INTERNATIONAL DISTRICT'S FIRST CONDO HIGH-RISE UNDERWAY

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As seen in Puget Sound Business Journal

BY MARC STILES 

Construction is underway on a condominium high-rise in Seattle, though this one will rise in the Chinatown-International District, which will be a first for the neighborhood. 

New-to-town DA LI Development USA, an affiliate of Taiwan-based DA LI, is behind the previously announced 17-story KODA project at 450 South Main Street, a block from the light-rail station. General contractor PCL Construction Services expects to complete the 203-unit building in late 2020. KMD Architects designed the tower.

Condominium development has taken off in Seattle, with several projects under construction and more planned.

Over a year ago prospective buyers waited in line on a Friday night to reserve KODA condos, and by the end of the weekend 95 percent of the units had been reserved. Not all of those would-be buyers stayed in, however, and now about 80 percent of the condos are reserved, said Dean Jones, owner of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, which is marketing the project for sale. Backup reservations have been made on about a third of that 80-percent, he said. 

Among the people who have reserved homes are renters from the neighborhood, parents of University of Washington and Seattle University students, and some domestic and overseas investors, though Jones said the latter group is a minority of the overall buyer pool.

“Some (prospects) work on the Eastside but prefer the lifestyle of downtown,” Jones said, with many of them employees of tech companies. When rail service to the Eastside begins in 2023, these people will be able to “live the culture of Seattle and the ID and then walk to light rail and get to work without traffic,” said Jones. “We are calling it the tech train.”

People with reservations can back out without penalty. Realogics will work to convert the reservations to purchase-and-sale agreements starting this month and begin sales to the general public later in March.

Prices at KODA range from the mid-$300,000s for studio units that are less than 400 square to more than $1.4 million for two-bedroom homes totaling 1,200 square feet.

 The project had to pass muster with the International Special Review District, a panel of community stakeholders that regulate design and development within the Chinatown-International District. The special review was created to preserve the Asian-American character of the neighborhood. Jones said the project went through 12 meetings, and the panel eventually unanimously approved the project.

Dean Jones