Question: How are sales going at Pierce condos in Rosslyn?
Answer: The Pierce condos are one of three new buildings in Rosslyn’s luxury Highlands development (the other two buildings are rental apartments) with prices that rival the most expensive buildings in the DC Metro and far outpace other Arlington buildings on a price-per-square-foot basis, which I detailed in this 2019 column.
Penzance (developer) and The Mayhood Company (sales) began pre-selling the 104 units just before the pandemic hit. Sales in the building have captured the attention of many Arlingtonians and the real estate community because of the building’s prominent position in the Rosslyn skyline, record setting price-per-square-foot, and shifts in condo demand for a couple years following COVID lockdowns.
The Mayhood Company, who also handled sales at Turnberry Tower, Rosslyn’s other luxury condo building, played an active role in designing Pierce condos and conceived it as “Turnberry Gen 2” with the application of lessons learned from their time selling those units.
Prices ranged from roughly $950,000-$4,000,000+ with the average unit going for about $1,750,000 for approximately 1,700 SqFt of living space. Currently, units in the building range in price from ~$1,800,000-$2,600,000 and in size from ~2,000-2,400 SqFt. The bulk of the building has sold for $1.5M-$2.4M.
Pierce was completed and ready for move-ins by the fall of 2021.
I caught up with the Mayhood sales team to get a sense of how sales have gone through the lockdowns, during the post-lockdown flight from condos, and the return to more normal buying habits over the past 12-18 months.
Sales jumped out to a great start prior to the pandemic, with about 10 contracts right out of the gate. As expected, many of these sales were to buyers targeting premium views – the building has quite a few upper-level units with unobstructed (and nearly impossible to be obstructed in the future) views of DC and the Potomac. The other non-view sales were units on lower floors with the lowest price-per-square-foot.
Many of these early buyers were downsizing from larger single-family homes, which is/was expected to be the most common buyer profile for the building.
COVID Lockdown, Sales Lockdown
The sales office shut down due to COVID lockdowns in March 2020 and sales were frozen until August 2020, when they began taking calls and doing virtual sales. There was zero activity from mid-March until August/September, but they still finished 2020 with 15 total contracts.
Vaccines Led to More Activity
The building had about one contract per month from August 2020 through May 2021, but once vaccines become more broadly available and life started opening back up around June 2021, activity picked up significantly, resulting in 8 contracts in June 2021 and about 3-4 contracts per month through the end of 2021. Also, by June of 2021, the construction had progressed to allow prospective buyers to take hard hat tours and see the finishes and views in person, as opposed to renderings, which is always going to boost interest and sales. There were 28 contracts written in 2021.
From late summer 2020 through early summer 2021, the buyer profile shifted from those downsizing from larger single-family homes to buyers who were already living in condos/apartments and looking to upgrade. That shifted back to the “norm” of more downsizers by summer 2021, when vaccination rates were up.
Return to “Normal” Life Kept Sales Strong
2022 was a return to “normal” operations for most people and Pierce sales were excellent, with a consistent pace of 2-3 sales per month, totaling 30 contracts on the year, evenly split between the first and second half of the year. The overall condo market in Arlington also started experiencing a return to more normal buying behavior; low interest rates early in the year helped too.
Current Status, Closing Out
The project is transitioning into the close-out phase which means more is on the table for negotiations for buyers and as a result another 16 units have contracted so far this year, leaving just 15, or about 14% of the building, left to sell. The advertised price on the remaining units ranges from about $1.8M to just over $2.6M. Unit 2601, the largest penthouse unit, is also being resold after being one of the first contracts in 2020.
Featured Available Units
Some of the units that highlight the remaining 15 include:
- Unit 1203: A D5 floor plan with 2BR+Den/2.5BA over 2,400 SqFt and a 175sqft of balcony across two balconies
Figure 1: D5 floor plan
- Units 1302 and 2002: Both D2 floor plans with 2,000+ SqFt. Unit 1302 is the least expensive unit available (by a lot) and unit 2002 is the largest unit available with a view (Potomac River, Georgetown, National Cathedral)
Figure 2: D2 floor plan
- Unit 2502: If you want the best view without the extra space unit 2502 (C4, 1700 SqFt), is the highest floor of any unsold unit and has two balconies with excellent northern views the Potomac River, Georgetown, the National Cathedral and on a clear day you can see Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland (30+ miles away)
Figure 3: C4 floor plan
- Resales: It’s normal to see a handful of units resold in the first few years so it’s good to monitor on and off market channels for floorplans, views, or price points that are no longer available (like the penthouse unit 2601)
What I’ve Learned from Pierce
When I first analyzed this project, I was suspicious that there would be enough $1,000/SqFt buyers in Arlington. At the time (2019), there had been less than 10 sales in Arlington that exceeded $1,000/SqFt.
Fast forward to today and about 40% of sales (35+ units) in the building have exceeded $1,000/SqFt and the top five highest $/SqFt have ranged from $1,350-$1,530/SqFt! Incredible numbers when you compare it to not just to Arlington sales, but all regional sales.
The strength and pace of Pierce sales speaks volumes about Arlington’s ability to support the luxury market and the distance Rosslyn has come in the last 5-10 years (shoutout Mary-Claire Burick and the entire Rosslyn BID team!) to attract buyers with the financial means to live in DC and Bethesda’s premier neighborhoods and buildings. It’s also a testament to Penzance and Mayhood for recognizing how much demand there is from downsizing buyers for 2BR+den/3BR condos (much of Turnberry is 2BR) with large outdoor space and excellent amenities.
The sales team has noticed that after dealing with COVID, buyers seemed to value direct elevator access to their unit more than before. About 50% of the units in the building have direct elevator access in and out of the unit. The large private balconies on many units have also become more important to buyers, something I’ve noticed elsewhere in the condo market as well.
Another interesting shift in the buyer profile is more interest coming from Washington DC (and Maryland, to a lesser extent). If you’ve ever tried dating somebody who lives in DC, you know how hard it is to get Washingtonians to cross the “Potomac Ocean” and the same goes for housing, so it has been a pleasant surprise to see the building drawing so much attention from DC.
If you’re in the market for a luxury place to call home with excellent floor plans and incredible building and nearby community amenities, the close-out phase at Pierce is a great time to buy. Feel free to email me at Eli@EliResidential.com or call at (703) 539-2529 to discuss your options.
If you’d like to discuss buying, selling, investing, or renting, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Eli@EliResidential.com.
If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to discuss buying, selling, renting, or investing, please send an email to Eli@EliResidential.com. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.
Video summaries of some articles can be found on YouTube on the Eli Residential channel.
Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with RLAH Real Estate, 4040 N Fairfax Dr #10C Arlington VA 22203. (703) 390-9460.