Category: Market Square


So, University Place firefighter Greg Reimann shows up at the Friday morning meeting of the University Place-Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.  He’s honcho’ing the fire department’s annual effort to gather and deliver toys and meals and you name it to U.P. families in need.  ( What is it about firefighters?  They just don’t know how to quit giving. Do they?)  He picks up a few toys the chamber members had brought and he mentions that the unfulfilled need this year appears to be a 16 inch and an 18 inch boys bike. Well, before the chamber members disbanded, they reached into their pockets and the bikes were bought!  Just spur of the moment, “‘Cause it’s the right thing to do.” explained one member as another one was throwing yet another $5 bill on the table.  Yours truly thought, this won’t break anybody and I’m sure it didn’t but then again, as I was driving to purchase the two bikes I remembered a number of conversations I’ve had throughout the year with other business owners and various professionals working through this challenging year.  I remembered how some businesses are hanging on damned near by a string and still others have already locked the doors.  I thought again about the folks who simply did not hesitate to reach into their pockets to help ensure that a couple of kids didn’t go without bikes. (Every kid should have a bike. Don’t you think?)  It wasn’t the biggest, most generous, greatest philanthropic gesture of 2010 but I was proud of how my friends didn’t even hesitate before adding their cash onto the pile.  It’s not the mission of the chamber, the promotion of my business or any other such “falderall” that keeps me active in the chamber and serving on it’s board of directors.  It’s the members.  Damned fine people!

You wanna see a happy lady?  Go find Cindy Bonaro, our local librarian.  Ya know why?  At long last, she and her crew are actually

Fourth year staff member Alex Byrne is happy to stock the childrens' books in their new home

PUTTING BOOKS ON THE SHELF at the new Library in Town Center.  No kidding!

That’s right.  They are moving into the new Library!  Woo Hoo!  And what a facility it is.  Holy smokes! It is amazing and Cindy is celebrating all the room they’ll have in their brand new home.  Especially after being cooped up for so long in the former auto parts store.  She would explain that plans were afoot for changes to their old home on the Town Center site but the new facility offers what they were in need of and much more.  At a time when we’re cutting back left and right in Pierce County library operations, we’re very, very lucky in University Place to be the site of the newest gem in the system.  Mark your calendar for February 12th.  That’s the date earmarked for the grand opening on Bridgeport Way.  The staff is thrilled about it. Patrons are excited and just wait until your little ones get   of this place of wonder.  It’s really going to be one of a kind!

Now what’s with the duck? He’s sporting a holiday garland necklace. One of the ducklings has a knitted cap on and they all seemed to be wearing seasonal scarves.  But you know my hang up about “the duck”.  How about a name?  Our duck needs a bloody name!  After the first of the year, if the great feathered one hasn’t been named, I may have to get a contest started but the way he and his brood look now it could be the Christmas Quacker or maybe the Hannukah Honker or even Mr. Festivus Q. Duck!  ( OK, OK. You’re right. Maybe he IS  growing on me!  But he still needs a name! )

Done with your shopping?  Yeah, me neither.  See ya!

Pat Maddock

So, just who IS this guy?

Pat’s been a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place and he was the 2007 President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS as well as a 2009 Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission.   Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran. But most importantly, he’s been a     University Place native since 1953.

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What a gorgeous couple of days! Is THIS finally summer?

Has anyone tried the new angle, back-in parking in front of town center on Bridgeport? I had one fella write me and say, “I tried to accomplish this almost impossible driving act, during the 5:00 – 6:00 traffic.  Needless to

Just in front of the new town center

say the result was less than favorable with the other drivers. Many honked their horns, waved (with one digit) and yelled obscenities.” Oh, sure, the old “You’re Number One” hand gesture.  I occasionally use the angle, back-in parking downtown on Tacoma Avenue and find it to be a bit “unnatural” but it’s certainly doable. After watching men, women and (comparative) children doing it without hesitation I concluded that it’s just something I need to get used to. Ha! Remember all of the hubbub about roundabouts? “Somebody’s gonna get killed because of those things.” “They’ll be tearing ’em up and repaving inside of a year!” Right. Give me a choice between a four-way traffic signal and a roundabout and I’m taking the roundabout EVERY time! And as for the back-in parking, I understand it really increases capacity and you don’t have to BACK INTO TRAFFIC like you would with a nose-in parking spot. Do I think it’s a good idea? Well, the folks I’ve talked to around Tacoma Ave seem to think so. I suppose then, what we ought to do is just give it a chance. Once town center is built and it’s been used for months, we should know better. Now don’t get me started about roundabouts made to resemble an eagle’s aerie!

Speaking of unexpected birds.  Have you seen it?  Did you see it being delivered?  What am I talking about?  The DUCK! 

They are dedicating it tomorrow (Sat) afternoon at 1:00.  Go see for yourself.  It’s under wraps today but tomorrow afternoon….tada! A giant duck!

Now, let’s set the record straight.  For the city to have an unending affection for the late Mr. Terry Reim is, at the least, appropriate.  Anyone who gives and gives and gives ought to be remembered and yes, perhaps memorialized.  But a DUCK?!?  No less a five foot duck (I may be exaggerating just a hair).  But the fact is that our new town center and beautiful library building and new cop shop and market square and all things great and architecturally beautiful about the hub of University Place – to come, will now be fronted by a gigantic brass duck.  I’m at a loss. 

Now, I know some people who I think a lot of are very much in favor of this

Is that a duck under there?

 memorial.  And I know they are very fond of the duck and they are very fond of University Place and you put it all together and we end up with a giant brass duck symbolizing our city.  Yes, yes, yes. I know that nobody said this was being placed there as a symbol of our city but that’s EXACTLY the effect it will have. I promise you.  Give it time.  Put money on it. You’ll win!  We’ll become “the Duck city”, “Ducktown”, “Quackersville”. The new UP obscenity will be “Duck you, buddy!”  OK, well maybe not but you get my drift. Just imagine how much fun they are going to have with this up and down the halls of Curtis Senior High. I have news for our new police chief. You want a target for pranks and graffiti?  You just got it.  “Hey, let’s go T-P the duck!”  Graffiti duck, I can just see it, now.  Is it easy to get spray paint off brass.  I honestly do hope no moron damages it (whether you like it or not – that’s just wrong) but you gotta admit, it’s about to take the place of the 56th Street Rock as a target for mischief.   I’m sure someone is envisioning little kids crawling around it as Mom takes a break in Market Square in the afternoon sun. Sure. It will happen but then that night at about 1am, big brother and his buddies, after another win by the home team, well… the boys will find a target for their “nuttin’ to do around here” lament.  The youthful, immature corners of my mind are going crazy right now with all of the stunts that could be played at, on, under and around Mr. Duck.  And, oh yeah, does he have a name?  Or is he a she?  There’s our first question to answer. Would somebody who actually knows something about ducks, (for real) certainly not me, go determine if it’s a rake or a hen, please.  (Yes, that IS what you call a male duck.)

Yes, I certainly am aware of our annual Duck Daze and the duck parade. Can I figure why people want to dress up in yellow and walk through the spring rain to the old town center in celebration of Duck Daze?  Nuttin’ to do around here? Mmmmm, yeah, that COULD be it?  Or maybe they really are seeking and identify for them and their city and the love our ducks!?!

Again, no argument…it’s a good thing to memorialize an outstanding citizen who was very popular and did a lot around U.P. before his untimely passing. No arguement.  In fact, my reticence about wholeheartedly accepting the big brass duck right in front of Market Square, has not a thing to do with the late Mr. Reim. It has everything to do with the fact that if I had to pick a symbol for our city, an animal in fact, that stands for the spirit of University Place, I certainly would rank mole, frog, racoon and coyote above duck. 

So, let me wrap a ribbon around this topic with one final thought. Over the course of the past year, what animals have I seen in University Place?  Aside from domestic dogs and cats and other such pets, let’s see… racoon, coyote, deer, mole, rat, possum, about 12 gazillion squirrels, a multitude of birds including eagles and the oft-depositing Canada goose, bats and not one single freakin’ DUCK! None. Zero. Zilch!  No ducks!!!  Maybe at one of our nature parks, they hang around doing whatever ducks do but since I don’t frequent our nature parks, I have seen not one single, solitary duck and not just in the past year but I’m willing to bet I haven’t seen a single duck in U.P. in the past FIVE years!    So, with all the civic pride I can muster I’ve got to ask, why oh why if you were going to put a memorial piece of art in front of Market Square, why in the hell is it a big, fat duck?

Now don’t get me started on the public art in University Place. You really DON’T want to do that.  There is one I actually like…a lot.  The others…  just don’t get me started!

Have you been voting in support of the Playground by the Sound?  EVERY DAY?!?  That’s what we need to compete and earn the $50K from Pepsi.  It only takes a moment and all you have to do is past this address into your browser and go do it.  EVERY DAY until we win!  The kids deserve it dontcha think?   http://www.refresheverything.com/search/?q=%22Playground+by+the+Sound+Committee%22+kids.basket+Joshua.Hazelton+fox.road+copper.Improvement+bed.head+upper.brain+%22vanRensburg%22+Oakland.Christian

Our U.P. Fire Department will host a free Fall Fun Day on Saturday, October 23 from 10 am-1 pm at UP Fire Dept. Pony rides, petting zoo, digital pictures for kids in costume, bake sale and food drive and pumpkins for the first 300 kids are all included in the plan.  They encourage you to wear your costume and the kids can get their Halloween safety bracelet and bag, there, too.  Refreshments are being served and the U.P. Primary PTSA will hold their bake sale, as well.  When you are packing up the kids to bring them, grab some non-perishable food to donate there, too. Would you?

Don’t forget tomorrow (Sat) is Fall Clean Up for everyone who lives NORTH of 40th Street.  It’s time to all your stuff to UP Refuse.  Next week, everybody SOUTH of 40th Street. 564-3212 is the number for more info.

Tuesday, Oct 19th is another installment of the Free Natural Yard Care Workshop series at the U.P. City Hall from 6:30 to 8:30.  This week, it’s Designing with the Right Plants in the Right Places and the topic of Natural Lawn Care which I don’t need to worry about. Instead, I should find a clinic offering “Natural Moss Care”.  If it wasn’t for moss my lawn wouldn’t be green!  Space is limited. So, contact grinehart@tpchd.org to reserve your seat.  The final night will be Oct. 26th when they will present Garden Pest Management (I wonder if that includes firearms?) and the topic of Smart Watering Techniques.  Do we need to be watering our gardens?  After all, we live in University Place, Washington!  Well, attend the clinic and listen to the experts, not me.  In my garden I grow hops and hot peppers…what do I know?

REAL ESTATE SALE OF THE DAY: In an effort to help you keep tabs on this continually changing real estate market in University Place here’s another recently sold U.P. home (Info from public records).  

2002 University Place home

Well, here’s another one that the bank took. I don’t know why the owner didn’t make their payments. I don’t know why they walked away from it and it’s really none of our business. The point is that YOUR home won’t sell for what it should because there are far too many of these bank owned properties, priced aggressively and stealing our buyers…yours and mine.  True!  If I can get this 2,411 square foot home built in 2002 and in good condition for less than $300K, why am I going to pay you what you want for your home?  This home sold for $120 per square foot. Now, don’t go comparing your 1970’s home on that basis and don’t go comparing your rambler based on that data.  Different homes are worth different prices.  If you want to know what your home is worth or what you can get for it TODAY, just call me and I’ll be more than happy to tell you.  However, know that if it’s out there competing with the likes of this home, the bank owning this home is competing with you in ways you can’t do.  Can you price your home to compete with bank foreclosures?  Most often the answer is “No”.  But you MUST if you want your home to be the one selected by the buyers who are also considering the bank owned properties.  It’s head-to-head competition and the banks WILL win if we price our homes like we would have four years ago…FACT!  

Banks don’t want to own homes.  They lose money every day they hold them.  So, they price them to be SOLD…NOW!  They have to and will beat your price because, again, they don’t want to own them and will do what it takes to get them sold, without hesitation.  Pierce County leads the state in foreclosures.  THAT should startle you.  That should also tell you that it takes very up-to-date market knowledge, experience and insight to get your home sold right now.  We can but it ain’t the old days when we had bidding wars ever other day, when we didn’t get the sign up before it was sold. No, I don’t know that we will EVER see those days again. But is getting your home sold for a decent price a doable task right now?  Yes, it is but it isn’t for the faint of heart.  If you want to discuss that, give me a shout.  I do it all the time and would be happy to sit down with you and discuss what it will take to get your deal done.  University Place homes STILL compete well in our market and, as is the case with this one that just sold, even if it’s a UP house that’s NOT in the UP School District, it competes well.

Well, I have a football game to get to tonight, a chili cookoff to compete in tomorrow, a birthday party for a daughter and son-in-law tomorrow, a benefit concert for a distant cousin tomorrow night and sheesh!  I’ll catch my breath in time for the Seahawks, I hope!

Have a wonderful weekend and, as always, be well…

PAT MADDOCK                                                                                                                                           Coldwell Banker BainREALTORS  3560 Bridgeport Way West,          University Place, WA 98466                                                                                                                             (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

So, just who IS this guy?

Pat’s been a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place and he was the 2007 President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS as well as a 2009 Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission.   Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran. But most importantly, he’s been a     University Place native since 1953.

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OK, OK, OK already. I get it! You want me to start up the blog again! Whew!
I suppose it’s a good thing that so many folks have been “beating me up” to resurrect the “University Place: What’s UP?” blog.  So, I should say a sincere “Thank You” for the compliment.
However, to restart the process I have to clear the air just a bit and here’s the best way for me to do that.  Set Policy.
As frequent readers will know, I don’t author this blog to piss and moan. I don’t put the time into it to gripe and rant about what’s wrong with… most anything. There are enough folks around us every day who do that FAR better than I ever could. Don’t mess with the masters.
But more importantly, there is so very much around us that is positive, is good, is healthy, fun … that we LIKE! …that we LOVE!  I began writing this blog for a simple reason. TO BUILD COMMUNITY!  Not to tear it down.
I spent my morning, today,  in a class with experts talking about social media and they acknowledged that there will always be those who seek out good things in order to play their small-minded “Troll” games and “Pee on the flower bed” as my Father used to say. And you know what? The flowers don’t like it.
Well, I view you as the flowers, the things that are bright and good about our community and if I can perpetuate a tool which contributes to that just a wee bit, I think it’s worth doing.
I’m not going to dwell on the nay sayers who caused me to back off production of this blog with their constant gripes about our community, our city, it’s leadership and about the economic state of our society at large. No, I didn’t post their messages and I won’t. That’s not why I created this little creature and, according to YOU, that’s not what you want to read. They were not griping about me or what I was saying here but still, I won’t be the platform for “pissin’ and moanin'”. I don’t need it. You don’t want it. Door closed!
OK. I needed to get that out. Thank you for sitting through it. I hope you understand that you sure can write me about ANYthing but what WE seem to want is information about what’s coming up in our community.  A fair and equal treatment of local issues.  A positive look at our world here in University Place and, from what I do every day, a peek at our own slice of the real estate marketplace and how it’s effecting the value of our homes and investments, here.  So, shall we get back to the business at hand?
UNIVERSITY PLACE: What’s UP? (Now that we got all of that out of the way, I’ll give you a mini version and we’ll really catch up in the next edition.)

REMEMBER WHEN IT LOOKED LIKE THIS?

Doesn’t the new Library look inviting , these days?  Have you paused on Bridgeport to take a look at it, lately? Wow!  That place is really going to be something and Yes, I understand they ARE on track to have it finished shortly after the first of the year.  I really am looking forward to walking through. I’m absolutely looking forward to taking my grandsons!  I loved the old Swasey Branch Library on 6th Avenue when I was a kid and I loved the Pierce County Bookmobile in the summertime.   Remember?  They brought us The Hardy Boys,  Long John Silver, the magic of Shakespeare, scientific discoveries, our national parks, the adventures of Lewis and Clark.  All right, I AM dating myself but they did bring my sisters Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie mysteries.  They trained us to use our imagination. They helped us develop a thirst for more and more and more!  Yeah. The library.  If we don’t think it’s a gem of our community we really missed the boat somewhere.  Get ready to reaquaint yourself with all that magic but much bigger and better than University Place ever knew of the very fine facility we had.  My understanding of the plans for the new library is…well, just wait.  We ain’t seen nuttin’ yet!   There are, however, some unmet needs inside and the Library folks are conducting fund raising to meet them. I’ll tell you more about that next time but understand you can participate in small or large ways, you, your kids, your neighbors, all of us!   It’s a chance to invest in something which will pay us back and right away. To say nothing of what it will do for our youngsters…and theirs!

October 12th, this next Tuesday evening from 6:30 – 8:30 the Pierce County Department of Health is bringing a free and informative workshop to us at U.P. City Hall.  What’s it about? NATURAL YARD CARE.  (Hey, NOW’S the time of year!) Specifically, Tuesday the experts will present you with answers on Garden Design:  Backyard Composting & Growing Healthy Soil.  Sign up RIGHT NOW as space is filling up. grinehart@tpchad.org  will register you and/or get you more info but DON’T put it off.  They’ve got more sessions planned for upcoming weeks and I’ll get in to those specifics, next time.

FALL CLEAN UP…FALL CLEAN UP…FALL CLEAN UP  How many times have I heard

My wife insisted, "But there's MORE!"

my neighbors bemoaning the fact that they missed it?  Well, don’t.  Here it comes.  Saturday, October 16th. If you live NORTH OF 40TH Street it’s your day.  Load up your truck (I didn’t say OVERload) with your “stuff” and head to UP Refuse & Recycling at 2815 Rochester Street West between 9am and 4pm.  (Pssst some of us go early to avoid too much of a waiting line.)  Call them at 564-3212  (8:30am to 4:30pm) to get all the details.  Hey!  What if I live SOUTH OF 40TH Street?  No problem.  The following Saturday is YOUR day, October 23rd.

REAL ESTATE DEAL OF THE DAY: In an effort to help you keep tabs on this continually changing real estate market in University Place here’s another Actively For Sale U.P. home.  

It's a perfect U.P. condo

When you hear the admonition that “It’s a great time to BUY!”  Well, it certainly is.  The deals are unbelievable.  The equity you have when you walk in the door is crazy.  History concretely tells us that the healthy market will return and some are saying we’re already on the upswing. I won’t argue that the market has picked up as of late but the admonition doesn’t change.  The prices are way down and they need ‘em sold. So,  it IS a great time to buy! .  Interest rates are hovering at or below 4.25% … like the lowest EVER!  So, what’s for sale out there that you haven’t seen?  Well, here’s one…behind locked gates.  The neighborhood is called Williamswood, built 10 years ago by William Barrett. (Hence, Williamswood.) and the beautiful little community,  just west of University Place Elementary School and on the north side of 27th is just clean as a whistle with freshly paved streets with a nice

It’s light and bright and the price is right!

clubhouse. The exteriors and yards are all maintained by the community and this two bedroom, two bath, one-level home without stairs, is on the market for only $209,000!  No, I’m NOT kidding. What’s wrong with it?  I see nothing wrong.  The seller kept this 1,322 square foot home in superb shape.  The master suite is HUGE. I swear you could play basketball in there…OK, now I’m exaggerating.  The fact is, this is a very nice, open concept rambler condo in a pristine little gated community in the heart of University Place and the price is RIGHT!  Want to take a look?  Give me a shout!  I would be happy to show it to you…today!

 
First of the week, we’ll get back to our regular delivery of timely University Place information and we’ll certainly keep our eyes on the real estate market for you. You tell me you like that.  I really do want to thank so many of your for your positive feedback and your calls to “Bring back the Blog!”  Those were nice to hear.  There’s a lot coming up in our little piece of the world over the next few months and we’ve got some important elections just around the corner. Hey!  Are you as tired as my wife and I are of political ads?!?  OMG “…and I endorsed this message”.  Give me a break!  If the candidates did everything as wrong as their opponents said they did, I think they’d be behind bars! But you know what those ads ARE doing that I like?  Every time one comes on in the middle of one of the few decent shows on TV right now, my wife and I turn to each other and actually speak!   Imagine that.  To heck with NCIS or Dancing with the Wanna Be’s or whatever.  We’re so sick of the political commercials, we actually talk to each other… after 37 years of marriage.  Wow!  So, I’ll take this opportunity to thank Dino and Patty and Dave and Susan and whoever else is out there “…endorsing this message.”  You’ve done my wife and I a real service.  Thanks. Oh, we’re not voting for you but thanks anyway.

Have a wonderful weekend and, as always, be well…

PAT MADDOCK                                                                                                                                           Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS                                                                                              3560 Bridgeport Way West,                                                                                                                             University Place, WA 98466                                                                                                                             (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

So, just who IS this guy?

Pat’s been a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place and he was the 2007 President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS as well as a 2009 Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission.   Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran. But most importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953.

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 So, it was the driest January on record here?  It just felt kinda-yucky There is something VERY important I need to you do.  Frankly the people who need you to do this are a lot shorter than I am, come to think of it.    We need you to go dig up your ballot…now!  You, know, the one you received in the mail the other day.  Inside it’s labelled “Special Election Ballot – February 9, 2010, etc…”  Now, if you wait until February 9th, you’ll probably forget, as I would.  And instead of me just saying “Mark Yes” and mail it back in, I should set the record straight on an item of concern or two. 

NO, NO, NO this is not in any way tied to the Town Center!  Sheesh!  I couldn’t believe it Friday when I was talking with our School District(UPSD)  Superintendent, Patti Banks, and she noted that there are people out there who are actually under the impression that the two are somehow connected. NO, NO, NO!   Please pass that word on, would you? 

And while you’re at it, NO, NO, NO this is not a levy for capital improvements!  That means, this is not a tax so they can build new buildings. No! This is, as your ballot explains, a REPLACEMENT levy.  In other words, a few years back we voted to fund the operations, maintainance, staffing, materials, books, etc…the “stuff” needed to educate our youngsters. Well that runs out at the end of this year and this levy will REPLACE those funds.  It will NOT build new buildings. Those monies come from a totally different place.  This vote is essentially saying Yes, we want school to continue in University Place.

Let’s take a quick peak at where funds do come from that keep the doors open through our schools.  State funds provide 68.28% of the revenue used by the UPSD and 21% of their revenue comes from local levies such as this one. That’s about 1 out of every 5 dollars used to operate our schools that is dependent upon this election.  Whew!  I would not want to see what would happen if we took 1 our of every 5 dollars away from the operations of our school district!  And I don’t even have kids in school!

  Which brings up another important point. I was in a conversation with a gent the other day who was bitchin about the fact that this was bound to pass and he was gonna have to keep paying for the UP Schools when his kids had all graduated from Curtis and now have families of their own.  I wanted to slap him but I’ve taken a personal vow to be nicer and I have no desire to inspect the inside of a Pierce County Sheriff’s facility.  If that thought every crosses your mind (No, not the slapping)  please think of two things.  When you were putting your kids through school, here or wherever, you were not alone in funding that.  Parents whose children were long gone were helping you fund your childrens’ education. Single folks who never had kids were helping to fund it.  Even my parents and so many like them who helped pay the cost of students in University Place while they also paid tuition to St. Charles where all six of us Maddock kids attended, then Bellarmine and so on.  But Dad didn’t gripe about having to pay twice because it was his choice to send us to Catholic school and  (Here’s that second reason I promised you) he knew that by maintaining a strong school district there was a direct impact on the rate of appreciation of his biggest monetary investment, our home. 

In my business I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve had clients come to me and list the U.P. Schools as THEE number one reason why they wanted to live here.  Of course you realize that the same home in U.P. and in Fircrest will bring two different prices, don’t you?  It’s primarily because of the schools!  The day I stop supporting U.P. Schools is the day I no longer care about the resale value of my home!  

By the way, in 2010 we have a voter approved rate of taxation in support of the schools (bond, M&O and tech levies) of $6.85 per $1,000 of assessed valuation of our homes.  With the passage of this levy this week (don’t put it off) in 2011, the voter approved estimated total will be $6.62 per $1,000.  Ah, yes, that WOULD be less. Now wouldn’t it?  Do you think I’m going to fill out my ballot with a YES and send it in BEFORE the February 9th deadline?  Yes?  NO!  … I already did it!

Please get to your friends and neighbors and politely remind them to get their YES vote in early and if you think it’s going to be a NO vote, then let’s hijack their ballot.  Yes, I’m kidding.  But you certainly know how to correct any misconception they might have about the election.  If not, give me a shout. I’ll be all too happy to chat with them.  It really is that important.  Thanks!

The City of University Place Economic Development Office is about to start their Business Workshop Series again.  February 24th will be the first lunchtime session and they are worth their weight in ownership/managerial gold!  They really are.  I’ll tell you more as the date nears but grab a pencil and your calendar and write “U.P. Food for Thought” on Feb 24th.  They will happen about every other month this year and all you pay for is your lunch.  Last year’s sessions were worth TONS more than that!  Seriously, mark your calendar and check back here and I’ll tell you the details of the first one. So, you can make it a point not to miss it.  Outside experts talking specifically about issues we face with our businesses every day.  This is powerful stuff.

Are you a business owner or manager in University Place?  If so, you really ought to look into the University Place-Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.  It is a very active and successful arm of the main chamber and it’s one that certainly makes a difference for you and your business here in U.P.   One small thing you might want to just show up for and yes, that’s totally welcomed…you don’t need to be a member to come join in…it’s called Wake U.P. and it happens the last Friday morning of each month. The February event is set for 7:30 a.m., Friday, February 26th and it always takes place at the U.P. Presbyterian Church (C’mon around back) at 8101 27th St West.  It runs until 9:00 a.m. and it’s packed full of information which benefits most all of us as business owners/managers here.  It’s different every month and it’s valuable every month.  Plus, that first half hour as most of us are drinking coffee and just trying to think lucidly, it’s a good time do a little networking with other business owners from the area.  Give it a try. I believe you’ll be surprised and if you want to, just tell anyone who asks that I invited you! 

So, what is going on in the real estate realm now? We see all the for sale signs around University Place but what’s happening elsewhere. Yes. We heard the news that Pierce County essentially crashed in December, something over a 16% loss from the prior month. Does that mean the value of my home fell 16%? No. Certainly not. What it means is that we closed more than 16% fewer sales than in the prior month. But isn’t December traditionally a slow month? Yes. It is but that doesn’t cover the 16%. A player in that number was that so many first time buyers sprinted to meet the deadline to qualify for the $8,000 federal tax credit for buying their first home or the first they’ve owned in more than three years. There was a deadline to hit which did get extended until this June but many were sprinting and they closed in October and November and the rush was done by the time December rolled around.

New-home buyers responded to the tough times in 2009 by opting for smaller houses, driving down the average size of a house built in the United States for the first time in 27 years. Data recently released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found the average size of a new home that was completed in 2009 fell to 2,480 square feet from 2,520 square feet in 2008. That doesn’t seem like a big adjustment but many of us feel the trend will continue.  I really think we’ll settle somewhere around 2,000 square feet.

RealtyTrac, one of the leading online marketplaces for foreclosure properties, released its Year-End 2009 Metropolitan Foreclosure Market Report, which shows that cities in four sun belt states accounted for all top 20 foreclosure rates in 2009 among metro areas with a population of 200,000 or more, but foreclosure activity showed signs of spreading into previously insulated areas as unemployment became more of a driving factor.

California accounted for nine of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates, followed by Florida with eight, Nevada with two and Arizona with one. The highest-ranked metro area outside of those four states was in Boise City-Nampa, Idaho, which ranked No. 24 with 4.66% of its housing units receiving at least one foreclosure notice in 2009.

Many of us in the industry feel that we’re entering a new wave of foreclosures, driven more by unemployment and economic hardship than what we’ve seen over the past few Areas like Provo, Utah, Fayetteville, Ark., Portland, Ore., and Rockford, Ill., all posted foreclosure rates above the U.S. average in 2009. And markets like Honolulu, Minneapolis and Seattle saw foreclosure activity increase at more than twice the national pace over the past 12 months—although all three of those markets still had 2009 foreclosure rates that were at or below the U.S. average.

Las Vegas posted the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate for the year, with more than 12% of its housing units receiving a foreclosure notice in 2009—more than five times the national average. Las Vegas reported a quarter-over-quarter decline in foreclosure activity in the fourth quarter—as did all the other metro areas with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 for 2009.

Las Vegas never ceases to amaze me and for so many reasons. Did you know that there are more Catholic churches in the greater Las Vegas area than there are casinos?  (If you think about it, one sort of leads to the other.)  What I didn’t know was that the churches in Las Vegas accept casino gambling chips in the Sunday collection plate? No kidding. The churches have organized and figured out that if, each week,  they gather their chips together, hand them over to a local monastery of Franciscans, they get them exchanged for cash. The Franciscans, of course are the …. chip monks. (Didn’t even see it coming, did ya?)

Next week we’ll look at a couple more recent, local home sales.  Have a great week!

PAT MADDOCK     

Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS      3560 Bridgeport Way     University Place, WA  98466      patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

Who is this guy?

As a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place, Pat Maddock is the former President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS and the 2009 Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission. But most importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953. Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran.

You can find him at the Bridgeport office of Coldwell Banker Bain.  If you want to know something about University Place real estate, talk with someone who certainly does!

   Before we get back into the topic of elections, lets talk about the latest in this housing market because it’s BIG news and it’s timely.   Nationwide, September existing home sales jumped 9% from August and that is FAR exceeding most everyone’s predictions. Actually, that’s huge!  That’s the HOUSEShighest level since July of 2007.  Oh, yes, we are Definitely on the road to recovery!  Do I make plans based on one month?  Nope, certainly not but this statistic is significant enough, when coupled with other economic trends as of late, to prove we are headed in the right direction.  But here’s the complimentary news. Inventories of unsold existing homes dropped sharply to a 7.8 month supply which is down from a 9.3 in August.  That means, on average it now takes an existing (as opposed to new construction) home almost 8 months to sell while just the month before it was taking almost 9 1/2 months.  You take those two pieces of news together and you chart the continuing trend of inventory reduction and you see exactly where we are headed. That 7.8 month national supply, by the way, was the lowest level in two and a half years! 

Next week we’ll see more important economic data being released.  Thursday is the day for the release of the third quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is the broadest measure of American economic activity. New home sales data should be out on Wednesday and if that wasn’t enough, among other actions, the Treasury will auction a record $116 billion in 2-yr, 5-yr and 7-yr securities next week.  Whew!   If we want to understand where this housing market and our overall national economy is heading and with how much gusto, we better pay attention.  I do and I share!

Does this all impact the U.P. home market?  Well, it certainly does and it helps us understand why in September that absorption rate in the U.P. area ROSE.  Huh? It’s longer?   Yes, it is taking LONGER to sell the average home in U.P. now than it did just a few months ago.  How is that possible?  While the national AVERAGE absorption rate is falling (shorter time on the market), it’s rising or lengthening in the UPPER price ranges which University place certainly is.  Let me make it a bit more clear with another example.  Prices are even higher over in Gig Harbor where the absorption rate is now 11.9 months!  That’s right. Count on the average Gig Harbor home taking a year to sell while in U.P. we should expect a market time of 9.2 months.  Are we heading in the wrong direction?  Well, there are a lot of reasons why the bottom end of the market, the lowest price ranges, are selling like hotcakes but so many of those sale are of bank owned foreclosures…SO very many of them.  If you buy a home that’s owner occupied, you normally push that buyer up in the market.  They go buy a more expensive home. Hence the phrase “Move up” buyers but when there are no resident owners of the lower end homes (bank owned) that are selling, there’s nobody to move up. So, the upper end homes will eventually be pulled along by the lower end sales but for now, they are lagging. 

So, is it time to raise U.P. home prices?  Not yet.  Too much competition and too few buyers. WillGulish we see some more reductions?  Yes we will, especially in the case of sellers who NEED to sell and, of course, the many bank owned homes.  Overall, we’re ok and moving in the right direction.  It’s not going to happen overnight but we ARE heading in the right direction and that momentum will pull the higher priced markets along in time.  Why?  Remember, this isn’t the only recession this country’s been through.  So why will it continue to turn upward?  Because it always does. That’s the way our economy works, time and time again.  Count on it.

HEY!  Didja know that U.P. is accepting applications for citizens to serve on the Planning Commission, the Parks and Rec Commission and on COPS?  If you are interested, call the City Clerk’s office at 566-5656.  It’s important that we get good people on these commissions.  They can have a definite impact on the future of our neighborhoods and our city.

What do you do when there’s a stray animal in your yard?  ( No. You don’t go out banging a metal spoon on a metal pan. ) You call 798-3133. 

Tomorrow, Saturday Oct 24th, there’s an Open House at Market Square in front of the new Library and municipal building in Town Center from 10-2 and Hard Hat tours of the construction zone will also be given at that time. What a good opportunity to go have a look at what will eventually become the center of University Place.   By the way, do you have a group or even a bunch of U.P. friends who would like to tour the new Town Center while it’s under construction?  Hard Hat tours are offered on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month.  Call 460-2526.  I’ve actually been twice and they are great!  Very, very informative.  It’s a great look behind the scenes of what’s coming. It’s a pretty neat view from the top floor!

It’s time!
Ballots are out and if you haven’t already, it’s certainly time to get serious about the November 3rd General Election, in which the U.P. City Council races are front and center.
election 2009 buttonI suppose about the best way to make up one’s mind is to get it “from the horse’s mouth”, that is to say, listen directly to the candidates. But how is one to know what’s true?
Well, if you’ve personally investigated all of the claims and allegations, then you haven’t had much time for anything else. Have you? Or if you stayed informed all the way along these last 15 years of cityhood then you’re informed and ready to vote. Yes, I know, not many have.
I’ll offer the link to UPTV and encourage you to listen closely to each candidate but understand a couple of facts, first.
Take a look at who the Tribune endorsed for these races, to start out with: Linda Bird, Eric Choiniere, Ken Grassi and Denise McClusky. Frankly, that should go a long way. It’s not 100% in line with my endorsements but it’s very close.                                                                       

I have not endorsed in the Choiniere-Lorna Smith race. Or you might say, I’ve endorsed both. They both bring contributions to the table and there are detractors in both regards. I really thought Ehart would win position five over Denise McClusky who is actually better prepared to contribute to the leadership of U.P. but then last week the scandal of Ehart taking thousands of dollars through a volunteer public position, spending it and then not fulfilling her public committment and then ADMITTING it….Well, we can’t afford that in our city leadership!
I could not be more profoundly behind Linda Bird or Ken Grassi. They have been with us from the start and have led, literally led our city through most all of what it’s accomplished in that timeframe and THAT’S A LOT!!! If you want to deny it, you need to go take a walk, a safe walk, through U.P. in all of the places you couldn’t take that walk “back in the day”…not safely. We have a lot to thank them for and a lot yet to accomplish. I cannot believe that by starting over from scratch with UNPROVEN players is the shift to make right now. It will cripple us!
And finally, the Town Center “ain’t broke”.  I’ve dwelt on that enough here. I won’t belabor the point. Standard and Poors rates the financials of our city outstanding and in anticipation of the turn of the commercial real estate market, the town center will slowly, in a sober manner, spring to life. The preparations are in place. Development from this point forward will be comparatively simple. When investment monies are freed up nationally, this project will lead the way because our current leadership has had the backbone to make the tough decisions all ready. I don’t want a rookie stepping in and mucking up the works. Bird’s opponent Figueroa claims to have the answer by kicking transit out of the project and by selling off the library and new town hall. Not bad Mr self-labelled “forensic real estate consultant”. Those were paid for with government grants and who goes to jail when you try to sell them? Yes, it’s called misappropriation of public funds. DO YOUR RESEARCH!  And by the way, nobody we can find in the real estate business knows who you are. Nobody we can find has ever worked with you and nobody even knows what in the devil a “forensic real estate consultant” is! If the truth doesn’t work for you, make it up!
Past associates talk about how you DON’T “play well with others”.  Oh, isn’t that  just what we need when it’s time to locate and break in a new City Manager. You’ve got to be kidding. RETAIN LINDA BIRD for all our sakes!
Here’s the UPTV link where you can watch both forums sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the U.P.-Fircrest Divsion of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce. All of the candidates have their say. Listen closely and critically. Our future depends on it!
And by the way, THANK YOU for caring enough to give a damn!
http://www.cityofup.com/UPTV/UPTV%20Online.asp

CityofUP_logo

 

 

 

OK. Enough already.  I hope you have a great weekend.  Saturday is supposed to be nice out there then it’s back to the REAL Northwest Fall weather. Hey!  I’m not griping.  After the Summer we just had, are you kidding? 

I don’t know what you are up to tomorrow but I’m heading for the big Chili Cook Off at Cabela’scook off in Lacey.  No, it’s not that I love eating chili THAT much (Well, actually I do.) but I really enjoy cooking and competing with other good chili cooks and the CASI (Chili Appreciation Society International) Yes, there IS such a thing. Anyway, the good CASI folks are staging the cook off to benefit the Boys and Girls clubs in the area and that’s good enough for me.  Cook good chili. Eat good chili. Raise funds for the kids.  I’m there!   If you’re interested. We’ll start serving at Noon.  Should be excellent eats!

Have a great weekend and please don’t put it off til it’s too late…VOTE!

Be well

   PAT MADDOCK     

 Coldwell Banker Bain

   3560 Bridgeport Way West,  University Place, WA 98466   (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

Who is this guy?

As a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place, Pat Maddock is the former President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS and a current Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission. But most importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953. Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran.

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voteIt certainly was worth being there!  The City Council Candidate’s Forum hosted this last week by the University Place-Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, that is. Somewhere close to 100 attended, not counting the eight participants on-stage who spoke up, one and all. I’m just glad it’s being broadcast on UPTV so more of our citizens can benefit from it.

Well, you can’t walk away from an evening like that without opinions. So, here is my take:
Position #5 Candidate Denise McCluskey– She may be one of the two extraordinarily intelligent people running for the council. It was nice to see Denice speak up and express her positions, loudly, clearly and lucidly. I can’t agree with them all but she’s a very sharp lady and it was good to see her speak up! If elected, she would not hurt our city.
Position #5 Candidate Rose Ehart – (Say it’s broke whether it is or not, if that’s the popular thing to do.  If you say it’s broke and you offer to deliver change, you’re the winner.) Well, Rose WILL be the winner next month and perhaps she will try to change what ain’t broke but that disruptive behavior can be a net loss not gain to the council. Rose is a sharp lady who obviously gives a damn and that’s great. She’ll be the winner in November. I hope she can be a constructive team member. If she can, we’ll all benefit.
 

Position #4 Incumbant Ken Grassi – If I’ve ever heard a candidate for public office speak from the heart this guy is it! Sincerity, from the moment he opens his mouth to the last thought he shares but that’s what you’ve seen from him on the council for years. Grassi sincerely works to represent his neighbors and make the city a better place and we can’t thank people like Ken enough. This week his thoughts were clear, honest, INFORMED and smart. Retain Ken Grassi!
Postition #4 Carl Mollnow– Sir, I didn’t stand up to run but you did. So, I owe you a sincere thank you and there you have it.  Now,  according to Mr. Mollnow, everything is broken. City government is staffed by liars and he has all the answers. Bombastic! And damned well in love with his own name. Sir, I would politely submit that a lesson to be learned is the skill to know when the crowd is laughing WITH you and when they are laughing AT you.
 

Position #3 – Incumbant Lorna Smith, pandering to the chamber members in the audience might SEEM to be the way to get votes but to stand by your convictions is a much, much better one. You HAVE convictions! You HAVE been the fly in the ointment for years on the council and frankly, I would submit that’s needed! Stick by your guns, Lady.  Tell us what you think.  It won’t always be in the majority but stirring up the waters can be a good thing. Especially when you do the research to be informed and you truly believe in what you do. That’s your game…stick to it!
Position #3 – Candidate Eric Chioniere,Very good “on his feet”. Excellent stage presence. The substance was rhetoric, a bit thin and repetitive. Eric COULD serve the city well. I have no doubt about that. However, anyone who wants to use the city job as a stepping stone to bigger things (State Legislature) doesn’t necessarily deserve to sit on the city council. Try this out for size – The U.P. City Council is important enough to be the end goal!
 

Position #1 Candidate Javier Figueroa– Calm, cool, collected… but that sells deodorant. Mr Figueroa spoke gently and with an ever-present smile and then what would come out was…well, my old Irish Father used to call it “malarkey”.  Sir, you are misinformed and that misinformation WILL do the city harm.
Position #1 – Incumbant Linda Bird,  Wow! She saw through the bull and called it! This lady has proven to us for a decade and a half that the city is in caring, intelligent hands and this week she showed the true backbone that a leader needs to have when confronted with a disservice to her people. Throughout the night, she was THEE most well informed individual on stage, conceptually, statistically, programmatically and after demonstrating that over and over again, she took a stance that “malarkey”, exaggeration and misinformation was not welcome in University Place government. As they say, “You go girl”!

It was a good night for University Place. Some races became very, very clear. If you were not there, do catch it on UPTV and as you watch, ask yourself a question, “If the Town Center really isn’t broken, why do I want to vote for this person?” I’m not kidding. If the Town Center is as on-track as it can be in this crappy economy, then why do I want to vote for this candidate? Remember that the library was planning new digs anyway. Remember that Stortini’s was planning to move anyway. And as Linda Bird did at the forum, let’s make sure this record is straight, the land on which the current city offices sit IS more valuable than 2nd and 3rd story office space in the new civic building. So, we SHOULD move the city offices and sell off the Windmill Village space to commercial development.

The EASY way out is to chant, “The city is broken because Town Center isn’t done!” Oh, give it a break and stop listening to the nay sayers. Do your research and find out what has really gone on there and why. Find out what IS really going on there and why and if you don’t, then to vote for those who insist we must change the city council because the Town Center isn’t finished, well… Oh, I know what word to use … MALARKEY!

libraryHave you heard what’s going on at the Library?  Well, it may be a good thing but it’s got me riled a bit.  If a Pierce County Library patron racks up some $700 in late fees and the library wants to establish an amnesty week so they can get all of those books back, I suppose that’s one way of making it happen. 

How about this other way. Call the cops! 

cuffsThat wonderful library patron, shown smiling on the front page of the Saturday  Tribune deserves a back seat ride to the pokie!  That’s right. Arrest her.  It’s called THEFT! 

I have a library card and I know that allows me to take out a book FOR A PERIOD OF TIME.  Well, why can’t I just keep it for as long as I want, like” Little Miss $700 Fine”, there?  Because somebody else has an equal right to that book and I’m keeping it from them. That’s why.  Yes, my taxes paid, in part, for that book to be on the shelf at the library but….Hey, wait a minute!  That’s right.  It belongs on the Library shelf not mine. If I can’t play by the rules…take me for a ride and by the way, take my card away from me, too! 

Forgive the fines? No way.  You’re a government entity. Put a lien on their house!  Yes, yes, yes I know. They’re just public library books but guess what?  YOU are that public.  They are YOUR  books.  Would you like to check them out so you or your youngsters can read the books you paid for?  Nope. You can’t.  ‘Cause Little Miss $700….oh, you’ve got the picture.

CPR Instruction, Sat 10/17, 9 am to 5 pm.  Advanced registrationCPR and payment is required.  564-1623 for more info.  Hey, don’t put it off. If they don’t have enough students registered in advance, they’ll cancel.  The next class at the Fire Department doesn’t happen until December 19th.

 

REAL ESTATE SALE OF THE DAY: In an effort to help you keep tabs on this continually changing real estate market in University Place here’s another recently sold U.P. home with details from public information. SOLD:  2542 Locust Ave W.  When this home first appeared on the market, I remember saying, “Oh, that baby is SOLD!”  Why?  Was it under priced, the deal of the decade?  Nope.  It had less than 2,000 finished square feet but was listed at morrison$329,500….not underpriced.  Was it the superb location?  Well, yes in that it’s in University Place, the city and the school district but the location?  Well, no. It’s in what we often refer to as “Old U.P.”  Off 25th and Locust.  That’s a fine neighborhood but by no means the most sought after part of U.P.  So, why did I consider it a home that would pop immediately?  Eye candy, baby, eye candy!  From one end to the other, the interior was loaded with beautiful hardwoods, floors, cabinetry, millwork and more…it was all so rich and warm.  Now let me set the record straight.  I called them hardwoods but they aren’t.  Most readers wouldn’t understand if I said they were beautiful softwoods.  Simply put, the home is loaded with vertical grain Fir.  Fir is a softwood unlike Oak, a hardwood.  Is it appropriate for these uses>  Oh, heck yes.  Many of the century old homes in town have hardwood flooring on the main floors but fir upstairs and (where it hasn’t been painted over) it still looks great.  This home is a piece of classic 1910 architecture with a remodeled interior that shouts 2000!  It shines.  I don’t mean to be demeaning when I say “eye candy”.  I simply am referring to the myriad of wonderful finishings and appointments that can make a home’s interior so pleasing to the eye.  This one has it, in spades!  So, the list price of $329,500 brought a $318,000 deal in just eleven days.  Honestly, I would have held out for more. THAT’S how fantastic this home looks!  And if I teach nothing else today about real estate reality…looks can make all the difference!

In last week’s blog I talked about a market analysis in this edition but the candidate’s forum ate up all my time and space.  It certainly was worth it.  We WILL do that market update and let’s look for that at the end of this week…OK?

Looks like the weather is about to warm back up again.  Get out and enjoy while you still can.  Be well…

PAT MADDOCK   Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS              3560 Bridgeport Way West,  University Place, WA 98466                (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

Who is this guy?

As a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place, Pat Maddock is the former President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS and a current Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission. But most importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953. Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran.

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