in the summer has been great for getting this sort of response.” 

Citizen and Lawrence Lofts have both leased 90% of their units and don’t look like their slowing down. Lawrence Lofts reported that they’ve already sold out, and Citizen is looking to follow suit soon.

“We do expect to sell out soon, but still have some very nice options including a few studios with balconies and Mt. Rainier views, a few courtyard units and a couple of larger one bedrooms as well,” said Adam Webber at Citizen. Remaining units range from $1,400 to $1,800.  “Demand has been very high. We opened on the first of April and it has been even busier than we anticipated.”  

Prices at Terravita range from $1,255 for a studio to $3,195 for a luxury suite.

Inside a Terravita studio

According to Richardson, most tenants signing leases are fresh hires at tech companies and young doctors looking for an easy commute. “I’ve seen a lot from Amazon, Google and Microsoft signing on bedroom + den units and two bedroom units,” Richardson said, “lots of young people starting their careers.”

CHS reported on the marketing effort at the Citizen and Lawrence Lofts here in May.

The Daily Journal of Commerce reports that rent prices are predicted to shoot up 5% this year in Seattle. Currently, 5,000 units are under construction in the city and 60,00 are planned. As the massive influx of new apartments into the city floods the market, the inventory may slow rent growth.

Whatever the price, units on Capitol Hill are going quickly. “As we get down towards the end of the summer, it will probably start to wind down a little,” Richardson said. If things continue at the current pace, that slowdown might be because Capitol Hill’s apartments are completely full.

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34 thoughts on “Capitol Hill sells out — Wave of new apartments reportedly moving quickly

  1. I’m moving out of a 1991 building just south of Pike where I’ve been paying about $1,000 for a 1-bedroom. On Craigslist, the asking rate for a 1-bedroom for new tenants is over $1,400.

    The bizarre thing about apartments is that more supply doesn’t necessarily drive down prices. The new luxury buildings set the new high prices, then the older buildings come in just a bit lower to provide the illusion of value. It’s pretty stunning how quickly prices have jumped up.

  2. The current wave of gentrification sweeping across Capitol Hill is going to push out anyone who isn’t a doctor at Swedish or a tech worker at Amazon. Regular, working and middle class people – queer and straight – will no longer have a home in this neighborhood. The ONLY thing these developers and landlords care about is squeezing out every last dollar from our neigborhood before moving on like vultures to the next one.

    Its a myth that the oncoming supply will drive down rents. They’ll build until they get a sniff of a market slowdown and then they’ll move on to the next thing – most likely overpriced condos. And Capitol Hill will be left with a new average rent floor that is much much higher. Sure, building lots of apartment units in Capitol Hill might draw renters here and away from Tukwila, but so what? Should we be grateful to get gentrified out of our own neighborhood just because it means someone in Tukwila gets a cheaper apartment?

  3. I think “prices have jumped up” may be the understatement of the year. I just got kicked in the teeth with a ludicrous rent increase notice.

    It’s not that it is particularly bizarre. New places still have to make back the money it cost to build the gawdawful things, so of course they get to charge high rents. And now that there are so many options for tenants (including moving elsewhere), the old places are more likely to have vacant units, meaning the cost burden will have to shift to everyone who is left in the building.

    It won’t take long for things to level back out, but we are certainly caught in a perfect storm here. I have to ask myself how important this community really is to me–do I stand my ground or make a new home somewhere else?

  4. unbelievable! and agreed – the only way more apartments = lower rents is if the demand is low. If there are enough people willing to pay through the nose for small apartments, there’s no incentive for anyone to lower the rents.

    Some friends looked at Citizen – the apartments look nice, but the windows are the kind that swing out – they only open a few inches, no air flow at all.

  5. I’m no stranger to commenting on this issue, and it looks like simple supply and demand in action. I wish I could live in a high rise condo in Belltown, but I can’t afford it. Its not the city’s or the landlord fault, and I am not going to cry “I’m being pushed out”. Sorry people if you can’t afford to live in the fancy new (albeit small) apartments. Keep in mind:
    1.Living on CapHill is not a right.
    2. There still is 95% older building to chose from.

  6. Where are all the people who make Capitol Hill great, who are not doctors and Amazon workers going to go? Columbia City? No, Columbia City is for young parents and the over 30 crowd. Georgetown? I guess, but it still feels old. Tukwila? Burien? Lake City? Tell me, so I can move there, start the gentrification process, and move somewhere else…

  7. You’re 100% correct. I think it’s just a sad thing to witness…sure those “inexpensive” places still exist, but not for long, that’s the part that sucks. You see the writing on the wall, that Capitol Hill isn’t going to be the same place in 15 years…BUT, nothing is forever.

  8. What do you have against doctors and Amazon workers? I love how all you hipsters and queers think that Capitol Hill is yours just because you managed to find a cheap shack to squat in for a few years. News flash: the neighborhood doesn’t belong to you. Neighborhoods cost money to build (imagine that). And the stupid new light rail and useless trolly that all you liberals voted for costs cold hard cash. And since that cash is not coming out of a barista’s paycheck it has to come from people who can buy property and pay the taxes. Don’t like it? go somewhere else.

  9. “Where are all the people who make Capitol Hill great, who are not doctors and Amazon workers going to go? Columbia City? No, Columbia City is for young parents and the over 30 crowd.”

    So, should I infer that if you’re over 30 and/or a young parent, you couldn’t possibly be one of those “people who make Capitol Hill great”? Is it only hipster 20-somethings that “make Capitol Hill great”?

    Silly me– I thought diversity included all kinds of different people. Dammit, I’m 53– I already knew I was ancient– but I guess I might as well just end it all now and make room for someone cooler.

  10. What people don’t realize is that by promoting high density and bogus green projects that go over height limits, developers are raising the property tax bills of all surrounding properties. Older, less expensive apartment buildings are forced to raise their rental rates to keep up with their expenses. The people who holler for more density play into the hands of the developers and are the first ones squeezed out of the neighborhood. The situation is about to become much worse as this high density development no longer requires much, if any parking. So those people dependent on a car–the working poor, elderly, disabled, churches, artists who need an audience, single women who don’t want to walk miles in the dark to find their parked cars–will have to move out of this neighborhood. Not everyone can rely on public transit. Those with enough money will be able to live in this neighborhood because they will be able to pay hundreds of dollars for a parking place, or a taxi or a limo and driver. The City is delighted because now this neighborhood is contributing many more tax dollars to their coffers. They will probably give themselves a raise for being so smart and suckering so many people into their plan. Most people just move away and can’t quite figure out what happened, you know.

    The well-heeled might not be too happy in the end because these buildings are getting so high that no one much will get a view of anything as one tall building crowds out another tall building and the bigger fish has enough money to get a postage size view of a section of an Olympic Mountain from their bathroom. But at least they will be able to afford a car to get away for the weekend–you won’t. You will be stuck for life in a big city wishing you had $$$$. You won’t be able to ease your pain with beautiful views and gentle breezes even on a bike ride through the city–the buildings will be too tall for that. You will only see mountains and water on t.v. or on your computer screen. You will ask old people what Seattle used to be like and wonder how in the world it was once deemed “a most livable city.”

    The sooner people and the local media figure out this trend, the better for trying to mediate it. Otherwise, they will discover they are writing and blogging from some other neighborhood because they and their staff surely can’t afford to live on Capitol Hill.

  11. I really don’t get what the variable of “queer and straight” has to do with any of this. Sexual orientation doesn’t really impact your rent. Unless you’re banging the landlord, of course…

  12. And yet, PoDog, where do you think all the baristas that are pulling your espresso are coming from? If they can’t afford to live on the Hill and they can’t afford to commute from the south end or other areas where rent is affordable, who’s going to make your coffee and serve your meals at all of the Hill’s great establishments? A mix of housing types and incomes is critical for a healthy neighborhood (and the city’s) overall economic well being.

  13. The overbuilding of Capitol Hill is happening quickly and without regard for what makes it livable and great. New construction is slated to happen on Union and 11th — two huge buildings that rise over 70 feet, dwarfing the neighbors in all directions. They get to build this high because of “green credits” and are not required to provide parking for the hundreds of new tenants that will live here. Maybe the city believes that they can use public transportation, but the developers are not required to contribute to the development of mass transit, or bike lanes, or the like. Parking on the hill will become even more of a nightmare…

    Isn’t it about time that our city planners looked for the greatest good? One where the people who live in our city can have light and air and beauty? I am tired of being out voted by the ones with the biggest wallets.

  14. But if you don’t get the density, the resulting (fewer) apartments and living spaces will just become that much more expensive. And you won’t be able to afford those either, and you’ll be priced out anyway. So what’s the difference?

    This happens in every city in every high-end neighborhood, and especially resort areas. The people that work there can’t always afford to live there. That sucks, but it’s just the way it is. It’s not at all unique to CapHill.

  15. dod,

    Metro, Sound Transit, light rail. Plenty of affordable options to get to work on Capitol Hill. Just like I use it to get from Capitol Hill to my job in Bellevue.

  16. @PoDog Not all of us queer liberal hipster types on the Hill like the trolley or light rail, because by tearing up the streets they’re driving small businesses away and it’s very unlikely people with cars will use light rail anyway.

  17. $100k is not middle class. Salary of the average person is what? $40k, $50k. Tech workers make more than that and doctors make way more.

  18. I disagree with your inference that the under-30 crowd is what makes CH great. Georgetown “feels old”? Not for long, if you youngsters get forced out by rising rents as you fear. A neighborhood of all under-30s is no neighborhood at all. I guess you miss campus life, but its time to grow up and either pay your rent or move.

  19. I’m sure you probably voted for Obama. He offers middle class tax cuts to households that make up to 250k.

    If someone makes 100k do you consider them wealthy? No, you don’t. They are middle class.

  20. And he’d be wrong to call someone making $250k middle class.

    Earning more than 90%, 95% of the population in America is not middle class.

  21. Moi, It’s wrong to assume that people with cars don’t take transit. They just do it because they WANT to, not because they have to.

    and by the way, t.r., that was an implication, not an inference.

  22. Thank you for your comments. I’m really tired of hearing people whine about how they are being “pushed out of Capitol Hill.” There are lower rent options, such as the buildings managed by Capitol Hill Housing and Seattle Housing Authority, as well some older places where rents are still reasonable. If you are lower income, and really want to stay on Capitol Hill, you can do that…it just takes a little effort to scout out the possibilities, and a willingness to settle for something a bit less “cool” than your ideal place.

    Or, of course, you could always try to find a new job at a higher wage. But that would take some effort too. No one is going to knock on your door and offer you a fabulous apartment for $500/month.

  23. These prices are pushing me off the Hill. After almost 7 years of my 30 year life, I am leaving the Hill. Prices are jumping way up. My rent just jumped by $200 after a year. Why… new places, new folks moving into the area. I’ve noticed it has more and more of a belltown vibe. The new restaurants are pulling people (which is great for business), but now people are moving in. Wanting nice new apartments. They want more swank and less authentic personality. Or maybe that is their personality, substance over style.
    Well after my lease ends in a few short weeks, I will be leaving the place I didn’t think I would leave, even after having kids. Where I will be going… not yet sure, but someplace I can walk to grab a cold drink, a bite to eat, and a place to grab some groceries. Except now…it won’t be capitol hill.
    Pockets of great existance still can be found. 15th is still nice and chill. 19th is growing, but at a nice reserved pace.
    I wish you all luck, and hope that your rents don’t also jump skyhigh, and push you out, so the Belltown crowd can move in.

  24. Not that unbelievable… Hundred year old buildings in three area have been charging that much for years. The Charbern at Olive and Belmont was charging that for a 450 square foot studio in 2007, and its certainly only more expensive now.

    Granted it was for a seventh floor unit with an amazing view of downtown, but still.