Monday, March 27, 2006

Bubblicious Bench & Flippers

The bubblicious bench was photographed on Sunday, March 26, 2006. It is now a receptacle for flippers' key lockboxes. These flippers / investors are trying to sell their respective units in the building. Each lockbox represents a condo unit that is for sale or for rent. The condo project is called Halstead at Dunn Loring. It is located in Northern Virginia (Washington, DC suburbs). The iron bench is located on the west side of the condo building. There are about 220 units in this condo building. Across the street, Merrilee Dr, there is the second phase of this condo complex being built. The building is located at 2655 Prosperity Avenue, Fairfax, VA.

There are 47 lockboxes on this bench.
[The image can be freely copied to other sites as long as credit is given to this blog. Click on image for larger version].

12 on the north arm & leg
18 In the middle section
17 on south arm & leg

Number of lockboxes on this bench:
2/5/06: 26
3/18/06: 44
3/25/06: 47

This most bubblicious site was found by one of Bubble Meter's citizen-reporters who emailed me. It is an incredible picture.


  1. I agree with mjrmajor that something seems wrong with making a public bench unusable. Someone should call the county government about it. The government should cut off every single one of those lockboxes and fine the agents who put them there.

  2. Has mankind not yet figured out how how to "lockbox" a condo?

    Why don't other condos have this problem?

  3. Hmm... I talked with a realtor yesterday that told me all the speculators have left the market. He also said builders are limiting investor purchases to less than 10% of total purchases. The scary thing about his B.S. is he seemed to believe it.

  4. I think it is kind of a fun and quirky way to solve the problem.

    I also think it is kind of scary/sad that the first response to a fun posting like this is that the authorities should be notified.

    I am sure the thought police are on the way

  5. my friend bought in the second Halstead building that hasn't even opened yet for occupancy. they're gonna need more than one bench for the lock boxes from that one. the website says they start in the 190s, i haven't seen a starting # that low in years! but alas still not worth it for a studio.

  6. Haha! It's just too poetic that there are balloons floating in the background. This is a prophetic picture. It appears that the "Bubblicious Bench" is fast becoming a mecca of sorts for the bubbleheads. I say let the lockboxes remain.

    I can't wait until Phase 2 is done! Perhaps we should start an iron-bench renting business...or an open house valet service, where we have a key box with keys for each unit...

  7. Oh! And mjrmajor, your concerns are certainly valid, and I would completely agree, if the sidewalk ever had any actual pedestrians walking along there, needing a rest. The only people I have seen walking there are the distraught, depressed owners as they walk into their vacant warehouse of condos, and the construction guys getting barked at to finish the building and release the units on time (so that the flippers are left holding the bag). As has been alluded to in the past, the Halstead is in a Sub sub prime neighborhood for walking, and it is highly unlikely that an elderly person would have any reason to walk to/from the garden center, taco bell, or 7-11. Again, I truly appreciate the spirit of your post, but there are so few amenities nearby, I doubt it will be a problem. I think the bench's current role serves as a much more noble "public purpose" than it would as a bench...

  8. Watch out for the machete's from MS13

  9. "Haha! It's just too poetic that there are balloons floating in the background. This is a prophetic picture. It appears that the "Bubblicious Bench" is fast becoming a mecca of sorts for the bubbleheads. I say let the lockboxes remain. "

    We should hold a Bubblehead vigil there. LOL!

  10. some of them are For Sale By Owner (FSBO). I toured a 1br one that was FSBO. They wanted 350 for it.

  11. classic... that can be the golden cow of the real estate bubble.

    maybe it serves as a landmarked Mecca for real estate agents? Or a blarney stone?

    Maybe they turn toward it several times a day and pray for a buyer?

    Or do you see any bend over and kiss it before entering the building to show a unit?


  12. Quick! get out the St Joe's statues!!!

  13. This picture or a link to it was posted on the following sites:

    NyTime WalkThrough Blog
    ActiveTrade Blog
    Global Economic Analysis Blog
    The Housing Bubble in Washington DC
    Housing Panic Blog

  14. I can't wait for that to happen at Metro West.

  15. I live in the Merrifield area and saw how the condos were built. These condos mentioned were not built with concrete floors or steel beams. These were stick-built with bricks and stucco on the outside. The only cement floor is between the first level and the underground parking levels. Although there probably are sprinklers, a fire would severely damage the condo building. The wooden floors probably provide much less noise insulation between the floors than concrete ones. Having seen the construction of these, I'd would not buy any at any time, unless I get get rid of them fast for a profit.

  16. At April 05, 2006 1:18 PM, Anonymous said...
    I live in the Merrifield area and saw how the condos were built. These condos mentioned were not built with concrete floors or steel beams.

    Perhaps you don't know general building codes, but these condo's are not sticks and stone. Maybe you were seeing another building next to Dunn Loring Metro, but I can assure you that there is concrete between each floor.

  17. the bench was more than likely put in by the builder...the management company made the agents put the lockboxes somewhere else, besides the condo doors themselves...not the most aesthetically pleasing sight while you are walking up and down the halls.....

  18. Today (4/20) I strolled by this area and decided to take a picture for myself. I counted and there were 45 lockboxes on the bench today. I see there were 47 the last time someone counted...perhaps 2 investors were smart and took the first offers they got. I also saw some investor schmuck escorting a young and naive couple around the building. They walked past the bench and the couple didn't say anything...not even "What is all this?"

  19. Why live in Dunn Loring? It's a suburban traffic hell.

  20. "but I can assure you that there is concrete between each floor"

    Really?!! Hope you're joking. Building codes probably allows stick-built condos with sprinklers. However, unless I'm completely blind, I have not seen any concrete flooring between the 1st floor and 2nd, 2nd and 3rd, etc. There is concrete flooring between 1st floor and garage level. I live within 7 minutes walk from there and I've seen many projects from start to finish.

  21. Having stumbled on this site, I gotta say, there are a lot of haters out there. I live at the Halstead and yeah, the bench is annoying. Especially when it makes the front page of the Post! But I like living here. It's clean, quiet, the amenities are awesome and the Metro 30 seconds away is huge. Sure, the flipping sucks and it will decrease values over the next 1-2 years. But you'd be surprised by the continued interest in the place. People are still buying (several contracts closed over the past 10 days) because it's still a good place to live. Especially if gas prices keep rising. Gallows Rd sucks during rush hour, but name a road in NoVA that doesn't. I think a lot of people that didn't buy anything over the past couple of years are spewing a lot of bitterness at "missing the boat." The next 6 months is exactly the time to buy this place because you'll be getting great value as these loser flippers bail out and beat down the prices.

  22. this development is an aberration. the sales contract didn't have a stipulation to ward off flippers, so all the investors in the area flocked to it. most other condo developments around the area have 1-year clauses requiring residency. when the flippers all shake out, the prices will stabilize. that's not to say the market isn't cooling. for sure it is, but this bench is by no means indicative of the whole area.

  23. Hahahaha. Suckers! I hope they get what they deserve. So much for the "greed is good" mentality.

  24. Well is all about supply and demand. Right now if you are a seller you are at the mercy of the buyers and as a buyer you set the stage.

  25. Anti-investor clauses may or may not be enforceable. They have not been tested in VA. Depending on the wording, judges may or may not grant damage claims.

    If you don't need Metro or work in Tysons (which is a pretty large population), it is a marginal area. Services are decent, with a big Giant down the street and a few decnt restaurants, but most people associate the intersection of Lee Hwy. and Gallows with this area -- not very attractive.

    Halstead is better than other projects in the area, particularly the conversion projects where construction defects are visible. I can't remember how this was built, but generally a concrete floor is only required between the garage and the residential floors or between changes of use. Sprinklers are more surprising than many would think, and a fire is likely to be contained.

    The condo docs should have info on the noise transmission. Conversion projects tend to have less wall and floor insulation than purpose built projects.

  26. Sprinklers may be effective in controlling fires. However, water damage would be done to the stick-built portions of the condo when sprinklers are used or an accidental water leakage occurs. Further, termites can be a problem in the future. The point is that builders take the profit and run while owners get stuck with an inferior structures and huge mortages.