Luxury lofts downtown not for students

Owners of expensive rentals specifically target professors, city people

ANNA YOUNG, Evergreen reporter

I’ll admit I’m extremely skeptical when it comes to housing prices in Washington. Maybe it’s because I’m from Montana, where everything is cheap, and if I want to buy a $1 Snickers bar at a Conoco, it will actually be $1. Washington prices baffle me more than a sliding glass door baffles a running dog.

But still, there are a few apartments I saw while browsing Craigslist that blew my mind. $1,365 for a top floor unit at the Armory Apartments? DABCO’s downtown luxury lofts? They stuck out in a long scroll of affordable housing in the $300 – $600-per-month price range.

To be fair, the pictures showed some dang nice apartments. I didn’t doubt they were some sick living quarters. My confusion was … why here? I mean, this is Pullman, not Chicago or Manhattan. Your main demographic is college kids. I don’t even need to explain the budget discrepancies there.

So who is their target audience? I had to know. I called DABCO Property Management first and spoke to manager Tracie Brelsford. And I must say, I was enlightened.

“Our luxury lofts capture a market of professors and professionals,” Brelsford said. “Most of the folks who have been there have taught at the university or are grad students.”

Brelsford added the apartments have some quality amenities. The appliances are stainless steel, and the countertops? Granite. That’s the kind of high-living you don’t get in a dinky dorm where the communal toaster is, in short, selectively functional, and keeps disappearing under suspicious circumstances.

The Armory Apartments, owned by Kolde Properties, share similar amenities to the DABCO lofts and therefore a similar audience. CEO Judy Kolde explained she bought the old National Guard building primarily for her hot yoga studio, but saw potential in the unused space.

“Let’s just say you come here as a faculty member moving from Brooklyn,” Kolde said. “They’ll look for something like they’re used to. We want to attract good professors and coaches. If you build it, they will come.”

As well as stainless steel and granite features, the Armory’s authentic hardwood floors attest to the building’s 1936 construction. And you get a complimentary membership with Kolde’s Sanctuary Yoga, Barre & Dance studio downstairs.

“I was about investing in Pullman and the aesthetics of the town,” Kolde said. “We didn’t have an abundance of options for [non-college students].”

Well shoot, you got me there. I have my options, my cheap short-term apartments and dorm rooms. Plus, if I spent less money on bargain hardbacks up at the Bookie, I could probably afford a nicer apartment too. That being said, why should I give up my penchant for pretending to read while really being on my phone?

The conclusion here is that high-end apartments are not for me and my peers. I can’t even afford the cheapest housing on campus without the help of my trusty loans. And like I said, I don’t know anything about Washington pricing. The day I stop getting surprised by the sales tax is the day I can consider renting a luxury loft.