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50 Shades of Escala
   
February 14, 2013
 
 

50 Shades


Who is this woman and why is she good for Seattle CRE? She's British author E.L. James, and her scintillating book 50 Shades of Grey (plus its two sequels) is set at Escala, the luxury high-rise condo at Fourth and Virginia. With Valentine's Day approaching, we thought a tour was only fitting.

EL James
First thing's first: "There is no red room of pain... that I know of," clarified our tour guide, Rennie Marketing Systems's Tatum Spalding, the agent for the developers. No helipad either. But there are some incredible amenities, like a temperature-controlled wine cellar, spa with five treatment rooms, and weight room with two resistance pools. And people Googling the 50 Shades Of Grey building "shut down our website three times," Tatum says.

DSCN1324
Escala, completed in December 2009 and rebranded as not-quite-as-expensive-as-you-thought city living shortly thereafter, was a market victim, though perceptions depend on whether you were buying or selling. (Buyers, Tatum notes, got incredible value.) But the market did affect the building. "We toned it down from uber-luxury," she says. (The grand lobby, eschewing Bellevue beige for rich textures and surroundings, could've fooled us.) Of the 269 units, 40 remain unsold.

DSCN1328
Above, our rather New York-y view of 4th Avenue from one of the penthouses. Being selected as the setting for 50 Shades came as a surprise. (Though really, does it ever flit through any developer's mind that their project may become the central feature of a mommy porn novel?) Though James's books have made the building something of a tourist destination (people do stop for pictures outside) residents, including San Francisco Giants pitcher and UW grad Tim Lincecum, another Yankees player, and at least one Mariner, have managed to live quietly.


Meet Patrick

Patrick
This week, it's our pleasure to introduce Patrick Kassin, who has just relocated from Atlanta to be our Seattle sales manager (here he is at Grand Canyon National Park, where he stopped en route). Proof that Patrick is well equipped for the job? He owns 20 suits (or at least he did before seeing the Amazon "uniform." We expect he'll have accumulated several articles of North Face gear by next week.) Patrick's got plenty of CRE experience, having worked for Tivoli Properties in Atlanta as director of marketing and then for Prudential Georgia Realty. He also co-owned a CrossFit gym in Atlanta. His "come to Seattle" moment happened 18 months ago in La Push, where he and wife Evyn hiked into the rainforest and then sat on the beach in the sunshine. He's impressed by the area for other reasons, too: "The market is just so strong here," he says. Want to have coffee with Patrick? Drop him a line at patrick.kassin@bisnow.com. He'd love to meet you.


NYC Digs

our-new-office
This is the very cool building on West 46th Street in Manhattan where our 20 NY-based employees just moved from more crowded conditions in our previous Times Square building a couple blocks away. Concrete floors, high ceilings, exposed pipes, open kitchen, roof deck—the works. If our editorial quality declines, it's because we're partying too much.

If "Die Hard" is the perfect Christmas movie, what do you watch with your loved one on Valentine's Day? Trick question: The answer is also "Die Hard." Blythe.lawrence@bisnow.com.

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