Category: University Place 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

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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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Boy! It’s been awhile and I’m glad to “be back”. I hope you are having a great new year in this 2010 and why not? I mean, yes, there’s rampant unemployment and bills need to be paid and businesses are not reaching their goals and schools need to be funded and the state has no idea where they will actually find sufficient sources of what they perceive to be necessary funding and our own city council is in crumbling disarray and… Whew! I’m starting to bring MYSELF down. Sorry. I’ll get off that. But why?

For a very good reason. Positive begats positive. Negative begats negative. That is to say that life proves to us over and over again that the more positive our attitude and actions are the more positive our experiences and outcomes will be. It’s just an undeniable fact of life.

In recovering from my open heart surgery, (exactly four years ago this week), I was one bitter son-of a gun and I let that linger for much too long of a  time. How did I expect to have positive things and positive people around me if I didn’t seem to have a positive bone in my body? The more positive I try to be, the more focused I am on BUILDING for the future, not tearing down but BUILDING….that’s a purely positive action…the more of that I exhibit, honestly, the more positive things flow my way and you know what, I love it!  And surprise – I get twice as much accomplished!

I could dwell on that topic for a month of Sundays but that’s not what you “tune in” here for, now is it?  So, what’s UP in U.P?

Hey. I got a postcard from a friend of mine who’s in the south sea islands on his well-deserved annual vacation!  He was around here about a month ago.  Thought you might agree…he deserves this.

Speaking of hard work, we’ve got a staff over there at the city that’s scrambling like a dozen eggs, doing more with less. That’s for sure. After the end of year staff cuts, staff members still have a bit of a hard time explaining all the hats they are wearing simultaneously. The harsh part of that were those who were let go. It’s the economic times we are in. I understand that. The only thing to do now, is to support the people who are here to support us. Those who are juggling jobs like a circus entertainer need to be given the rights that go along with the responsibilities. We’ve given them a lot to do. Now, we need to let them do it or they are absolutely bound to fail, with micromanagement, interference, etc. I hate to sound boring but treat them Positively and the quality of people we have in this city will care well for us and our neighborhoods.

Set them up to succeed.  Don’t harass them toward failure!

Mommy/Daddy and Me starts their Kids Love Soccer program Monday 1/25 for the 2-3.5 year olds.  Want to know more?  Hit the city website at www.ci.university-place.wa.us   While you are there, watch for info on the other YOUTH SOCCER programs for the various age groups.

Did you read the “big news” in the Tribune about the development at the Chambers Bay golf course?  Well, before you conclude that they are about to break ground on a hotel and everything else, understand that there’s no money on the table, yet and without it, it’s talk.  The developer happens to be an old friend of mine and actually a damned fine person (who I used to fight with constantly as kids…but that’s a different story….he really is a good guy).  But we do need to understand that if development of the nature being proposed does not have all the major glitches worked out and if it isn’t funded and ready to break ground aggressively within  about the next year or so, it’s not going to happen.  A committment has been made by our county to the USGA that Chambers Bay WILL be ready to host the U.S. Open in 2015 and if a development of this nature is not completed, well, let’s just say that a construction site is NOT where the USGA will host their tournament.  They always have an alternate site ready.  So, it’s either time to put up, strike the full agreement and break ground or go find another project.  All I’m saying is they’ve got to get a move on.  That’s the developer’s responsibility.  Commercial development monies are tight (Oh, THAT’S the understatement of this year!) as evidenced by the pace at Town Center but investment monies ARE there.  If the project is right and there is sales job extraordinaire being conducted…the $$$ will flow.

Since former Pierce County Exec, John Ladenberg first made it known that he wanted to see the course sited there, I always thought view residences could fund a lot of good things on site.  That is to say, the sale of impeccable view lots for multi-million dollar homes which would not be in the way of anything planned or in place today, could produce revenue to fund the building of a number of the other amenities you want in a destination resort such as Chambers Bay COULD become.  The developer  with a memo on the table, Jim Burkhouse, is a smart and successful guy.  If there’s a way to do it in this economy, he’ll figure it out.  The county would love to see it but it CANNOT get in the way of preparations for or the hosting of the US Open just five short years from now.  So, I suspect it’s an Elvis deal.  “It’s now or never”.

What else is up in UP?  I hate to sound like a broken record but if you’ve got somebody at your house interested in ballet, Polynesian dance, guitar or so many other instructional options, check out the city website.  Some are underway but many have more sessions starting shortly.  www.ci.university-place.wa.us

And for the not-so-young youngsters around here, the AARP Driver Safety course is set for Wednesday and Thursday 1/27 & 28 at the Senior Community Center on Grandview. Call 564-1992 to complete the required pre-registration.

Hey, by the way, let’s thank those folks, offices and companies who stood up to foot the bill to sponsor our Youth Basketball Coed League.  When you see the folks associated with these sponsors, please take the time to express your THANKS.  Sponsors make it possible for our kids to have this experience!  AHBL, Mercedes Nepute LMP, the Law Office of Clayton R. Dickson, Way Out Records, the UP Volunteer Center, Tacoma Bike LLC, Westside Community Bank, Owens Press Inc, the Pain Clinic, Alarm Works NW and Team Insurance. When city funds are tight, WE ARE THE CITY!!!  Isn’t it time for us to step up and make sure the programs which make this such a desireable place to live are maintained?

Sponsored youth athletics IS possible, isn’t it?  We can’t quite now, though.  We’ve really got to ratchet it up for the upcoming sports seasons.  Just think how many youngsters play softball and baseball. 460-2530 is the number to call at Parks and Rec to find out how you or your company can be a sponsor for U.P. Youth Athletics.  It’s important!

There’s so much more going on around University Place these day and we’ll get back to it all but before I close out with an updated look at U.P. real estate allow me to finish with just one simple thought.  If you never support any taxation levy ever again in your voting life, support the current request for University Place Schools.  There are those who say “Now is not the time, not in this economy.”  While I put off things I would like to buy right now for my wife and myself, I cannot put off funding for our school system. Yeah, sure my kids are all grown and long out of school.  That’s not the point and I take issue with ANY senior who says, “Don’t tax me. It’s somebody else’s turn.”  Well, you know what?  When we were putting our kids through school, we needed the support of the seniors who already had and you know that’s the truth!  It’s our turn to step up and support what those youngsters need, what our school district needs to remain one of the best in the state.  By the way, if you want to negatively affect the value of your home and property, just stop supporting our schools.  They backslide and so does your home’s value!  Undeniable Fact!  See that old black and white photo of Mr. George Curtis and friends in front of the old original U.P. Elementary School? (Yes, yes I did.)  Do you see what the sign said?   And now,  U.P. schools still need our support.  U.P. kids DESERVE it!

So, what has the U.P. real estate market been up to lately?   (Shhhhh Do you hear that quiet?)  It might be an overstatement to say you could hear a pin drop but it’s been very, very quiet.  In fact, since the day after Christmas there have only been seven U.P. residential sales close.  That included one condo.  Seven!   I have closed seven in one day…No, I haven’t. Five is my record but seven is very, very slow for a city of our size, especially for a period of nearly a month.  Two factors are to be kept in mind. Yes, the obvious…we’re in the heart of a very slow market but on top of that is the reoccurring factor of “Seasons”.  This is NOT the season for big sales in residential real estate.  We are approaching a traditionally stronger period but January is just a slow month and that’s ALWAYS a fact.  Now, couple that with the down market we are in and you get the picture.  Is that to say U.P. homes won’t sell now?  No, not at all. In fact, I’m listing a VERY marketable U.P. home next week and I promise you, it’s going to sell!  It’s a great 5-bedroom, beautifully remodelled home with a fantastic fenced yard, ringed by evergreens and … I’ll tell you all about it when I put it on the market.  In the meanwhile, WHAT’S SELLING?

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.  (In fact, to catch up, here are several)  SOLD7607 Chambers Creek Road West.  It started at $497,500 and after  dropping the list price to $449,950, they sold it for $412,000 in a mere 753 days….WHAT?!?  That’s over two years!  Yep, it is.  But that includes a period of time when they were offering a developement as part of the listing.  Overcomplicated deals aren’t going together right now. Those monies are hard to find.  Simple, well priced home deals work.     SOLD:  4108 Brouse Blvd West in the Heitman Addition near Curtis.  They listed it for $229,900 and sold it 53 days later for $225,000.  Another rambler, this one from 1963 offering 1,447 square feet including 3 beds and 1.5 baths. This home had some remodelling inside with Corian counters, cherry cabinetry, vinyl windows and hardwood floors and even as small as it is, it was relatively desireable and the price was right on.  So, it didn’t linger on the market as so very many are, here today.  The house on Sunset (above) sold in 247 days.  SOLD:  8314 63rd St St West. Now here was an owner-occupied home that was neither a Short Sale nor a bank owned property.  Oh, the market is just loaded with those at the moment and WILL be for some time to come.  Here was a home in comparatively excellent condition and it was originally listed for $395,000 but it was dropped to $330,000.  Why?  Because those cut rate deals on the bank owned and short sale properties effect EVERY home on the market.  In 91 days they took $335,000 for this 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2,125 square foot home built in 1990 in the Danbridge community above Chambers Creek Road.  It’s only fair to add that they pay $157 per month in homeowner’s dues, there.  When you are looking at value and monthly payments, you’ve really got to look at the whole picture and those association dues are a legitimate part of that.  SOLD: 2019 Sunset Drive West.   Listed at $315,000 then eventually dropped all the way down  to $249,000 then sold for $245,000.  It was a bank owned 1954 rambler with 3 beds and 1.75 baths on a third of an acre with a 2-car garage. 2,644 square feet.  It closed on 12/30.  It took 434 days for this house to finally sell and close. Oh they had earlier sales…FOUR OF THEM!  None of them got past the inspection phase.  Think there was a problem with this house?  Oh, just maybe?

 

PAT MADDOCK     

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

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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!

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   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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