Monday, November 2, 2009

The Moda's Hilarious and Hazardous Predicament


In this economic climate, the specter of repossession is all around us. People around the country are losing their houses, cars, furniture and various other belongings to repossession. It's a grim reality that impacts mostly individuals. But what happens when something larger than an individual doesn't pay its bills, say an apartment building? In this case, the same thing. It's just a question of how accessible any given item is for those wanting to take it back.

I received an email from tipster Chad on Friday. He detailed an outlandish story: he was walking by the Moda Apartments on 3rd, between Bell & Battery and saw some rather large men scaling the side of the building on tall ladders, apparently without the knowledge of Moda management. They proceeded to partially dismantle at least five of the building's balconies and throw them into their truck. When Chad asked the guys about it, they said that the Moda owed them $20,000 and they were repossessing the balconies due to lack of payment.

Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Who on earth repossesses balconies? Well, I walked past the Moda the next day and guess what? It's absolutely true.

Here are the pictures:





As you can see, pieces of several balconies have been removed. Chad also informed me that every one of these units is occupied. As funny as this situation is, it's also quite hazardous if any of those residents arrives home unaware of what has happened. Since I haven't heard of anybody accidentally falling to their death at the Moda over the weekend, I'm figuring that the management has things reasonably under control. Incidentally, I called and asked them about what's going on. They have no comment.

I have nothing against the 251-unit Moda. In fact, except for the corrugated or "shipping container" look (perhaps imported from Western Ave.), it's a welcome addition to the neighborhood. I mean, it replaced the derelict one-story former Pacific Publishing building, which wasn't doing anyone any good. And since last year, it's been a reasonably good neighbor. Oh, if you've been living in Belltown for a while and you need a good laugh, check out the Moda's "hip surroundings" page. It's hopelessly out of date. For example, were you aware that the Teatro Zinzanni is still at 5th & Bell? It's true! And, according to the map, you can still enjoy dinner at Nara at 5th & Lenora. Both of these have been gone for around two years. Teatro Zinzanni has moved to Mercer St. and Nara closed down.

From the time I spent temping at a real estate management company, I came to realize that most buildings operate in near-permanent debt. They generally owe months and months of bills for power, water and the like. Why, my own lovely, ancient building gets a water shut-off notice nailed to its front door around twice a year. But this strange event is a different animal; it's the economic downturn asserting itself in new and weird ways. I wish the Moda the best of luck getting its balconies back. And no, I don't consider them deadbeats. They merely failed to consider just how hungry their poor subcontractors were.

My thanks again to Chad for the tip.

Read more of Hideous Belltown!

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

This building did not go through the Downtown Design Review process...it was a lame duck vested to old code somehow kept alive with a building permit. The two street level floors are crushed and present an udesirable image to pedestrians. The deep narrow "modulations off of 3rd are dark and dank. And a discerning eye can see that all the outside balconies on the north and south have wood posts supporting their decks...very incongruous on a Type I concrete building.
The DR Ranger

Anonymous said...

I look forward to the "reposessors" being brought up on charges.

Creating a hazardous condition for residents is not the way to get a developer to pay up.

I hope the HOA presses charges.

Anonymous said...

Since when do apartments have an HOA? Moda isn't a condo.

Anonymous said...

This is what liens are for.

Igor Keller said...

I completely agree with Anonymous #1. Their street-level spaces are quite sub-par. They may become attractive in better economic times, but unfortunately those are some years off. Overall, it shows a lack of foresight, but I still don't hate the Moda. It's better than the Pacific Publishing Building.

Anonymous said...

So I live here (Moda) and want out...its just been a disaster since we moved in. Everything is cheaply made and is all for show. I wonder if there is a way to break the lease without having to pay tons of money. If anyone has a loop hole, I would love to know.

Anonymous said...

Report the balcony situation to the City of Seattle - it is clearly a safety hazard and the building should have its occupancy permit pulled! That will get you out of your lease....

Anonymous said...

To the person who lives in the Moda and wants out. I empathize, but, really, welcome to Belltown. All buildings here suck in their own way. We're on our 4th Belltown building - now at the high-priced Ellington - and feel like throwing ourselves off the balcony (OK, at least we still have balconies) on a regular basis. Junky build, noisy, lousy ventilation, etc. etc. If YOU figure out how to break YOUR lease, please let ME know....

Anonymous said...

Moda is terrible. I also live there and I am counting the dys until my lease ends. The entire complex is filthy and neglected. The apartments are brand new but falling apart. I have nails backing out of the ceiling, baseboards falling off the wall, and the carpet is not nailed down properly. This apartment complex has no redeeming qualities; not to mention it is way overpriced. Take my advice and stay away!!

Anonymous said...

Moda never told it's tenants what happened. The office staff is full of lies.

Chic Geek said...

Oh GREAT just what I wanted to hear... I'm moving to this area, and Moda WAS on our top list... does anyone have any other suggestions of places to live in Belltown that might be better??? Any suggestions would rock... i'm moving from Orlando, FL so ANY help is appreciated!!

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