Thursday, August 30, 2007

Senate Square Closes Sales Office, Temporarily

After months on the gossip wagon (whatever that even is), the Towers at Senate Square will be closing its offices - at least temporarily. According to the sales office, Broadway's ambitious development - 432 condominiums in two 12-story towers - has paused with the closing of the sales office, effective today. New York-based Broadway began selling the units in September of 2005, and had reportedly sold about 150 market rate units before making the decision to take them off the shelf to evaluate "refinancing" of the project. Sales had been "temporarily halted" weeks ago when the developer paused sales in order to 'adjust its pricing'; upward, they have been saying, but kept the sales office open, now the sales office will remain closed until September 24, according to the sales staff. Broadway had been accepting but not ratifying contracts in the interim, leading to speculation that the project would change in scope. The pair of buildings are expected to complete in November.

The Towers, located adjacent to the Amtrak line on H Street, has been offering no shortage of amenities, including an 80' rooftop lap pool, green roofs, running track, and concierge, all within a gated community. Broadway has been one of the few residential pioneers on the booming corridor, but numerous residential and commercial projects are in the offing on H Street, which itself will be eclipsed by the volume of construction immediately to the north and west in NoMa.


Doug said...

Can you give us a little editorializing on what this means?

Closing an office sounds like a sign that things aren't going too well. But adjusting prices upward sounds like they're going very well.

Help us amateurs out, would ya?

Anonymous said...

The article as written is a little confusing. What is clear, though, is that the Senate Square Sales Office is closing. The developer, Broadway, says it's only "temporary," but that remains to be seen.

The closing points to a change in strategy due to the general slump in the housing market and the ongoing subprime mortgage fiasco. Broadway may be considering converting one, or both, of the buildings to rentals. Are prices being adjusted "upward"? That seems highly unlikely considering the present state of the market.

My guess is one building will become a rental, and that sales already completed for that building will be either shifted to the other, with probably a concession incentive, or, in some instances, canceled outright.

Ken on Aug 31, 2007, 3:20:00 PM said...


Sorry to leave you in the dark, its easy to make some suppositions about the fate of this project, but I personally don't want to speculate. Yes, they did say they would raise prices, but during that time did not ratify contracts. Prices have not gone up, instead the sales office is closed. In situations like this developers are often exploring their options, and will do what is financially most sound; I don't know if even they know what that is at this point - which is not a criticism, they have to weigh their options.

poo poo said...

i just walked by the site. they had a crew installing pear trees on the north side of the site, and were prepping the ground on the west side of the site for what looks like more tree planting tomorrow.

they may have closed the sales office, but the work continues.

Anonymous said...

The sales office is currently across the road from the Towers. This could be as simple as reopening in the buildings themselves and taking a breather while they refinance their current loans post-construction (which I wish them luck in given the recent turmoil in the commercial paper and credit markets).

At any rate, a building of rentals, a building of condos, and a building of ultraluxury condos would be a nice mix for this block.

Its not exactly unpredictable that buildings intended as luxury condos might become luxury rentals. The reverse happened five years back. Quite a number of those condo buildings around Gallery Place, Logan, and Mass Ave were constructed as rentals and flipped over to condos when the developer saw that they could sell them off that way.

I am also a neighbor there (the entire area around 2d & 3rd is one huge construction zone as they are redoing the roadway, renovating the old school, and also fixing up residential buildings) and I would like to have the extra people in the neighborhood, whether they rent or own.

Ken on Aug 31, 2007, 5:07:00 PM said...

And I agree. I think ownership makes a better community because people are more invested locally, but the building is going up either way, there's no question about that.

poo poo said...

i agree with ken,

ownership is better, but even renters in the current environment would be of substantial benefit to the development of this part of H street (western end).

it's the newest, hippest, largest development on 'capitol hill' ever. even if they rent, it won't be for peanuts. there are so many developments going on around the place that perhaps they needed to rsstructure anyway.

there will be residences just across the road (south side), across the street (east side of 3rd), the new yorker, the big development between 2nd and 3rd - K and L streets, and now Uline arena and the property across the street.

when they started senate square, all those places were ... in "theory" going to happen, but no real substantiated plans were expected to follow through.

given all the competition, they would be smart to re-assess. they aren't the only BIG PLAYERS in the area any more.

given all that's been happening, chances are we'll see some movement with the mall over the tracks - the one where folks bought the air rights to develop a 'continuation' of union station.

all in all, it's a smart thing to stop and re-evaluate.

they're going to do very well. no one is very worried about this new wrinkle. except for perhaps the folks that had already purchased units in the Senate development.

Anonymous said...

I was in the process of purchasing a unit at Senate Square when all of this was going on so I have a bit more insight. In June I had asked to get a quote on making some pre-construction changes to the unit we were looking at. It took weeks and weeks to get a response, and in the meantime I was notified that they were indeed raising prices - they said they had previously dropped prices much lower than other new condo projects and thus thought they were underpricing themselves. I was furious that they would raise the price while I was simply waiting on a response from them. The sales staff was very kind and understanding and tried to plead my case. However, just afterwards the sales staff was notified that they would not be able to close any more contracts while the "building was being refinanced." At the time I was even more furious! Now, looking back and seeing what is probably going on, I feel very lucky and like I dodged a bullet on this one as it looks like they certainly are either going to convert one building to rentals (and move people around who already have contracts), or sell the unsold inventory to a rental firm as some other buildings have done. Either way, those who have contracts to purchase will be very unhappy.

Regina said...

To anonymous

We have an "unratified" contract on Senate Square towers. This is after being pushed by the developer to drop the contingency we added that our purchase was subject to sale of our home. We quickly sold our property. In a couple of months we will be "homeless" in DC because our buyer takes occupancy. Is there any point in trying to organize a joint effort?

poo poo said...

this is going on all over china town.

welcome to the club.

anyway, i just came back from a vacation, and was totally annoyed by the construction today. they're really going full force.

having said that, buy it if you can, if not, suffer the consequences.

it's a lynchpin for the new corridor.

if you can't deal with the changing 'economic topography', you may want to look in MD or VA.

good luck.

poo poo said...

oh, i don't mean to be an arsehole, but i actually own a home near senate square, so... if anyone has any insight, it's me.

i'm considering a place in senate square. hopefully, the current predicament will scare you to the burbs, and i'll own your little piece of heaven.

without the dorky changes you likely tried to make.

not trying to be rude, but, i just can't believe all these suburbanites trying to buy into DC, based on urbane and 'out of date' ideaology.

if you want to live in DC, deal with it.

if not, move back to Iowa, or wherever....

Regina said...

To poo poo

You are revealing your biases by assuming we are newcomers. We have been DC residents since the 60's and are committed to the city. Our first priority is that the sitation at Senate Square will be resolved and ultimately we can buy it at a reasonable price and move in soon rather than later. I am sorry about the construction noise bothering you but joyful that it means that units are being finished

Expat Teacher on Sep 25, 2007, 3:31:00 PM said...

Last Friday, all those with contracts were contacted telling them that in fact both towers are going rentals.

Those 150 people are out of luck completely!

Sucks to be them. Come try The Whitman, nice place!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, Expat. Their sales office remains shut, and phones calls only reach the same answering message saying they were closed in anticipation of settlement (on refi) and would reopen Sept 24th. I work in the neighborhood and had been eyeing a place there...

As a side note to confirm previous posts, the saleswoman there about 2 months ago also told me sales were suspended as they were planning to change prices "upward" after the refi, which seemed entirely backwards. Ahem.

Rather disappointing. I'm not at all sure how they expect to fill the building with tenants at the kind of luxury price points they're likely to set. Buyers are investing in eventual neighborhood improvements. But renters?

Anonymous said...

Hi Expat,

I am a contract holder at Senate Square. I have not been contacted. Are you sure that people were contacted and told that the building is going rental?

Anonymous said...

I too am a contract holder & have not been contacted. that's clearly an inaccurate rumor.

We probably put in 10 calls last week (sep 24) when the sales office was to re-open, but received no return call.

Do we not have any recourse?

i'd be happy if they canceled the contract - just want my money back.

Anonymous said...

it's going rental--fully rental

Anonymous said...

recourse will be limited

money back, + interest--not sure any reliance funds will be distributed

please let your agent talk to other agents to work together on this, or tell me where to reach others off this site

John said...

Wow, ABDO must be thrilled. His ultra high end Loft development is now surrounded by rental units, and sharing facilities with them.

Amazing how powerful greed and spite are. The developers would rather take a haircut flyer on renatls than just cut the price.

Anonymous said...

Just heard that Senate Square developer pulled out. Both buildings are now going to be entirely rental.

Can you confirm?

Anonymous said...

heard the same (ie, both bldgs going to apartments), but not directly from Broadway. i understand that anyone who has held a contract for > 24 months has already had the contract canceled and deposit returned.

Amy on Oct 8, 2007, 7:45:00 PM said...

we've had a contract for over 24 months and have not received any refunds of our deposit nor have we received snail mail or voice mail from them

Amy on Oct 11, 2007, 1:46:00 PM said...

And the plot thickens... Finally today we were told that there's a 98% chance that both Towers are going rental. The developer is waiting on the certificate of occupancy to make the official announcement. We were told to send in a letter requesting to be released from our contract and requesting our money back. We still want to move in so we'll enjoy paying a lower rent payment than the mortgage payment would have been

Anonymous said...

Check out the Senate Square website, it advertises that the building is rental and you can fill out the form to get more information. Obviously, they've made their mind up.

Anonymous said...

Amy, what are the rents going for?

Anonymous said...

i believe the 2bdrms are renting from $3300-$5500.

in other news, the story 3 weeks ago was that contracts would be canceled and deposits returned by end of october.

new story is that this will happen by end of november.

Anonymous said...

I am a contract holder and still have yet to hear anything from the developer. Has anyone heard anything from the developer?

mistercpe said...

I am a contract holder of 2 contracts at this building and i just recieved a release form so that I can get my deposit back however I will be giving up any rights to sue or for further compensation if I sign. I am contacting a lawyer to see what my options are. A similar situation happened over in Arlington, however the developer there gave the option for a year of free rent the the unit you purchased along with your deposit back. Is anyone else pursuing a legal recourse for giving up almost 2 years of there life?

Anonymous said...

I was a contract holder as well. I decided to just push for my money back and get this matter settled so that I could move on with my life. I signed and sent my release form back to the developer 2 weeks ago and have not yet received my money back.

I decided not to pursue other legal measures because the contract states that the only damages the buyer will get is the deposit plus interest. A good lawyer may be able to argue you out of that provision, but it will be very difficult to get anything other than your deposit plus interest back.

Anonymous said...

Three of us purchased condos at Senate Square Towers. We are in court. If you would like to exchange information please leave a message at 301-330-4517.


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