Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Phoenix Condos in Arlington Va Reviewed. Pros & Cons ie Fire Dept

The Phoenix Condo in Clarendon Arlington Virginia (video tour) was completed in 2007.

After two other Arlington Condos, including Zoso went "non-condo" there was speculation whether or not Phoenix would continue their condo project. While they had 100+ units under contract, the risks were high. Subsequently they decided to go for it. And as expected, many people backed out of their contract (ask for details).

I live in Clarendon 1021, just around the corner. I have a strong bias toward that building, but I'll do my best in comparing the two.

Background: The Phoenix initially priced their units at the TOP of the market, comparable to 1021. The first 10 sellers of Clarendon 1021 made a $80,000 profit (now they lose $25k). That is when Phoenix priced their "Pre-construction" prices. A 2 bedroom in 1021 went as high as $670,000, now you can get a similar one for $570,000. A $100,000 price drop. Now do you see why people forfeited (and some fought, ask for details) their $35,000 deposits at Phoenix?

So now the question is if you like Clarendon (side note, all my friends that bought in Courthouse or Ballston, they all meet up... in Clarendon), is the Phoenix a "deal?" Yes it is less expensive after subsequent price drops versus 1021, but I go at length in my post about the risks with new construction.

Blatant side note: I know many of you think Realtors are worthless. You have two legs right? You can just walk on into a new construction. You don't need no stinking agent! Well maybe, just maybe, we know a thing or two that might help you. Don't like my style, find somebody else. Whatever you do, have somebody on YOUR side. Oh, and did I mention, there is no additional cost to you.

Anyhow, here are a few photos of ThePhoenixCondo :


Phoenix Condos ArlingtonPhoenix Condos ArlingtonPhoenix Condos ArlingtonPhoenix Condos Arlington

Here are another 28 photos of The Phoenix Condos in Arlington
I have more photos of units, but those can't be published online without seller permission. But I can email them to you upon request.

Pros:
  1. Less expensive. For the most part this is true. But if there is a bank owned 1021 unit, you might get a similar price.
  2. Built to be a condo. Meanwhile 1021 was built to be an apartment complex, and was later converted. Builders cut more corners for apartments complexes.
  3. Nicer appliances
  4. Rooftop pool, slightly deeper pool and larger areas for events, but no DC view.
  5. Large party room (the one at 1021 was sold off! as a unit)

Cons:
  1. Fire Department! Is located just behind the building. So depending on where your unit is located, the noise will be a factor for many buyers.
  2. Large remaining inventory to sell. What if they auction off units like Parkside Alexandria.
  3. No Hot-Tub. Clarendon 1021 has a great rooftop, now with an outdoor HotTub that is even on during the winter. With a monument view.
  4. No Monument Views. An apartment complex blocks any Washington Monument view.
  5. Cathedral View? Currently yes, some units have a Cathedral view. However, last week a 12 story building was announced. Just over Clarendon Grill. I have asked the sales team to look into whether this would block any unit's views. They are looking into it, they didn't know about the upcoming building (see above why it helps to have somebody on your side asking the right questions, all for no extra cost to you)
So the location is great. The price is currently lower than other Clarendon Condos, but there are many things to weigh in making the right choice.

I'd like to open this forum up for people to list other pros and cons (when comparing Clarendon condos) that I might have missed.

Written by Frank Borges LL0SA- Broker FranklyRealty.com

6 comments:

tchaka owen said...

Frank, you mention Zoso in your post. Didn't one of your neighbors in 1021 buy a high-end Zoso unit and pour in tons of money for upgrades? How'd he deal with it going "non-condo"?

Kathy M. said...

Hi Frank,

On Saturday Eddie and I went to an open house at the Phoenix and were not impressed at all.

In fact the opposite as it seemed like the architect made a lot of sloppy decisions which in our mind created a fault with each unit and given the high prices and condo fees we aren't considering buying there (such as kitchen islands that don't come out far enough to put a stool under, a bit support beam in the middle of the living area which resulted in a separation between the eating and living room areas but each area on its own was too small to be very user-friendly given the location of the support beam, lots of other little things but I remember those two off hand).

Thanks for the blog

Kathy

Kiran said...

Currently living at the phoenix is a very nice experience. While there are no monument views, there are some excellent units for the prices they are offering.

FRANK LL0SA Va Broker- BLOG.FranklyRealty.com said...

Word has it that the condo fee just went up from $510 to $522 fr the 2 bedroom. This is a normal annual increase.
But what I would want to know is if they have sufficient reserves and what will the condo fee jump after the HOA takes over.

It is common for the selling party to try to keep the fees down to make the property appear more attractive. But then the HOA takes over and they are like "Um, we can't do anything with this" and they are forced to jack up the rates, sometimes by 5-10%.

Don't just ignore condos with high fees. Just account for those fees. If one condo is $100 more per month, ask your lender, "What would that $100 per month buy me in a mortgage (spending power)"

I bet you will find that $100/mo is $1,200 a year. That is about $20,000 in buying power (at 6%).

Also if you compare a condo to a townhouse, if that townhouse is $100,000 more, but $500 less per month, that equates to the same buying power. You should NOT compare a $500k condo to a $525k townhouse. The Townhouse will probably be a better "value."

It is all about VALUE, not price.

JX said...

I looked at the Phoenix and other buildings in the area. Overall, the Phoenix has nice amenities and is ascetically pleasing in the common areas. The media room is a great addition and the club room is very nice. However, with these amenities come fees. I had to ask myself how often I would use these items when comparing this condo fee to other buildings. The fee seemed a bit high for a brand new building, meaning once it’s turned over to the HOA, they will go up.

I also had concerns about many of the units I saw. The furniture placement looked difficult and the builder placed components oddly, like the thermostat in the middle of what would be your media wall, in multiple units. The representative suggested using a flat-screen with an arm so the TV would cover the thermostat, but then you would have to reach behind to gain access. I liked the upgraded appliances, but those can easily be matched in another building.

Overall, the building had plusses and minuses, as would any property. I would suggest considering how you would place furniture and what is important in living style. That quickly led me to the decision that many units were not what I was looking for, but may work for others.

FRANK LL0SA Va Broker- BLOG.FranklyRealty.com said...

Here is a recent email from a client that bought at the Phoeniz a few months ago:
*************

Hi Frank!

Good hearing from you. I haven't heard anything about jacking-up the condos fee - but I would think they wouldn't want to brag about that - just hit us with it... :)

The firehouse doesn't really bother me... For me, it's all part of the noises of city life, but that's just me. If you client is a light sleeper, then they will get woken up. In regards to the decibel level, it really no louder than when you hear the siren in ANY part of Clarendon. The sound seems to echo through the area quite nicely... ;)

Personally, I really like it AND I'm not that fussy about things. I like it because of the area and I walk around quite a bit. Parking is fine, I've really not heard too many complaints there. There seems to be some discussion about Comcast and a poor signal, but the condo group is taking care of that. I wouldn't say it's quite a party complex though... I few people are trying to get things going - that might be part of being in a new building...

No problems with more questions if you got them!

Take care!

H