Tags: brookfield homes, dunn loring, falls church, housing market, new homes, northern virginia, nv homes, sales, TOD, urban living, vienna
Spectrum condominium is a new mixed-use with green features over at City of Falls Church right off Route 7 or Broad Street as the locals call it. There are 189 condo units in the 7-story building along with retails and offices. It is build by the same developer, Waterford, which builds the Broadway condominium a few years back, which is up the street. Easy access to George (Falls Church CIty feeder buses) and to major roads I-66, Rt. 29, Rt. 7. A short hop to Tysons Corner, Arlington, and two metro stations East or West Falls Church.
This building is not LEED certified, however it does offer some of - the 'green (eco-friendly)' elements that to a certain extent commonly found in buildings that are certified - in addition to the features you seen in other development (non-green condos), like granite counters, tile floors and tub surround, stainless steel appliances, 42" cabinets, and berber carpet.
Here is some the green and sustainable features this condominium offer:
A little bit about benefits of green roof for a building: 1) Protection for the roof
membrane - extend the life of the roof, 2) Savings on energy and cooling
costs, 3) Insulate sound, 4) Reduce the size of HVAC equipment, 5) Meet regulatory requirement for storm management, and 6) Potential to eliminate roof drains. So for the owners you get the benefit of low utility bills which is nice.
Each home gets one underground car garage and if you need additional parking space, it comes with a price tag of $18,000, which is on the low end - in comparison to other places like Arlington and Washington DC. Choices available from 1BR, +den to 2BR, +den and penthouse. Living space ranged from the smallest 1 BR 814 s.f. to 1,663 s.f. for the 2BR penthouse.
Amenities include fitness center, courtyard garden, lounge, theater room, bike storage room and internet business suite. Condo fees interestingly includes - almost everything from the basic (water, sewer, trash, snow removal, master insurance policy and CAM) to cable and internet access plus- heating and air-conditioning.
The question that always come up every single time is - what's the condo fee? At least over here because of the energy-efficient features (and green roof) it offer, you can be assure that you won't see big jump on your condo fee at least for a couple of years. The one thing lacks, is installation of solar panels on the roof. With PV installation, it could really make this condo the 'plus-plus advantage' versus other condos in the area. Condo fee starts from $331 to $562 per month (includes everything). Not bad. (I have seen older condos with $400 to high $700 condo fee a month that includes utilities.) Throw in a bonus perk there for secured access and on-site management (weekday).
Condos are priced from upper $300's to high $700's. They're running current incentives for a $5,000 + 1/2% closing assistance if you use 'their' designated lender and title company.
Tags: arlington, bamboo, climate change, cork, eco-friendly condo, eco-living, energy-efficient, falls church, global warming, green features, green roof, LEED, metro, metro access, PV, real estate, real estate trends, spectrum condo, tysons corner, urban living
A few weeks ago, I drove by Stockwell Manor, a new homes community in the border of McLean and Falls Church and saw the big sign that reads, "100% Energy-Star Certified Homes." The 100% Energy Star homes, peaked my interest to go back and revisit. Because sometime in 2006, I visited the community when they just opened up the office. Don't remember if at the time, they'd started marketing the Energy Star certified homes yet. Maybe they did, or didn't.
With no end sight on how high oil prices can climb, Camberley Homes, the developer really took the plunge and committed to build Energy Star certified homes. Even in today's standard, it's not 'main stream' yet. Wait a few years from now, this type of homes will be trendy by that time, especially as more and more home owners feeling the pinch.
This is probably the first Energy-Star certified community of new homes on the market in Northern Virginia that I know of. There is a few eco-friendly and LEED condos on the market. But, eco-friendly and energy efficient does not necessarily offers the same features. [We'll talk more about some other time about the differences between the two in another post]
What is an Energy-Star Certified New Homes?
According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency information, Energy-Star certified new homes must meet guidelines for energy efficiency set by the Agency. These homes must have 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code [IRC], and include energy-efficient features that typically make them 20-30% more efficient than standard homes. The energy-efficiency that separates them from the regular (standard) homes.
Energy-Star Certified homes uses energy-efficient features that contribute to improved home quality, comfort, lower energy demand and reduced air pollution.
image: front-loading washer & dryer
There are six 'Must-Have' components to qualify (or certified) for 'Energy-Star' homes:
Yes, they do have to be certified by an independent third-party rater.
The components are what separated a home from being energy-efficient versus today's not-so-energy efficient homes. Think about this, a well-sealed and properly insulated home is not only quiet, but it offers other features that aren't so much can be found in today's (or yesterday) standard homes. Things like better indoor air quality, lower utility bills and because it's designed to use less energy, it helps reduce the greenhouse gas emission. Less energy consumption equal to less strain on the grid.
From the outside, you probably can't see the differences between a standard homes versus energy-efficient homes. But, when you get to the inside, that's when you find most of the differences.
Here are some of the specs of Energy Efficiencies that you can find in their new homes:
image: Camberley Homes
There are two types of homes available at Stockwell Manor: Townhouses and single family houses. Twenty-nine single homes are planned and seventy-one townhouses. A number of homes already been built and occupied. Single homes offered approximately 3600 s.f. to 4200 s.f. of finished square feet, comes with top-of-the-line kitchen appliances, i.e. Viking Professional and Designer series appliances. Homes are priced from low $1.5 million to high $1.7 million.
Townhouses have approximately 2600 s.f. to 3600 s.f. of living spaces comes with 10' ceilings on the main level with 9' ceilings on lower and third level. All homes come with 2-car garage. These townhouses are priced from the low $900's to high $1.1 million.
Cromley Lofts, is the first-and-only LEED certified condominium in Virginia. They received Gold Standard certification from U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit composed of leaders from every sector working to promote buildings that .."environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. USGBC awarded the certification using rating system for each project. It is a voluntary program for green building. They received the LEED Gold Standard.
At least for now, Cromley Lofts, can enjoy their Gold Standard status -- until the next LEED certified condominium -- come into the pipeline sometime in the future.
What it Means to Be a Green Condominium?
Though, when you look at the amenities, this building is a basic condominium, Cromley is not a typical condo you can find anywhere around our area. It is very 'different.' It carves out a niche. What makes it different is this: The green features. The building was originally a warehouse that was converted into NY Style lofts. What is lacking here is the high ceilings higher than 9' to 10' that commonly seen in NY lofts.
Bill Cromley, the builder of this lofts says that his goal in building Cromley as Virginia's first green condominium is "because he wants to bring good urban design and green to reality." The three important criterias that makes this building 'different' than the rest of new condominiums you commonly see.
When I asked him, how he thinks about the Gold certification, he says that "..the LEED System is holistic. It is not just one thing but a lot of things combined. And for this building we have 42 different things combined." The information on USGBC website, mentioned that LEED certification for existing buildings comes with four levels depending on how many points a project met its criteria: 1) Certified - counts for passing 32-39 points in the rating system, 2) Silver 40-47 points, 3) Gold 48-63 points, 4) Platinum, which is the highest level only awarded when a building get 64-85 points.
Most builders use only a little bit here and there to green their buildings or new homes, featuring mostly energy efficient appliances.. like, front-loading washer and dryer, radiant floor, Energy Star appliances, but not completely green. Sometime, it is because not economically feasible [read: profitable] or they don't have the expertise to manage big development. Cromley himself said that "the hardest challenge in converting this building is the management of the project itself."
This is a 'basic' condominium featuring: green living. So- don't look for pool, elevator, roof top, etc.. things that commonly associated with new constructions, instead focus on simplicity, urban design, and healthy living. You won't find underground parking here. Instead of underground parking, you have bike storage for your bike, especially when you live in Old Town. Old Town has plenty of places you can bike to. Instead of poor lighting, you have plenty of natural day-lighting, which is good. Because most people associate daylight with positive feelings.
There are only 8 unit of lofts in the building. Six of those are above ground and two units are below ground (lower level). All of the units feature a combination of energy efficiency design and products use come from natural and renewable sources.
image: flooring is beautiful recycle lumber [antique heart pine]
The renovation of the building is carefully designed by Mr. Cromley and his team. All the things you see inside, like bamboo cabinets (there is no bamboo cabinets on the market!), shoji screen, they are made in their shop. Cork tile installed in the laundry room act as sound insulator. They use recycle wood for flooring for units above and limestone floors for units below ground. One of the best features of this building - is the green roof or vegetated green roof.
image: Green Roof
Green roof is not common yet in our area. Despite the fact that Washington DC is the US capital around here -- buildings in our area are not there yet -- especially in residential buildings. There will be another condominium featuring green roof coming to the pipeline in 2008. However, when you look at Chicago. It is now the home to 200 green roofs covering 2.5 million square feet, more than any other U.S. city. Some of the benefits of green roofs include reduce heating and cooling loads, and reduce urban heat island effect. According to Bill Cromley, "..because the vegetation helps reduce the impact of direct sun, green roof actually helps extend the life span of the roof itself."
The lofts are listed from low-$535,000 to low-$600's for 2BR/ 2ba with 1200 s.f. of living space.
Three of these new condos, have only a few units still on the market: 555, Capital Hill Tower and Matrix - these condos are located in the District.
555 Mass Ave.
This is one of the latest addition to the already crowded field of new condos built around the triangle - in Mount Vernon off Mass. Avenue.
I was told that there's no builders incentives here, because they said that "..they're selling the remaining condos at rock bottom prices!" Okay. You can see the prices below and compare it to some other new condos in the hood. The building has 246 condo units with 7 units still available, a combination of 1BR with 2B condos.
Features include, floor plans with high ceilings, granite countertops, hardwood floors, full size W&D, and oversized windows. All homes are already wired for high speed Internet.
The 1 BR condos priced from $349,000 - $355,000 for the smallest unit with 680 s.f. of living space to 711 s.f. While the 2 BR condos are priced from the low $469,900. The one 2 BR with a view of Monument is priced at $569,900. The 2 BR comes with *a* parking space.
Capitol Hill Tower
Capitol Hill Tower is a TOD (transit-oriented-development) and a co-op. It is not a condo! Across the street from Navy Metro. Don't let the sales representative talk you into believing -- that co-op form of ownership -- is better than condo!
We have only a number of co-op (short name for Co-Operatives) mostly in DC and a few in No.Va. There are some differences between the two form of ownerships: condo vs. co-op. The risk of owning a co-op come later one day down the road, when the times come that you want to sell it: The financing part of it. Yes, there are lenders ready and willing to financed the deal, but the numbers are limited. The explanation on their website, the so called "revealing the truth" ..should be taken with a grain of salt.
Though, the prices seemed low but, when you added the co-op fee (that includes tax, part of the mortgage payment) - the monthly payment won't be that low. The monthly co-op include your property tax payment plus- the your pro-rata share of the mortgage for the building. That's right.
Co-op features include, maple hardwood flooring, W&D, granite countertops in your kitchen, maple cabinets, There are 1BR and 2BR coops still available, priced from $310,000 for the 1BR to $450,000 for the 2BR units.
The theme of this condo probably comes from the movie the Matrix. When you preview each of the 4 available units in this building, you'll see the steel briefcase in the kitchen. Cool, huh? The building is located on14th Street corridor - blocks from the busy U Street corridor. This is a mix-use building condo-retail.
Condo features include, hardwood flooring, 9' to 11' concrete ceilings in living areas, large windows (floor-to-ceilings), track & recessed lighting, energy efficient heat and AC system, pre-wired for high speed Internet access and roof terrace overlooking DC neighborhoods. Though, the square footage of each unit is rather compact (read: small), because of high ceilings, you don't feel the smallness of the room. The plus here -- is the energy efficient appliances -- such as front-loading washer & dryer, heat and AC. By using these appliances will help you cut your monthly utility bills.
The 1 BR loft with 1.5 BA is priced from $499,900 to $519,900. The units come with 2 year leased off-site parking. The only one unit of which price includes parking space, is the 2 BR condo priced at $669,900.
You have a little bit more flexibility at this new condominium. The total number of condo units is 465 for the East and West buildings, and yet they still have to move about 145 more condo units. Some condos are in the East with more choices in the West building. The Eclipse is located just off Route 1 - right on the border of Arlington and Alexandria. The address is on South Glebe Road when you check the listings.
Building amenities include pool, fitness room, rooftop terrace, billiards room, plus-- you have a convenience of the newly opened Harris Teeter, restaurants, and adjacent to Potomac Yard shopping center. Every condo comes with a 42" plasma TV and is wired for high-speed Internet. Additional features include gourmet kitchen with maple cabinetry, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.
Prices varied for the condo units. They have so many different plans, even the sales reps sometime have to refer back and forth to the master plan.
Here is an example of what type of condominiums are available:
By the way, some of the units on the lower level (ground floor) even though the living space might be small, but because it has high ceilings 11+ ft. ceilings.. it gives you the impression that the inside space is roomy.
All of the condos above are available for immediate delivery (read: NOW).
Westlee is recently completed mix-use TOD (transit-oriented-development) in East Falls Church. A low-rise building with first floor retail and condos from the second floor and up. Conveniently located -- minutes walk to East Falls Church metro station, easy access to DC via I-66, minutes to Tysons Corner and minutes walk to W&OD trail.
East Falls Church metro station will be the future transfer station for Orange line and Dulles Silver line metrorail system. The station will become sort of the "Metro Center" of Northern Virginia. That's why, there are plans for high-rises slated for around the station. [We'll talk more about this sometime].
All the units were sold out within days after opening a year ago before the trends shifted. Now twenty of these units are back on the market! Amenities and building features include, fitness center, social room/library with billiards table, fireplace, bar and catering kitchen. Controlled access to the building, parking garage.
Each unit comes modern living amenities: 9' ceilings, 10' ceilings and lofts on penthouse level, GE Profile stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, pre-wired for cable, satellite, high-speed Internet service, and multiple phone lines. Spacious kitchen with flex-track lighting and island workspaces. The one bedroom/ den starts from 855 to 875 s.f. The 2br and 2br+den has living area in the 1200 s.f to 1275 s.f. Even though, the living area not that big -- but, because it has 9' ceilings, it looks spacious.
The 1br/den homes, are priced from upper-$300's to low-$400's. The 2br, 2br+den homes, priced from mid-$500's to upper-500's. Two remaining units for 2br+den with 2.5 baths, priced in the low-$600's and low-$700's.
Mount Vernon Place, a transit-oriented and vertical urban communities in the mixed-use Mount Vernon Triangle area in DC. Build by the team of Quadrangle Development and the Wilkes Company. There will be a total of eleven buildings with a total of more than 2.1 million s.f. of office, residential and retail. The neighborhood is located off Massachusetts Avenue, where you see cranes everywhere.
THE BIG PICTURE
Via Mount Vernon Triangle.
Mount Vernon Triangle is the extraordinary mixed-use neighborhood now being developed in the heart of Washington, DC. It provides the rare opportunity to create a new 15-block neighborhood in the downtown area. New homes, offices and places to shop, eat and relax will arise from 30 acres of underutilized land. MVT is small enough for neighbors to get to know each other, yet large enough to have all of the shops and services which are essential to everyday living. It offers a friendly, small-town atmosphere in the center of one of the world's great cities.
The Sonata, is the first luxurious condominium for the neighborhood completed recently. Features include, 10'-6" ceilings, private roof decks, hardwood flooring. Granite countertops, stainless applliances in the kitchen.I haven't seen the actual units yet -- but, according to the sales rep, the view from here is amazing. It is overlooking the Capitol...
Condo Alert!! Only two (2) remaining residences for sale on the Penthouse level, 11th and 12th floors with stairs to roof deck. Priced from the-$800's.
Madrigal Lofts, is the second residential building in Mount Vernon Place under construction. This is a 12-story loft style condominium at the corner of Fourth and I Street, N.W. According to the information on the brochure, "this loft project designed by Davis, Carter, Scott Ltd., it has historical roots in the second half of the nineteenth century, when a design revolution took place, giving New York City its Cast Iron District..." Interesting.
The lofts features: 10' ceilings, exposed ductwork and open floor plan. You'll find granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and hardwood flooring in the kitchen. Oversized closets, and bathroom feature ceramic tile, porcelain steel tubs and granite countertops.
There are different floor plans available. These homes priced from $365,900 to low-$400's for the one bedroom. The two bedroom homes starts from mid-$400's. Parking -- is available for purchase. In DC, you pay extra for a parking space. While in the burbs, parking is included. Delivery estimated around Nov/Dec of 2007.
The Four Winds at Oakton is a new condo conversion community in the neighborhood of Oakton. Oakton is the home to many of the million dollar homes. The location is ideal. Easy access to major roads and transportation. Minutes from Route 123, Tysons Corner, I-66 and two miles to the Vienna Metro. Just down the road is the Oak Marr recreation center, with racquetball, handball, and volleyball courts, a miniature golf couse and a heated indoor Olympic sized pool.
What stands out at the Four Winds is their oversized plans. For example, one-bedroom plans are offered in the range from 707 square foot to 1,109 square foot, which for the largest one bedroom that is 300 square foot above the typical one bedroom plan. The smallest two bedrooms are in the 986 SF range and goes all the way to the largest 2BR/2BA and den with 1470 square foot. That is a huge 2BR+den by any standard. There are 11 models to choose from with options: 1BR, 2BR/1BA, 2BR/2BA and 2BR/2BA and den.
Condominium standard features include wall-to-wall carpeting, new maple cabinetry, new appliances, washers and dryers with standard granite kitchen and bathroom countertops in every home. Most if not all homes here have balcony or patio. Sure, if you prefer -- you can have personalized your home with upgrades like bamboo flooring, stainless steel appliances and fireplace surround.
You can buy a home here with no down payment and no closing cost -- because the developer of this community, Orion, offers a 6% incentive of the base price (the max. allows). You can use the incentive to pay closing cost or rate buy down. A rate buy down can help lower your mortgage payment. The incentives only good when you use their preferred lenders and settlement company.
Condominiums are priced from $259,900 to $322,900 for one bedrooms, $317,900 to $342,900 for 2BR/1BA, and from $350,900 to $416,900 for the 2BR/2BA or plus den.
Not too long ago, the Royalton was sold out. But, the market shifted to a buyer's market. Now, the same condos that were sold out previously -- back on the market! The Royalton is one of the first mixed-use development in Old Town, Alexandria.
Located off Duke Street, in a section of Old Town where many of the new constructions take place. It is walking distance from Carlyle, the homes to many of non-profit organization's HQs and African American Heritage Park. Live. Work, Play. That should be the slogan. The location is "very" convenient to USPTO, only walking distance to USPTO. Close to 2 metro stations -- King Street metro, which is only a few blocks away and Eisenhower Avenue metro, a little bit longer walk from here. Need to do grocery shopping? No need to drive. Wholefoods Market is located on the ground floor of this building. Sold out (previously) because Wholefoods magnet? Maybe.
The Royalton offers not only style but such great modern touches like 10-foot ceilings and walls of windows. [T]he chef-caliber kitchens featuring 42" cabinets and granite countertops are prefect for preparing dinners made from ingredients purchased downstairs at the on-site Wholefoods Market."
Amenities include fitness center and resident library.
BACK ON THE MARKET.
There are a total of 7 homes still available. Two 1BRs available, priced from $359,900 (720 SF) and $349,900 (650SF). Four 2BRs/ 2BA -- they are all have 1,000 SF living space come with walk-in closets, wrap-around balcony priced from $499,900 (1000 SF) to $524,900. There is only one 2BR+den with 1500 SF and it is priced at $619,900.
PS: For resale, there are 12 properties on the market ranges from $365,000 to $750,000.