Monday, March 29, 2010

Please Don't Call It Alex


It's the Volta now! You know, I've spend a fair amount of time documenting various construction/renovation projects around this neighborhood, but the Volta at 1st & Bell has escaped my notice. Why? Well, probably because it's been in stasis for the better part of a year. It has just been sitting there with a scaffold around it with no activity at all. Even before that, progress was very slow. I learned to ignore it. It was begun in June 2007 and slated for completion in Fall 2008. Yeah, financial crisis Fall 2008. That didn't work out so well. But here it is, almost three years after ground was broken and it's still not done. Yes, it has a new name (in honor of Alessandro Volta, inventor of the electric battery - I kid you not), and its intent has changed by moving down a few rungs on the luxury ladder.

Here are some more photos:


As you can see, now that the scaffold is off, it's a decent looking building, though I'm thinking that its neighbors at the Apex (Apex + Alex = get it??) would dispute that. The new building came in and completely blocked the view to the outside world that many of the Apex's units had. Now they look at a wall. But nevertheless, it's not a horribly ugly building whatsoever. Its design is along the lines of the neo-retro deconstructed style that is quite popular today. My issue with the Volta is that even before the financial crisis, it wasn't practical or unnecessary. It's too small (just 34 units on eight levels) and its location is not great. Those facing west get a sweeping view of the viaduct and those looking east will see, uh, Belltown. And it can all be yours for $300,000 to $1,100,000. This is a substantial reduction from the original asking prices of $500,000 to $2,000,000+. Because of the price cut, new residents can expect what they're euphemistically calling "more standardized finishes" - meaning that everything's cheaper: countertops, appliances, fixtures, etc. Even though it's more affordable, it doesn't mean that it should have ever come into being. It was originally supposed to be embody ultra-luxury. Well, so much for that. Today, it's just a mini-condo building with a dubious future. To me, the name change spells trouble. No matter what it's called, things will be tough. I hate to say it, but I think things would have been much better for many people if they'd just left the property as a parking lot. But let's wish them luck.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a Saltaire project. And they are nothing but CROOKS.

ruffhauser said...

Anything is better than a parking lot. I wouldn't buy one of these places, but someone will, and they will pay taxes and contribute something.

Igor Keller said...

But it was such a nice parking lot!

Anonymous said...

It WAS a nice parking lot, and it afforded Flying Fish patrons with a view to enjoy while relaxing at the bar or one of the window tables-so peaceful.

Doug said...

The constant complaining of "blocking my view" in Seattle still speaks to its small town mentality. Give it a rest already.

What Seattle needs is more density, and if a developer doesn't make as much money on a project, that sounds just fine to me.

At least Volta isn't a literal hole in the ground like many other projects.

Igor, stop being so negative, it will only shorten your life.

Anonymous said...

To the person complaining about the lack of view from the Flying Fish -- they're moving to South Lake Union or something very soon anyway, so that no longer matters much.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment that Saltaire
is nothing but CROOKS, after buying a townhome from them, with acknowledged construction faults that were never corrected as promised. Hopefully, they lost plenty on this project, that they couldn't LIE their way out of.

Igor Keller said...

Stop being negative? I said it was a NICE parking lot! Jeez, there's no pleasing some people.