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November 4, 2009

Letter to the Editor: ‘Misleading impression' about Ashworth Cottages

I write on behalf of Pryde + Johnson to offer two corrections to your Oct. 15 article entitled “Intracorp hired to finish, sell the Ashworth Cottages project.”

First, the article incorrectly states that when the Ashworth Cottages units went on the market in 2007 “they were priced between $739,000 and $950,000.” The Daily Journal of Commerce has repeatedly reported this inflated price range, both in its main publication and affiliated blogs. The actual price range was substantially lower — between approximately $690,000 and $865,000. These prices reflect not just the carriage units, but also free-standing homes that were part of the project. An article in the Seattle Times, also published on Oct. 15, contains more accurate pricing information. As we have consistently advised you, the prices for these homes were set with sensitivity to the market: the project was not priced higher because it was an “eco-friendly” project; instead the prices reflected the fact that the homes' sustainable design and features made them a far superior product that resulted in, among other things, much lower energy costs, lower maintenance and healthy interior air. Moreover, these homes are, to put it simply, a better built, higher quality product that the competition, with finish levels likewise higher than any competition. In this regard, those early prices were apparently right: two of the three homes completed during the height of the market sold immediately for approximately $850,000. Because of the phased nature of the project, not all of the homes were ready for sale at that time. The Daily Journal of Commerce article also fails to mention that after the initial pricing at the height of the market, Pryde + Johnson made a series of price reductions to reflect changing market conditions.

Second, The Daily Journal of Commerce article misleadingly begins by stating that Intracorp was hired to “complete construction and then sell” the remaining Ashworth Cottages units. What the article fails to mention is that this “completion” consists of nothing more than installing a handful of appliances and finishing a small amount of touch-up painting. Pryde + Johnson completed the project — all units had received certificate of occupancy and LEED platinum certification before Intracorp was hired. These certifications would not have been possible if the units were not in fact complete. Pryde + Johnson is extremely proud of its work envisioning, designing and constructing the Ashworth Cottages. But the article makes no reference to Pryde + Johnson's completion of the project, leaving readers with the misleading impression that Intracorp's involvement would be substantial.

David Ziff

McNaul Ebel Nawrot & Helgren

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