The people behind The Bravern have announced that they are converting the second residential tower to apartments – the first ‘condo’ tower was converted to apartments last April.

Here is their press release (with a lot of spin):

The Bravern Signature Residences

Expands Its Offering of Luxury Apartment Homes With the Opening of the North Tower

BELLEVUE, WASH (October 14, 2010) –Building on the strength of the rental housing market in downtown Bellevue and the overwhelming leasing success of the South Tower apartment homes, Schnitzer West, LLC has announced the expansion of its luxury apartment offering with the debut of the North Tower apartment homes at The Bravern Signature Residences.

Recently named by CNNMoney as number four on the list of “Best Places to Live,” Bellevue continues to grow into a regional business center, complemented by world class shopping and one of the nation’s top ranked public school systems.  Given Bellevue’s relatively low unemployment and a stable employment base, in-migration of a highly educated workforce continues to drive housing demand on the Eastside and now to downtown Bellevue.

Since the opening of The Bravern Residences South Tower apartment homes in late April, leasing activity has exceeded the most optimistic projections resulting in nearly 25 units rented per month, well in excess of a typical apartment lease-up.  More than 65 percent of the apartments have been leased in the first six months and continues on a pace such that additional inventory is needed to meet the demand.

“It has become evident that a structural shift has occurred in residential demand from owned to rental housing,” said Dan Ivanoff, founder and managing member of Schnitzer West, developer of The Bravern.  “Over time, we expect the pendulum to shift back to more normalized market conditions and The Bravern Residences will be positioned to capture ownership demand when market conditions warrant.”

While The Bravern condominiums achieved conditional mortgage financing approvals through Fannie Mae and FHA, sales demand, as demonstrated through closed sales in the overall market, was not sufficient to move forward with closings at this time.  Said Ivanoff, “We firmly believe that it is in the best interest of our customers holding purchase agreements to terminate their contracts and return their earnest money deposits.”

Nationally, the housing markets are experiencing historically low sales activity that is expected to last for some time due to continued tightening of the credit markets.  This strategy allows The Bravern’s well-capitalized ownership group flexibility to provide the appropriate mix of upscale housing solutions well into the future as the economic recovery takes hold.

Bolstered by the leasing success of the South Tower apartment homes, the opportunity emerged to add additional apartment inventory to the market.  As the premier rental community in the Puget Sound, The Bravern Residences have become home to a discerning clientele seeking an upscale residential offering in close proximity to the bases of employment, shopping, recreational activities and cultural amenities.  Additionally, residents have access to all of the Signature Plaza amenities and enjoy finely detailed finishes and gourmet appliances only available at The Bravern apartment homes.

Both towers in The Bravern Residences share The Signature Plaza, a 25,000 square foot lifestyle amenity level located on the fourth floor.  Designed as an extension of the homes, the amenities plaza includes fireside lounges, an event room with catering kitchen, an entertaining room with an exhibition kitchen, a private theater, fitness center, furnished guest suites and concierge services.  Residents can relax in the spa with a whirlpool, a sauna, a steam room and a private spa treatment room. The residential towers are joined by the Garden Terrace that features a Garden House with fireplace, outdoor grilling stations, meandering paths and dog walks.  Rising above this are the two 29-story residential towers with sweeping views of the Cascades, Mount Rainier, Lake Washington and Seattle.

The Bravern Signature Residences is hosting an Open House over the weekend of October 16 & 17, featuring the newly released model homes in the North Tower.  Leasing in the North Tower recently commenced with rents starting at $1,550.  Riverstone Residential will continue to provide professional leasing and management services for the Residences.  Leasing representatives are located on the fourth floor of the South Tower.

“The Bravern is an urban neighborhood never before available in the Pacific Northwest.  In my 28-years of opening apartment communities for Riverstone Residential Group in the metro Seattle area, I have never experienced such consumer demand for apartments,” said Phyllis Driver-Machado, Property Manager for The Bravern Signature Residences.  “There was a surge of people who wanted to live at The Bravern from the first day we opened the doors.  The Residences are unparalleled in their interior finishes, spacious floor plans and extensive amenities along with wonderful shopping and dining available at your doorstep – it doesn’t get any better than this.”

Each home features natural stone and exquisite hardwoods, complemented by professional appliances in the gourmet kitchens, and are move-in ready with washers and dryers and roller shades on expansive windows.  Expectations are further met with such amenities as valet service, doormen to greet residents and guests, and dedicated concierge to handle everything from deliveries to theater tickets and dinner reservations.  Residents have exclusive access to the residential-only garage, The Signature Plaza and to each residential floor. Guests first experience the Arrival Court entry lobby and use the dedicated guest elevator to The Signature Plaza where they are greeted by the concierge.

The expansive mixed-use project, located along NE 8th Street at the gateway to downtown Bellevue, Washington, features two office towers fully leased to Microsoft Corp. and 305,000 square feet of retail, distinctive restaurants, including the recently opened Vovito Caffè & Gelato, and personal services in The Shops at The Bravern, anchored by Neiman Marcus.  The Bravern Signature Residences offer 211 apartment homes in the North Tower and 232 apartment homes in the South Tower, with units sized from 600 to more than 2,000 square feet.

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