The first sale of a condo at the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences has been completed, for a cool $7 million.

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Seven million, two thousand, nine hundred and fifty dollars.


That’s what arts patrons and philanthropists Bagley and Virginia Wright paid for Unit 1502 in the ultraluxury Four Seasons Hotel and Residences, county records indicate.

The deal, recorded last Monday, is the first condo sale to close at the 21-story building, now under construction at First Avenue and Union Street and scheduled to open in early fall.

The Wrights don’t have the distinction of buying Seattle’s priciest condo ever. According to county records, that honor goes to the Brian J. Marks Living Trust, which bought Unit 2700 in the 27-story One Pacific Tower at First and Virginia for $8.375 million in January.

But the two transactions really aren’t comparable.

Four Seasons spokesman Roger Nyhus says the Wrights bought their new home in “shell and core” condition. That means unfinished. Raw concrete. Presumably they will bring in their own designers and contractors to finish the job — at additional, and probably considerable, expense.

So the “most expensive” title still could be up for grabs.

Nyhus wouldn’t say anything more about the Wrights’ new home, or the Four Seasons’ other supposedly A-list buyers. “Privacy is a fundamental benefit of living at Four Seasons Private Residences Seattle,” he said.

If you’re interested in joining them, 11 of the building’s 36 units still are for sale. Just two have sold since last summer, but don’t expect a bargain. Prices range from $2 million to $10 million.

Finished, we presume.

— Eric Pryne

Some in region benefit from higher gas, grain prices

Bellevue or Boise, Vancouver or Vancouver, B.C. — the Pacific Northwest’s various local economies all are being driven by soaring energy costs, record prices for commodities and the collapsed U.S. housing market.

But those forces are playing out very differently in different places, according to a panel of economists from five states and two Canadian provinces, who spoke earlier this month at the Pacific Northwest Regional Economic Conference in Tacoma.

No surprise that for oil-rich places such as Alaska and Alberta, these days of $125-plus oil are very good indeed.

Daniel Stickel, an economist with Alaska’s Department of Revenue, noted that the state government last year ran a $4 billion surplus, and its Permanent Fund is up to $40.2 billion.

High prices for wheat and other crops have given Northwest farmers a long-awaited boost, to the extent that Mercedes dealerships are starting to open in rural Eastern Oregon, said Tom Potiowsky, Oregon’s state economist.

That prompted Mike Ferguson, Potiowsky’s counterpart in Idaho, to quip that in his state, newly flush farmers are buying new pickups instead.

Paul Polzin, director of the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, said that nearly all of the five pillars of Montana’s economy — tourism, mining, manufacturing, agriculture and federal spending — are on an upswing, leading him to project 4 percent growth for several years out.

Only wood-products manufacturing is down, fallout from the national housing slump.

That’s the case throughout the lumber-producing parts of the region. But while wood products is a small part of Washington’s economy, it’s more significant in north-central Idaho and southwestern Oregon.

And tumbling U.S. demand for Canadian wood is pretty much the only cloud on B.C.’s economic horizon, according to Carol Frketich of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Bret Bertolin, senior economist at Washington’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, speculated that the housing crunch may be stanching the flow of in-migrants to the Evergreen State, especially from California — historically a big source of new Washington residents, but also one epicenter of the housing crisis.

“It might be hard to leave when you can’t sell your house,” Bertolin said. That led one attendee to compare the situation to the Eagles song “Hotel California” — you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

— Drew DeSilver

Comments? Send them to Rami Grunbaum: or 206-464-8541