More than a century ago, First Hill became the residential retreat for Seattle’s mayors, judges, industrialists and first families. Leafy walkways, landmark architecture and a mix of social clubs and residential conveniences defined what was affectionally known as “little Manhattan.”

It became the enclave for a burgeoning, world-class city, which remains true today. Those paying close attention to the city’s evolution over the decades know that condominium construction on First Hill is a unique prospect. There are hundreds of apartment units being built in the area, but Graystone is the only condominium tower under construction, making it truly a one-of-a-kind-opportunity.

The 31-story building is scheduled to open in 2022 at 800 Columbia St.

“I have clients who are ‘future casting’ for their next chapter of living in Seattle and are looking at Graystone as a presale investment,” says Laura Halliday, a founding member of the Madison Park branch of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty. “Having spent a year at home, many are daydreaming about how they want to live in the years ahead, and the trajectory of the local housing market makes that decision very possible and prosperous.”

Halliday says single-family homes in the Seattle area are in high demand, and homes will likely continue to appreciate for the next 24 months. Meanwhile, the market is also seeing a companion upswing in condominium sales.

“A presale gives my clients plenty of time to sell their existing home while also watching the appreciation of their condominium over the next 18 months,” she says. “It provides a rare double-equity benefit, as it’s possible that both homes see an increase in value.”

Designed to take advantage of this market cycle, Graystone’s presale agreements require a 5% earnest-money deposit that is held in escrow. The presale also locks in the 2021 first release purchase price, providing the opportunity for a condominium residence to appreciate even before the tower opens.

Prospective buyers can visit the preview center by appointment. Located at 1305 Madison St., it includes a scale model and interactive app. All of the building’s details have been integrated by a team of digital architects, creating photorealistic renderings with the specified appliances, fixtures and finishes for each unique floor plan. Visitors can see actual views taken with drone photography and view furnished residences by Graystone’s interior designer, Robin Chell.

“We aim to make the presale process very convenient and accessible,” says Stephanie Schuessler, the sales director for Graystone Condominiums and a broker with Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty. “A few dozen homebuyers have already reserved a home with a $5,000 fully refundable deposit in advance of the presale. Whether at the preview center or online with any device, our buyers and brokers can tour all the homes, explore the exceptional amenities and make a reservation for presales.”

An introductory collection of listings has been posted to the Northwest Multiple Listing service, including a 514-square-foot studio offered at $580,000, a range of one-bedroom plans from 576-835 square feet priced between $599,990 and $953,490, and a collection of two-bedroom plans with 1.75 bathrooms from 953-1,017 square feet that are offered from $1,025,990 to $1,105,990.

Drone photography was used to capture actual westward views from the building.
Drone photography was used to capture actual westward views from the building.

Larger floor plans — with two bedrooms and 2.25 bathrooms — will also become available, ranging in size from 1,816-2,253 square feet with priced starting at $3 million.

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“I’m talking to homeowners who want to retire the domestic responsibilities of their empty nest and move to a ‘lock-and-leave,’ sophisticated single-level home,” Schuessler says.

Graystone won’t include any retail spaces in order to recreate a residential experience of a bygone era. The entry is a two-story foyer with a soaring ceiling that both absorbs and reflects light, with a grand staircase leading to an upper amenity floor. Two lounges are designed to invite lingering while balancing openness and privacy. With a 24-hour concierge, owners immediately step away from the stress of everyday living before they even reach their residence.

The second floor is dedicated to conducting business from home and providing spaces for healthy living. A wellness center with a gym and yoga studio overlooks a new waterfall park that is a leafy southern neighbor.

Above it all, the 31st floor provides not only wraparound views but a luxe penthouse with indoor and outdoor rooms that can be used for entertaining family and friends or as an extension of the owner’s living room.

An elegant lounge includes cozy cocktail niches that connect to a custom chef’s kitchen with a dining room and city views. A media room with a stone fireplace joins an outdoor courtyard for year-round use. The courtyard features al fresco dinning and fireplaces with sweeping westward views, capturing Seattle’s oyster light and beautiful sunsets.

An east-facing outdoor room is designed for quieter retreats. It is a serene setting in which to curl up in the evening with a glass of wine and views of Mount Rainier, or start the day by watching the sunrise as the city awakes below.

Homeowners will also enjoy a number of other benefits provided by Columbia Hospitality, the management concierge for Graystone. Residents will also receive member-level access the historic Lodge at St. Edward State Park, Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, and the Salish and Semiahmoo resorts, as well as some of the top golf courses in the region.

Graystone Condominiums: Opening in 2022 at 800 Columbia St., Seattle. Information at 206-717-5000 or thegraystone.com.