+ With high demand and limited supply, what is the best practice to purchase a home?
It remains likely that more than one homebuyer will be interested in purchasing each home as they are released for sale. This means the seller will be reviewing multiple offers and the final sales price may land higher than the listing price. Buyers should identify which home they are interested in by reviewing the published release schedule and be pre-qualified to purchase by the preferred lender Caliber Home Loans.
Likewise, buyers needing to sell a home before buying a home are encouraged to have that solution in order. Offers to purchase with financing contingencies or subject to selling a home will be less attractive to the seller than offers without such provisions. Buyers are encouraged to prepare their strongest offer with a cover letter allowing the seller to select or negotiate with a buyer on the merits of that offer.
+ Can I order a pre-inspection of the home to remove that contingency and improve my offer?
In a competitive market it is common for buyers to request pre-inspections of the home or even waive the inspection. This is not necessary. The seller will provide all buyers with a five day period to inspect the home as part of the Purchase and Sale Agreement.
+ I can see a single home listed on the NWMLS but when can I view it and review the purchase documents?
The seller has agreed to list a single home as a representation of the Montana Circle properties -- each home will be listed for sale and priced accordingly when restored per the release schedule. Homes may not be toured until they are completed. The first series of homes will be available to tour on the Grand Opening Sales Event on October 4th, 2015.
All the purchase documents including the Purchase and Sale Agreement, Builder's Addendum, Public Offering Statement and other necessary disclosures will be made available prior to the Grand Opening Sales Event on the property website. The seller may list homes in advance of the opportunity to tour and write offers on the subject home.
+ How did you establish pricing -- what are the comparable sales?
The seller and sales team performed extensive research of the Magnolia and Queen Anne submarkets reviewing both new construction and resale properties for comparable sales. Factors such as home and lot size, interior improvements and view were considered. The seller has not necessarily prescribed adjustments to price for the historic nature of the property, the available property tax credits or the location within Discovery Park.
These intangible values must be considered by the buyers and the home prices will be calibrated accordingly through the transparent process of asking prices and selling prices being listed on the NWMLS. Ultimately a home is worth what a buyer is willing to pay for the property and the seller is committed to such market pricing.
+ I'm confused -- why are some homes on lots and other homes referring to a condominium?
The City of Seattle limits the number of times a larger parcel can be short platted into smaller, individual lots. In the case of Montana Circle the brick homes and the single family home are legally described on their own lots, while the four yellow buildings (comprising eight homes) are part of a condominium with ownership in common on that larger lot. While the ownership structure is legally different, the utility, lifestyle and value is effectively no different. Each owner of the condominium will have preferred use as a limited common element their adjacent yard area as well as access to a designated parking stall in the covered carport. All 26 property owners will have the same interest in the master association that governs the Homes at Fort Lawton community in terms of shared maintenance, landscaping, etc. Again, the operations of the facility will be the same regardless of the legal underwriting of the underlying real estate.
+ How does the historic landmark designation affect the property tax assessment?
The County Assessor's Office provides certain credits for landmark-designated properties. Generally, for a period of ten years the improvements value are abated so with the Homes at Fort Lawton the range of values will be from $200,000 to $400,000 (subject to final costs) per home that would not be taxed annually. Applying the 1-percent tax assessment to this suggests an annual savings of between $1,500 and $4,000 per year depending on the home. Final assessed values and tax credits will be determined by the County Assessors Office and the seller makes no specific representation.
+ I've walked Discovery Park almost every day for the last eight years. When can I purchase a home at Fort Lawton?
The Homes at Fort Lawton will be restored in a development sequence between September 2015 and July 2016, beginning with the homes on Montana Circle. Homes will be listed for sale once they've been fully restored and are ready for occupancy.
We are on schedule to open our sales center and model home in mid-September 2015. At that time, our first release of homes will also be available for immediate delivery and move in.
+ A few years ago, my husband and I were guests at one of the lovely large homes overlooking the park. We are now downsizing and wondering if there is anything a bit smaller?
Yes! The Fort Lawton community comprises 26 heirloom homes divided among two distinct enclaves: Montana Circle and Officers' Row.
Montana Circle offers 13 historic homes: 6 duplexes and 1 single family home, which was built for the Fort's hospital steward. Montana Circle homes are fully restored with re-imagined interiors, feature 2 to 3 bedrooms, and range from 1,674 to 1,995 sq. ft.
Officers' Row also offers 13 fully restored, historic homes: 6 duplexes and 1 single family home, known as "The General's House." These stately Sound-view homes perched on Officers' Row reveal stunning interiors, feature 4 to 6 bedrooms, and range from 4,027 to 6,656 sq. ft.
+ What are the sales prices of the homes?
Home prices have not yet been established. The developer, RISE Properties Trust, is in the process of finalizing all construction budgets, and expects to list select homes for sale in mid-September 2015, coinciding with the opening of our model home and sales center. The first listing features a home priced at $799,000. Final closing prices will be determined by the market and future release prices will likely be informed by recently sold homes.
+ Are you working with real estate brokers?
Yes, homes will be posted on the Northwest Multiple Listing Service and a market rate real estate commission will be offered to registered buyer's agents.
+ To what extent will the historic homes be restored and renovated?
With the endorsement of the City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board and other relevant permitting, the homes on both Montana Circle and Officers' Row will be substantially restored. All homes will receive new roofs, fresh paint (in the same historic color scheme), and many other refurbishments. A detailed landscaping plan, also approved by the Landmarks Board, will be executed, including the installation of a sprinkler system.
The homes' interiors will be fully renovated, including all new kitchens and bathrooms, as well as updated electrical, plumbing and radiant floor heating systems. Many homes will also receive architectural changes to the interiors to enhance the utility of certain rooms or, in many cases, to open up the floor plan, consistent with contemporary lifestyle preferences. The character and quality of the existing floors, trims, doors, fireplaces, etc. will be preserved and restored everywhere possible.
+ Is it possible to purchase the homes in their current condition or to request customized interiors?
For these unique heirloom homes, RISE Properties Trust has hand-selected a highly qualified team of architects, designers, and contractors specializing in historic preservation and renovation. Rest assured, the treasured Homes at Fort Lawton have been painstakingly and thoughtfully designed - reflecting a harmonious balance between their historic character and the luxuries of modern living. As such, they will be sold only as fully completed, turnkey homes. This approach will ensure consistent value of all homes within the community.
Additionally, in the interest of maintaining our construction schedule, we are not accepting requests for customization. However, new owners are welcome to modify the interiors of their homes to their preferences after closing.
+ How can these homes, that are a part of Discovery Park, actually be sold to individual buyers?
This points to a common misconception: although many of the buildings in Fort Lawton's "Historic District" are owned and managed by the City of Seattle, the 26 homes, and approximately 9-acres of land that surrounds them, have always remained separate legal parcels owned by the U.S. military, distinct from the property that eventually became City-owned Discovery Park.
+ How did the developer, RISE Properties Trust, acquire the homes on Officers' Row and Montana Circle?
For well over a decade, the U.S. military had not been fully utilizing the 26 homes it owned at Fort Lawton. This is largely due to the fact that many Navy operations had been consolidated in the Everett area. The Navy therefore had contracted Forest City, a Cleveland-based management and development company, to operate the homes as rental properties. In 2013 the Navy officially transferred land ownership to Pacific Northwest Communities, a joint venture between the Navy and Forest City. The homes and surrounding 9-acres were eventually identified as “surplus military housing” and tendered for sale. By Congressional mandate, surplus military housing was to be sold to the highest bidder, with proceeds from the sale to be reinvested to upgrade or create new military housing in strategic locations. RISE Properties Trust acquired the rights to purchase the properties, which the company closed escrow on in 2015.
+ Given the low density of the housing parcels, is the developer going to build more homes?
No, not only is the City very unlikely to approve additional dwellings on the 9-acres of property owned by RISE Properties Trust, but RISE believes that more homes would not be in the best interest of the citizens of Seattle or the eventual owners of the historic homes. The only new buildings planned are the replacement garages for the Officers' Row homes.
+ Can you tell me about the developer of The Homes at Fort Lawton?
RISE Properties Trust is the developer of The Homes at Fort Lawton. This Canadian real estate investment trust has offices in both Vancouver, BC and Seattle, WA and benefits from senior management with more than 80 years of combined experience. The company is vertically integrated with in-house acquisition, redevelopment and management, and specializes in key markets throughout the Pacific Northwest. RISE Properties Trust and its senior management have transformed more than 10,000 units of rental communities and condominiums. For more information visit www.RisePropertiesTrust.com
+ The Homes at Fort Lawton have been an iconic landmark in our community for decades; what is the developer's vision for the community?
Rise Properties Trust considers itself a custodian of The Homes at Fort Lawton. With a deep sense of pride and responsibility, our team looks to thoughtfully restore this national landmark, and subsequently preserve it forever through independent home ownership. We approach Fort Lawton as a living work of art. Every design and construction consideration honors the legacy of the property while transforming the homes for modern use, convenience and lifestyle, for generations of future ownership. The development and marketing team has sought leading council on the formation of the Home Owners Association and Rules and Regulations to contemplate the lifestyle and foster a rich sense of community among the new homeowners.
+ These homes need lots of updates, and have so much potential. Who is handling the design and architecture?
Founded in 1986, GGLO is one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest and most respected full-service architectural and design firms comprising a leadership team of 15 Principals, 6 Senior Associates, 14 Associates, and a team of more than 100 staff members. The firm specializes in Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Planning & Urban Design, Sustainable Design and Asset Management, and is perfectly suited and experienced to restore The Homes at Fort Lawton. For more information visit www.GGLO.com.
In addition, GGLO has retained BOLA Architecture and Planning to guide the historic preservation of the homes. BOLA has a passionate interest in history, preservation and the continued use of historic buildings and materials, celebrating the unique qualities of these buildings as well as their cultural heritage.
+ Who is handling sales for the community, and will you be working with outside brokers?
The Homes at Fort Lawton will be represented exclusively by Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty. Licensed Real Estate Broker Stephanie McMahon has been appointed as the Community Sales Director for The Homes at Fort Lawton and brings to the community more than 20 years of experience in marketing high value and unique real estate offerings throughout the western United States.
Interestingly, Stephanie has first-hand knowledge of US Navy and Officer Housing as a result of her husband's lengthy Naval career. Her family has lived in nostalgic US Navy communities in Hawaii, San Diego, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico to name a few.
Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty is a Seattle-based sales and marketing firm with more than a decade of experience representing dozens of high-profile developments and more than $1 billion of new construction and condominium conversion properties. The entire development and sales team welcomes the participation of brokers. For more information visit www.RSIR.com.
+ I'm a bit confused, what's the difference between Fort Lawton and Discovery Park?
Fort Lawton was an Army post established on Seattle’s Magnolia Bluff in 1900 to serve as a coastal defense for South Puget Sound and the Bremerton Naval Base, but also to help protect the City of Seattle from the lawlessness of the time. Light on heavy artillery, Fort Lawton served as a major port of embarkation of soldiers and materials, ultimately processing over one million soldiers and their families.
In 1968 Fort Lawton was rejected for proposed defense upgrades, which prompted the Army to “surplus” 391 acres of the site – land transferred back to the City of Seattle in 1972, and a year later dedicated as "Discovery Park," in honor of HMS Discovery, the ship commanded by Captain Vancouver during his exploration of the Puget Sound.
In 1978 twenty-four of Fort Lawton’s original buildings were listed in the National Register of Historic Places, creating the “Fort Lawton Historic District.” Located in the heart of Discovery Park, the District includes the historic houses located on Officers’ Row and Montana Circle, as well as the PX and Gymnasium, the Stables, and the Chapel among other buildings, as well as the large kidney shaped Parade Grounds.
The remainder of Fort Lawton was included on the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure list, leading to its permanent closure on September 14, 2011, and final transfer to the City of Seattle in 2012.
Discovery Park is now a 534 acre natural area park operated by the Seattle Parks and Recreation. It is the largest city park in Seattle, and was created "to provide an open space of quiet and tranquility away from the stress and activity of the city, a sanctuary for wildlife, as well as an outdoor classroom for people to learn about the natural world."
Information provided has been obtained from sources deemed reliable but cannot be guaranteed. Seller reserves the right to modify without notice.
The Frequently Asked Questions are provided to answer your most common and pressing inquiries about The Homes at Fort Lawton. Please feel free to email us with your own questions and comments.
Thank you for your continued interest in The Homes at Fort Lawton.