Bradley Khouri ~ Scratching Three Itches with Architecture

EK On The Go – Episode #6

Reshaping Our City Through Advocacy, Teaching, and Practice

In the driver’s seat is Bradley Khouri principal of b9 Architects, who has been recognized for innovation, design excellence and commitment to sustainability. He is the principal architect of many of the new popping up across neighborhoods that include Capitol Hill, Queen Anne Hill, the Central District, Wallingford, Fremont, and more. In this episode, we look at the factors shaping the changing appearance of so many of Seattle’s neighborhoods, how Seattle’s building & land use code shapes new development, recent initiatives to create housing affordability through upzoning and developer incentives and the responsibility of architects and developers to the broader good. So join us as we explore what Seattle’s neighborhoods will look and feel like once all the cranes that are reshaping them come down.


Bradley in the studio, together with the item he brought to share with you (Click on the image to enlarge):

Bradley Khouri, b9 Architects

Show & Tell


Posted on October 23, 2018 at 12:04 am
Edward Krigsman | Posted in EK On The Go |

Determining the value of an investment property

Written by Edward Krigsman

Oftentimes we’re asked the question, how do you determine the value of an investment property? There are several ways to do it, and different approaches work best for different properties. For smaller duplexes, and fourplexes often times a quick and dirty way to discuss the value is to look at a gross rent multiplier. So you would take your gross rents, maybe $30,000 a year and multiply it times the gross rent multiplier or GRM that prevails for similar places in the neighborhood. So a property may sell for 10% or 20% its gross rent.

A property where the gross rents are $30,000, it may sell for $300,000. For example that would be a GRM of 10. With investment property, we also look at the price per square foot. A very similar metric as with single-family homes and since investors really look at the rent rate per square foot, which in the Seattle area could range from $1.50 per month for gross rents up to maybe $3 or $4 per square foot for smaller properties or newer and better properties.

You can look at the price per square foot since again, rents and value are related to size and since you’re renting out square feet that can be another tool for calculating the value. You can look at the prevailing price per square foot of similar investment properties. Duplexes, fourplexes, and the like in the area and then multiply that area times the square feet for the subject property, and you come up with an estimation of value.

That figure also works well for bigger, five units or greater, multi-family and commercial properties as well. But for bigger properties, we really rely on a capitalization rate to determine value. So a cap rate prevails in different neighborhoods differently. So in a very high demand area, you may see a cap rate of 3% or 4% or 5%. And that maybe like in Capitol Hill, in an urban area where there’s very, very focused demand and limited supply for rentals and limited land.
Cap rates again can be 3% of 4%. Whereas they may be 7% or 10% in outlying areas maybe Tacoma, Everett areas further out where there’s less demand for housing, lower incomes and so forth. Cap rate is determined by taking the NOI, the net operating income and looking at the ratio of that to its asset value. So, for example, if a property sold for a million dollars and it had a net operating income of $100,000, then the cap rate would be 10%.

Subscribe to EK Invest, our new monthly newsletter, tiered toward beginner and seasoned real estate investors.

Posted on October 18, 2018 at 7:54 pm
Edward Krigsman | Posted in Blog |

Creating Parks for the Public Good: The Seattle Commons Experience

EK On The Go – Episode #5

Do you remember the Seattle Commons project, the colossal park north of downtown Seattle that never happened? In this episode we will travel back in time and look at a segment of our civic history and how one decision could have seriously altered the transformation of our city. We are joined by Atlas Obscura Society Seattle Field Agents Christopher Blado and Weston Brinkley who will transport us to Seattle’s recent past, to explore the Seattle Commons project, the city’s historic opportunity to design what was touted as Seattle’s equivalent of New York’s Central Park on the southern shores of Lake Union.

Put on your virtual hiking boots as we blaze trails through history, swamps and wetlands in the next hour.


Click on the map to enlarge the proposed Seattle Commons we have talked about during the show.

Atlas Obscura Tour

Seattle’s Central Park: What Could Have Been

Atlas Obscura Society Seattle Field Agents Christopher Blado and Weston Brinkley are planning a walking tour of the Seattle Commons Project for those who are interested in exploring an alternate history. We will be posting the dates of this upcoming tour on our social media channels and in EK News as well, so check them periodically.


Posted on September 19, 2018 at 12:01 am
Edward Krigsman | Posted in EK On The Go |

Cooling of the Seattle apartment market

Written by Edward Krigsman

A decade of limited supply of rental units and heightened demand due to strong local employment caused a dramatic increase in Seattle’s rent rates. They surged nearly 70% over the past decade, nearly 8 times the national average. During this period, apartment developers responded by constructing new apartment units. The past decade saw the construction of 20,000 new rental units, and there are about 30,000 in the construction pipeline.

As a result of these factors, Seattle’s rental market has finally cooled off, providing some relief to renters and a shift in profitability for investors. Rising vacancies combined with renter-incentives (at least in the newer, more expensive buildings) diminished investor returns. Combine these factors with slightly increasing interest rates and you have a receipt for slightly higher cap rates when properties are traded. Not surprisingly, development of new units is slowing. New apartment construction is down 22% over last year, the first such drop in a decade.

What does this shift mean for you?

If you are a renter

Now is a good time to renegotiate your lease. Landlords will likely be putting forth effort to retain your business, and perhaps without the rental increases you may have experienced before. They may even be willing to sign a lease longer than the standard 12-months. Take advantage of this blip in the market.

If you are considering buying investment property

If you want to get a foothold in Seattle’ market and are willing to deal with some short-term softness, now is an excellent time to explore your options.Our investor-buyers are encountering a surprising range of choices, often at cap rates that are a bit higher than they would have been in 2016-17. Flattening rents and increasing vacancy loss combined with rising interest rates have made some investors skittish at a time when apartment values seem to have peaked. Investors without a long-term time holding horizon are choosing to cash out now, rather than risk future market softness.

If you own investment property

If your time horizon is short, you might considering cashing out now. But if your investment horizon is five years or longer, it may be wise to hold onto your property. Seattle’s business environment remains favorable, and our city will likely continue to attract highly-compensated workers, especially from areas that are less affordable. I believe that Amazon and other newer tech firms are poised to produce the region’s next generation of entrepreneurs and start ups. If this happens, it will create another boom of new jobs and heightened demand for workers. So if you share my favorable long-view, then consider weathering the softening market because Seattle is likely to remain a strong place to live, work, and own property. To address the current cooling market however, increase rents only after carefully assessing today’s rent rates at nearby buildings. Work carefully to retain your most desirable tenants.

To discuss the opportunities and threats posed by the cooling rental market, please contact us at 206.387.6789 or

Posted on September 1, 2018 at 5:22 pm
Edward Krigsman | Posted in Blog |

Norm Rice

EK On The Go – Episode #4

Building Trust by Talking over the Fence: A Process for Successful Civic Engagement

In this episode we welcome guest Norm Rice, Seattle’s 49th mayor. Come stroll with us down mayoral-memory-lane through Seattle’s  first tech boom of the 1990’s. His two-Mayoral terms reversed decades of economic decline in Seattle’s downtown core, transformed our city’s neighborhoods, and seeded the revitalization of South Lake Union. Join us as we explore how the Seattle of today — a place of global cultural and economic preeminence — is rooted in recent memory. Fasten your seatbelt as we uncover a big chunk of our city’s transformation packed in one short but dynamic hour.

Norm Rice

Edward and Norm Rice in the studio.

Extras from EK On The GO

iTunes & Google Play

We are very excited to share with you that starting in September our podcast will be available on iTunes and Google Play as well. If you would like to be notified once it’s up and running just click on Sign Me Up!

Walking Tour

In the next episode, we will explore the 90’s and today by diving deeply into the Seattle Commons. Our guides will be Atlas Obscura Society Seattle Field Agent Christopher Blado and Weston Brinkley of Street Sounds Ecology. Many of you might also be interested in catching a walking tour with Chris and Weston exploring an alternate history of the Seattle Commons Project. Click here to sign up for the tour.

Posted on August 17, 2018 at 11:57 pm
Edward Krigsman | Posted in EK On The Go |

House Healers

EK On The Go – Episode #3

“Listening and finding the soul of the house” – House Healers

This episode brings you the adventurous Heidi Schor & Paul Damen, aka House Healers, who retrieve the souls of exceptional and historically significant houses. Tune in to explore Heidi & Paul’s house healing journey, their process of breathing life into neglected and forgotten Seattle residences – such as the Heron House  or Chinook House – through discovery and repair. Buckle your seatbelts and get ready for a mystical journey through time and place.

Heidi & Paul in the studio, together with items they brought with them to share with you (Click on the image to enlarge):

Heidi Schor & Paul Damen, aka House Healers


Show & Tell

Glass Candle Gym Seat
Glass from Burma Ancient pottery piece Old bleacher plaque






 Handmade sketchbook by Michael Handmade sketchbook by Michael Handmade sketchbook by Michael


Posted on July 16, 2018 at 11:52 pm
Edward Krigsman | Posted in EK On The Go |

Winds of Change?

Seattle’s last ten years witnessed what may be remembered as its juggernaut real estate decade, marked by year-over-year price increases often in the double-figures. For property owners, this market was a windfall. But for many home homebuyers it has been dispiriting.

But change may be coming: You may have noticed a higher number of houses for sale this month, more price reductions, and a longer market time. Do these trends reflect a seasonal summer slowdown? Or might we have reached the peak of a real estate cycle? While the jury still out, these shifts have caught our attention.

Seattle real estate historically moves in 10-year cycles, so a shift toward equilibrium is logical, expected and probably healthy for long-term stability. EK clients as well as our colleague-brokers visiting from historically more costly markets (such as New York and San Francisco) have remarked recently Seattle property prices are “high.” Other markets nationally (Los Angeles, for one) and globally (Japan) have seen their highly appreciating markets recalibrate in the last eight months. As the cost of entry for home ownership in Seattle’s most conveniently located neighborhoods now exceeding $1M, a slowdown seems inevitable.

Over the last three years, dozens of our clients—mostly Baby Boomers—have pulled up stakes; selling their historically-highly valued Seattle home to move out of the area. Some have purchased small downtown condos to maintain a local foothold. Others have moved away altogether, remarking that while Seattle is now a world class city, it has also become a place they no longer recognize, one marked by traffic congestion, fractious urban politics, and increasing levels of homelessness. Most are looking forward to living in sunnier places with less complicated lifestyles: In Eastern Washington, Southern California, and even Panama.  Young working families are often selling their first Seattle house and buying a new one for less, but in locations like Shoreline, often near future light rail stations. This trend may increase Seattle inventory and ultimately slow price appreciation.

In 2016, economists projected that “secondary markets” (those outside the nation’s urban hubs) would outperform major cities. This prediction is being realized. Our younger clients—particularly those NOT employed in the lucrative technology fields—increasingly ask us to show them homes outside of Seattle in places like Tacoma. There, they discover “half price housing,” as well as an urban scene with less traffic. On a corporate level, Amazon’s decision to open headquarters beyond Seattle may also reflect this tendency.  This trend may increase Seattle inventory and soften slow appreciation rates. For historically more affordable areas like Burien, Renton, Tacoma, Bremerton and Everett, it is already having the opposite effect.

Whether Seattle’s increasingly real estate inventory reflects a historical ten-year appreciation cycle remains to be seen. But we’ve noticed trends which could indicate this is the case. Whether you are a home buyer, seller, savvy investor or home owner, periods of change bring new risks and rewards. Please contact us if you would like to review your current position and explore options.

Next month, we will explore trends in apartment and condominium construction that may be contributing to structural changes in Seattle’s real estate market.


Posted on June 28, 2018 at 5:23 pm
Edward Krigsman | Posted in Blog |

Michael Klebeck: Anchoring People to Places

EK On The Go – Episode #2

“Buildings that create epiphanies” – Michael Klebeck on Anchoring People to Places

In this episode Edward welcomes Michael Klebeck, creator of many of the area’s most memorable brands and places, including Top Pot Doughnuts. Inspired by a love of mid-century aesthetics, Michael’s distinct approach to marrying art and commerce has been intelligently shaping Seattle for years through aromas, flavors and design. Tune in to learn how Michael’s vision put Mod Pizza on the map, about the role of design and history in anchoring people to places, and how Michael’s approach to branding “in place” blends the old with the new in our own backyard.

Here is a photo of Michael in the studio, together with items he brought with him to share with you (Click on the image to enlarge):

Michael Klebeck Tyee (cover) vintage University of Washington yearbook Label with Stamp (side of Top Pot 6-pack doughnut box)



 Handmade sketchbook by Michael Handmade sketchbook by Michael Handmade sketchbook by Michael


Posted on June 11, 2018 at 11:46 pm
Edward Krigsman | Posted in EK On The Go |

Kevin Eckert ~ BUILD, LLC

EK On The Go – Episode #1

“My Buildings Don’t Have to Fly” – Kevin Eckert on Local Design & Development

Welcome to EK On The Go, a new podcast bringing together local people charged with creating, preserving, and celebrating places that matter in the Seattle area.

In today’s episode we are joined by Kevin Eckert, founding partner of BUILD LLC. Today Kevin shares his influences, which range from engineering in Kansas and Danish modernism. He also explains his firm’s approach to design and construction, suggesting modes of creating that will produce buildings for Seattle’s future that are more economical, durable, and beautiful than many being built today.

Whether you recently arrived to Seattle or have lived here for decades, we hope that you will find our podcast informative and useful.

These are the models Kevin brought to the studio and has talked about during the podcast to share with our audience. Kevin also mentioned their other works, the Park Modern and the Mercer Education building during the show, which you can take look at by following the links.

These are the models Kevin brought to the studio and has talked about during the podcast to share with our audience. Kevin also mentioned their other works, the Park Modern and the Mercer Education building during the show, which you can take look at by following the links.

Kevin Eckert, BUILD LLC First Central Station 602 Flats
Kevin Eckert

Founder of BUILD LLC

First Central Station 602 Flats




Posted on April 14, 2018 at 11:44 pm
Edward Krigsman | Posted in EK On The Go |

Pacific Northwest Regionalism

The Södergren Studio House is a classic example of a form of modernist architecture called Northwest Regionalism. 

This architecture evolved between the 1930's and the 1970's–largely thanks to the University of Washington and what became it's School of Architecture. The architects associated with this time period in Northwest Regionalism showcased the Pacific Northwest’s natural materials, such as wood, and rethought the traditional placement of buildings to accentuate the relationship between the architecture and the natural setting, often with trees and terraces.

Northwest Regionalism expressed the Pacific Northwest's natural materials such as wood, and re-thought the placement of buildings to showcase its relationship between the natural setting, often with trees and terraces.  Regionalists include many architectural craftsman–artists who coordinated with architects to create furnishings, mosaic, sculpture, fountains, murals and other elements as architectural elements. Pacific Northwest Regionalist architectural craftsmen included, in addition to Södergren, George Tsutakawa, Norman Warsinske, Glen Alps, Everett Dupin, Robert Sperry and James Bartell. 

For these designers, the use of locally harvested wood, stone and other natural materials became a key differentiator between their work and the work of their contemporaries in other parts of the United Sates. Responding to the local context of forest, views and rain, these architects developed a regional style known for its elegant  structural expression…wood being the medium. These buildings were smaller in scale (wood not being suitable for larger commercial projects), featured pitched roofs, large expanses of glass for views and openness, and reached out to incorporate the landscape, often very dramatically. This love of wood and other natural materials creates an obvious reference to Japanese aesthetics, especially Japanese vernacular architecture. 

The Södergren Studio house's embrace of Northwest Regionalism can be found in the large, extensive eaves, the craftsman-inspired corbels–a tip of the hat perhaps to original beach cottage which Anderson and Södergren discovered together and then redesigned. The archway theme – perhaps a tip of the hat to the New Formalism inspiring local municipal buildings such as The Pacific Science Center. But it is the extensive use of wood, the deep eaves, the wall of glass embracing Lake Washington, the heavy, protruding decks all furnished with pickets inspried by boat oars–echoed inside by a diminuive version of the same design–all wroght from the hand of Södergren's studio. 
To learn more about Pacific Northwest Regionalism in architecture, you may enjoy these titles:

To learn more about the Sodergren Studio House, visit:


Posted on July 17, 2015 at 10:53 pm
Edward Krigsman | Posted in Blog |