Even when places like Vegas, Phoenix and Miami were tanking, real-estate values in the Pacific Northwest always held up-until now. We haven't hit bottom, like Sacramento or Detroit, but even our rock-solid 'hoods, such as Somerset and Queen Anne, have seen a price dip. Condo owners are probably doing slightly better, but they still have to deal with rotting siding that was applied only three years ago.
Fear not! With the aid of local real-estate agents, neighborhood associations and brand marketers, we've come up with new improvements and slogans that are sure to turn those "For Sale" signs into firewood.
Greenlake: It's delightful to have a charming, algae-laden lake within walking distance, but wouldn't it be even better if someone came along to scoop the poop? So much goose poop, duck pellets and dog crap now litter the path, the Greenlake Neighborhood Association should hire dozens of Pooper Scoopers to accompany runners, bladers or walkers at a moment's notice. Slogan: "Goose-Poop Free Since 2009."
Fremont: Known for its bohemian residents and hippy-dippy, leftist sculptures, the Artists' Republic should drop the "Artists" portion of their name to bring a more affluent audience, and simply go as "Fremont Republic." The Aurora Bridge Troll could receive a beard trim, the shabbily-dressed figures in "Waiting for the Interurban" could get a fashion makeover by Nordstrom and the Lenin statue could be downsized (i.e., recycled). Slogan: "We're Moving to the Middle."
West Seattle: For the last decade, the idea was to move the blue hairs out and the yuppies in to North Admiral, The Junction and Alki. Now that the bottom has fallen out, it's time to cater once again to the geriatric crowd. In an effort to ring in the old, the West Seattle Chamber can install oxygen tanks and electroshock paddles on every telephone pole. Slogan: "Gentrification is Gone, Baby, Gone."
Belltown: In this area, realtors tend to emphasize the happenin' bars, artist lofts and boutique shops around every corner. What they don't like to advertise is the smell of human urine on Friday and Saturday nights. The condo associations should pool their resources to purchase sidewalk steam-cleaners to suck up undesirable leavings from the inebriated bar crowd, leaving the pavement fresh as a daisy and the bar owners' pockets well lined. Slogan: "Where the Streets are (No Longer) Paved with Gold."
Central District: In the 1960s, more than 90 percent of Seattle's black residents lived in the "CD." Today, the diverse mix of ethnicities has broadened to include Ethiopian immigrants, Asian and European newcomers, and white middle-class residents. With a new emphasis on this international smorgasbord, the old CD could attract more residents with a fresh nickname to reflect a more modern outlook. Slogan: "DVD: District Via Development"; alternate slogan: "BlueRayCharlesLivedHere."
Georgetown: Sometimes the best marketing strategy is to embrace the past. For the perennially up-and-coming Georgetown, that means returning to the '60s--the 1860s, that is. That's when John Pinnell opened the Seattle Race Course. By 1884, Georgetown was home to the Claussen-Sweeney Brewing Co., the forerunner of the iconic Rainier Brewery. To increase G-Town's sex appeal, real estate agents may do well by encouraging locals to return to the 19th-century days of 24/7 gambling and wild saloons. Slogan: "Roll the Dice and Bottoms Up!"