Thursday, May 24, 2007

Caveat Emptor

The beautiful trees, the kennel with spacious lawns and the poorly maintained rentals next door are being replaced by 24 new cheek by jowel homes starting at just $750,000.
Paying three quarter of a million dollars for a place to hang your hat to me seems like madness. There is no view or city beat that might justify the price. Having watched this project stagger into its third year of waste and mismanagement, I conclude that developers in the still hot Seattle market have no incentive to be fiscally responsible or to give buyers value for their money.
Major bucks were spent on elaborate site preparation, cherry trees, sod(they killed or removed all the native vegetation) and fake gas lite lamposts. A small park sits atop a large drainage reservoir they constructed.
They cut corners on the sidewalks required by the city by hiring non union labor from south of the border. Those sidewalks are all ready crumbling because they used the wrong kind of cement.
Within the last three days, a half a dozen foundations have sprouted out of the mud also using Mexican labor. I was shocked to the poor quality of the work. The cement wasn't smoothed properly and the rebar was stuck in any old way. This is what is holding up your 3/4 of a million dollar castle.
It's not that Mexican workers can't do a good job. I have seen houses built by Mexicans in the American Southwest that are works of art. They were working using indiginous materials and techniques. Greedy developers are too busy exploiting the cheap labor pool they represent to even bother to train them or to care about the outcome when they don't.
In the Washington State legislature, the Speaker of the House held a buyer's rights bill hostage until the legislature adjourned. The most powerful lobbying group in WA state is the building industry. He and his family enjoyed a nice vacation as a gift from fellow legislators for doing such a great job.

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