Thursday, August 20, 2009

Our Neighbors Across the Street at The Laurelhurst Condominiums

"The Laurelhurst is the biggest little house on the block and one of the friendliest" is the motto at the Laurelhurst Condominiums, according to one of our readers who lives at the complex.

Driving by this building every day at 4545 Sandpoint Way, got one of our staffers wondering what the condos and living there are like. So one of our readers graciously sent us some history and interesting information...

In 1969 The Laurelhurst opened as an apartment building with this announcement:

"Close to the vigorous world of the University, nearby the bustling Village, The Laurelhurst is in Seattle ’s convenient northeast section, an area of beautiful homes. Living at The Laurelhurst gives you convenience with spaciousness, luxury with elegance, and security with privacy. From your own sundeck, your apartment looks to magnificent Mt. Rainier and Lake Washington . Sliding glass doors, gracious entry way, and soundproofing combine to give you an apartment with more luxury than home owners enjoy in many of Seattle ’s most luxurious residences …. Move to The Laurelhurst for convenient, pleasureful, elegant living."

In 1981 The Laurelhurst became a condominium. It retained these initial attributes and over time has added improvements, most recently in the renovation of the Lobby, Community Room, and Exercise Room. The eight-story building is of reinforced concrete and masonry.

This building is higher than all around it - at 100 feet - as it is a non-conforming building and is an anomoly as no other buildings have been granted that height for almost 30 years. It is zoned Neighborhood Commercial 2 with a 40 foot height limit (NC2-40) according to several King County filed reports.

The 54 units, many with a gas fireplace and laundry room, are all owner occupied. The owners range widely in age. Forty of the units have two-bedrooms; the 14 end units have three bedrooms. The Laurelhurst early became a non-smoking condominium.

The creative design of the breezeway allows each of the 40 two-bedroom units to extend from the front of the building, across the building, to the breezeway, thus providing each unit with windows on the front and back for through ventilation, which is a blessing on hot summer days. The end units have windows on three sides. (The breezeways also keep the owners from having to pay to heat and window wash enclosed hallways.)

Each of the two-bedroom units provides views from the living and dining room toward Laurelhurst, Capitol Hill, and Mt. Rainier and from the back toward the houses and trees of the Ravenna District.

The ambiance of a condominium community emanates from the personalities of the owners and particularly from the personality of the manager. When the manager, the one person whom everyone relies on, is friendly, considerate, and responsible, as at The Laurelhurst, then the community is that much more cordial and sociable. Three social functions are held each year for the 90 residents, who range not only in age but in race and ethnicity. Almost half the residents formerly lived in Laurelhurst, Hawthorne Hills, View Ridge, Ravenna , or Inverness . Several are active in programs of the Laurelhurst Community Club.

The location is rewarding. Location, building construction, management, and – most important – community, all these features make living at The Laurelhurst a pleasure.

Thanks reader Jim and all your friends and neighbors at the condo for sending us this interesting info. Maybe some day we can come check out the awesome Mt. Ranier view from one of the decks of a condo!


Anonymous said...

Thank you Laurelhurst Blogger, Jim Madden and others,

for this great historical information about the Laurelhurst Condominiums. I’m sure many readers didn’t know about the background of the complex and appreciated learning from your unique perspectives.

It is so important to share this kind of information to continue the community building that is so important.

Congratulations on a great piece.

Anonymous said...

This is super interesting. We too drive by there a lot and knew nothing about that building. Great info thanks. Taylor family

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. History of our local community is always very fascinating. Thanks. As an aside, we should recognize that technically The Laurelhurst is in Bryant. But Laurelhurst as a community does care about its nearby neighborhood. One of the big issues involved in the Children's Hospital controversy is whether it should be allowed to build a large building on the Bryant side of Sand Point (where the Virginia Mason pediatric clinic is currently). And LCC has pointed out in its arguments that expanding in such a fashion also runs counter to the current zoning laws. Such a building would have some effect upon The Laurelhurst condos featured here.