West Water, the video

Yes, we know the West Water condo-conversion marketers are likely laughing all the way to the bank, while observers grumble and gripe and gnash teeth over the unprecedented overkill of their over-the-top campaign. Nonetheless … it’s the gaudiest thing to hit this side of West Seattle in a long time, so we’re all over it. Earlier today, we discussed the spotlights that are the latest bling in this blitz. After dark, we couldn’t resist heading down the hill with our video camera:

In today’s earlier post, and its comments, readers shared info about how to complain about aspects of this condo campaign that appear to break city rules, such as the sandwich-board signs along roads and highways. One more to add — this one from Jill:

Please add the Seattle Dept of Planning and Development number 206-615-0808, so that citizens can complain. Or file one online at
The marketers have laughed off the city’s attempts to assess 500-dollar/day fines. Apparently that’s less than the cost of renting throw pillows. Maybe a lawsuit over light pollution, the windsail signs, or a traffic accident in front of Ladro will be needed to do the trick.

40 Replies to "West Water, the video"

  • grr November 14, 2007 (11:16 pm)

    sheeesh..what’s next? A big, blowup gorilla? gawd.

  • Jan November 15, 2007 (12:21 am)

    maybe they were car dealers in a previous life ;-)

  • Steveed November 15, 2007 (12:41 am)

    I vote it be renamed Huling House, and it also needs some carnival barkers with megaphones. Wow. If I lived there, I would be home by now!

  • Rick November 15, 2007 (6:36 am)

    Well,with the accelerated development here I suppose this type of thing was inevitable.Some developers get in, get it$$ and get out leaving their mark. Aahh,I long for the days of the green,single,lonely drawbridge. Wasn’t all that bad.

  • cruiser November 15, 2007 (7:27 am)

    Huling House, I love it!!!

  • Mr. JT November 15, 2007 (7:39 am)

    How about we pickup all their signs on the way home tonight and put them in their new landscaping ?

  • Aidan Hadley November 15, 2007 (7:46 am)

    Laughing all the way to the bank? I don’t think so. Actually, the excessive marketing comes across as what it actually is: desperation. High-end properties don’t need to rely on so much hype to be appealing to the buying public. These guys have slapped a very thin veneer (of what they THINK is quality) onto a tired building and hope that the lipstick and rouge treatment will bring the buyers. Apparently, it hasn’t. They could shoot fireworks from the roof or hire the Blue Angles to do daily fly-bys but the place will still be rubbish.

  • Rick November 15, 2007 (8:03 am)

    Or as my granpa used to say,”it’s like puttin’ perfume on a pig”.

  • I'm Ready For My Close Up Mr. DeMille November 15, 2007 (8:03 am)

    After I shot that video I was sorry that I don’t know much about video editing software. That clip needs some Pink Floyd to go with it, preferably something from Dark Side of the Moon.

  • Teresa P November 15, 2007 (8:59 am)

    Does anyone have the Batman logo that we can put over those lights tonight ?

  • grr November 15, 2007 (9:01 am)

    WS needs a good brothel…

    WSB..ya got a MAC, right? Just use iMovie!! It’s EASYYYY to add music, graphics and all that jazz!

    btw..Leopard OSX is pretty freakin cool…

  • grr November 15, 2007 (9:02 am)

    “How about we pickup all their signs on the way home tonight and put them in their new landscaping ?”

    NOW THAT is the best Idea I’ve heard in a looong time.

  • WSB November 15, 2007 (9:42 am)

    Grr, our technical challenge is this – we bought a camera (thanks to the fabulous pledges we received in late August) that is an excellent camera for the price but turned out to produce a format not compatible with iMovie, oops. Conversion is needed. Which takes extra time, and usually our concern is to get things on the site as quickly as possible. So we use Streamclip to trim the clips and then convert to MPEG-4 for uploading. We’ll get fancier eventually :) some better stuff is on the Christmas list now that revenue is coming in.

  • coffee geek November 15, 2007 (9:44 am)

    i’ve got one more to add, that my dad used to say: “You can’t polish a turd.”

  • Mr. JT November 15, 2007 (10:00 am)

    grr,the truck is warmed up. We could start with the first sign at 2nd and Columbia. You want shotgun ?

  • willamina c. November 15, 2007 (10:03 am)

    i just kick over their signs. there’s a similarly desperate development across the street from my house which has noxious signs but no illegal spotlights, illegal sign placements, and the sales manager there is actually pretty nice (she got my whole building’s permission before having a wine and cheese party that used the courtyard…classy!).

    the thing is the place isn’t selling and the per-unit prices are starting to drop like a rock. so the powers that be are on her back to “snazz it up.” i mentioned wastewater and she just started laughing…so obviously these people are making fools of themselves, though obviously it’s not stopping their “Suck and Awe” campaign.

  • scian November 15, 2007 (10:42 am)

    JT, grr, willamina… idiots. Especially wc. Why make a bad thing worse? What good in the universe does that serve?

    The publicity effort, cheesy as it is, sure is creating buzz and interest. Since “bad” news and buzz travels far and fast ALL of the whining serves to leverage the cheeeezzz i.e. they are attracting attention, even if some of it is negative.

    Market forces work. The product will sell at some price where buyer and seller agree. Someone WILL live in the place just as they always have. Get over it. …mebbe even give some thought as to how you might be a good neighbor to your {eventual} new neighbor.

    whiners. babies. Even jan tossed in some humor on this one. What is the problem with the rest of you?

  • Luckie November 15, 2007 (10:46 am)

    My mother-in-law has been staying with us until she’s ready to start looking for a place. I asked her what she’s been thinking about so far, and she said, “Well, I heard an ad on the radio for Water…Water something.” I immediately started laughing. Of course I explained why.

  • Jiggers November 15, 2007 (11:31 am)

    I think the classic hit song “What a fool believes” should be the background music for the video..

  • Sue November 15, 2007 (12:08 pm)

    I just drove home from downtown via 99. I live at Fauntleroy & Dawson, which is pretty close to the bridge. I counted FOURTEEN signs on my short trip home, one on 99 and the other 13 along Fauntleroy. Not that I could read any of them, but I recognized that nasty color combo. This is getting ridiculous.

  • Mr. JT November 15, 2007 (12:52 pm)

    Sue, scian thinks those are just fine and we need to get over it.

  • s November 15, 2007 (1:22 pm)

    Is that a $500 flat fine per day? How about considering each sign a separate violation, and fining $500 per sign? That would be a lot of throw pillows!

  • Al November 15, 2007 (2:43 pm)

    Because Scian, we live in a world where we are bombarded by advertising whenever our eyes are open. And those who use “advertising” like W.W. just make it worse. I’m very aware of the advertising around me, don’t want to view it if I can possibly avoid it, and those who blatantly disregard the “regulations” and neighbors with a lack of discretion and even good taste deserve the criticism. I don’t want to have to be one of those who “clean up their signs” after the advertising blitz is over.

  • grr November 15, 2007 (5:02 pm)

    I’m all for advertising..just not gaudy, cheezy crap. WW is a perfect example of what NOT to do. Lipstick on a pig is an understatement. What a waste…they COULD have made the joint look very classy. The slate/tile/landscaping is well done. The paint job is HIDEOUS.

    I know someone who looked at one of the condos. Young, vibrant 25 year old. It’s what she can afford. And a building full of people like her would be A HOOT to live in.

  • Jan November 15, 2007 (5:25 pm)

    scian…”Even jan tossed in some humor on this one”…now…I resemble that. Is that a backhanded insult? Are you saying I don’t usually have humor? hehehe…just giving you a hard time…really…..although, I do have a fairly long memory :)

  • WhatabouttheArches November 15, 2007 (6:01 pm)

    So, I agree that it is over the top and annoying….but so are the McDonalds arches several doors down, for that matter, so are half of the signage in west seattle. While West Water serves to annoy me….what annoys me most is that the majority of my WS neighbors seem so elitist about providing what, surprisingly, is some of the most affordable homeowning opportunities in the city. Huling Brothers has annoyed me for years….perhaps my elitist neighbors can lobby for a redevelopment of that property featuring only stores like St. John, Talbots, Brooks Brothers, and Marios. For crying out loud, we are not Mercer Island, we are rough and ready West Seattleites…to rant a bit more, this elitism makes me sick because the most elitist folks I have ever met were barely one-generation out of the damn trailer park! Walk around our West Seattle neigborhoods and you will find, on EVERY block, plenty of tacky homes filled with people who somehow think they are better than their new neighbors!

  • chas redmond November 15, 2007 (6:48 pm)

    But walk around those same West Seattle neighborhoods and you’ll meet third-gen born here types and newbies both who think WS is a pretty freakin’ neat part of town – the views are awesome and different in every direction and the people are awesome and different in every direction. One of the things I really like about our little peninsula is how many different “types” there seem to be and how we actually do seem to get along and especially how we dive in and help each other. Plus there seems to be a band on every block here. I walk the streets in the time after dinner just listening for folks practicing – blues, jazz, classical, rock, pretty neat neck of the woods to live in.

  • Jan November 15, 2007 (8:28 pm)

    Mr. Redmond…as a transplant from the east coast who has been here for almost 33 years, who decided to work (as well as live) in this community only 15 years ago….I heartily agree with everything you’ve said. It’s truly a wonderful place to live…:)

  • eileen November 15, 2007 (8:56 pm)

    Check out DPD permits site for this http://web1.seattle.gov/DPD/permitstatus/Project.aspx?id=1013147
    Thye’ve failed two inspections on their “condo conversion” permit.

    So they are not even legit – how do they get away with this sort of thing?

  • willamina c. November 15, 2007 (10:25 pm)


    Unfortunately, the DPD’s record-keeping is weeks, sometimes even a month or so behind. It’s entirely possible that the permit was completed and it hasn’t been updated; as much as the permit is critical, it can be denied for many reasons having nothing to do with practices or tenability. If there were such an example, there would almost certainly be a stop-work order. If the DPD signed off a week ago, that database would not have been updated by now.

    Signs tend to be amassed as “joint violations”. Thus, one sign carpetbombing, generally “signs in a continuous and contiguous area”, is $500. I imagine this is being written off as part of the cost of doing business.

    Just for the record, i’m a-ok with advertising. Bright, creative, fun, real advertising. (Seen those Saturn ads? Or alternately the Science Fiction Museum’s ad campaign? Or United Airlines’ “It’s Time To Fly”? Those are in fact fine examples of advertising.) In fact, i sometimes do side graphics work for a friend in Toronto who is an estate agent. Her campaigns are fun and creative to start with, and most successful real estate salespeople treat folks with respect and neighborly behavior, treat clients as business partners and not a pump and dump. They manage to come up with better features than telling me on the website that the sign is copper and backlit. That’s lipstick on a pig, kids.

  • Al November 16, 2007 (9:24 am)

    I don’t think those of us complaining about WW are elitist. The arches – I don’t really care about them, or the Shell station, or most any of the other signage in West Seattle. You know why? Because it’s pretty much relegated to their property. Shell, Gee (formerly Huling), and McDonald’s don’t have giant spotlights out trying to sell their product. They don’t have sandwich boards littering the streets on all major routes heading to West Seattle (and some not even!), nor to they have numerous smaller signage lining the local streets – those recent huge ‘flags’ Domino’s Pizza put out lately were crazy though (laugh!). Likely many of us welcome the condos and density, esp. if they are affordable and well built. It’s the tactics, not the customers.

  • Elizabeth November 16, 2007 (11:00 am)

    Al is exactly right. It’s one thing to advertise your product on your own property, or to buy a billboard, radio ad, etc. But to knowingly litter state highways with illegal (not to mention potentially dangerous) sandwich boards every 20 feet, or to have glaring spotlights annoying all the neighbors, is a slap in the face to the very community that these people should be trying to become a part of. This is typical corporate style “slash and burn” marketing.

  • WestSeattleMom November 16, 2007 (4:09 pm)

    I love this blog. I get a kick out of reading all of the different points of view. Wouldn’t it be really interesting if we were getting this passionate when talking about Blackwater and it’s corporate “tactics” instead of West Water’s goofy attempts at marketing.

  • Jan November 16, 2007 (8:08 pm)

    WSMom…well, many do get this fired up over Blackwater, et al…we just do it elsewhere…why ruin this little piece of heaven blog with nasty disagreeable political discussions…a place for everything :)

  • grr November 18, 2007 (2:54 pm)

    I’m surpized someone here hasn’t figured out a way to blame WestWater on G.W.


  • tanaya November 23, 2007 (4:58 pm)

    looks like westwater is starting to RENT out their units as well. do a craigslist search and you’ll find the ad.

  • z November 29, 2007 (10:53 am)

    hey everyone, i’m new to this site. i’ve lived in ws for about 2.5 years now, and love it. i’m a transplant from the other side of the lake and not planning on leaving. i rent now, and looking at west water, i think it’s a great starter for a 1 bdr… price per sq. ft is pretty amazing. i also work for a company that does real-estate marketing and branding, and those huge ‘bat signal’ lights, and A boards, that’s normal. i know, a little overkill. but just wait, it’s going to get worse. i promise. i have friends in phinney saying they are seeing the A boards on their streets. littered on 99 as well?! yuck. don’t we have a whole foods and qfc going up at the same time, right across the street from safeway? and whatever happened to the trader joe’s debate…?

  • Why ask why? December 2, 2007 (10:47 am)

    It’s not a great starter if it has no resale value. This was a cheaply made apartment building turned into cheaply made condos. Slapped in asthetics and orange paint won’t change that fact.

  • aaron December 9, 2007 (8:54 pm)

    whoa you people are mean. I am a west seattle resident also. I looked at the west water project. They are pretty cool condos. However they are a bit over priced for little or no view and size. I think they will sit vacant for some time and the price will come down. At that point they may be a good bargin. Also I think that there is a glut of condos in the West Seattle area so be carefull when purchasing a condo in that area you may not be able to get out of it what you paid for some time.

  • ching chong December 29, 2007 (5:26 pm)

    Why are you filming it so long though?

Sorry, comment time is over.