Housing Caters to the Geek-Chic

In the Seattle area, otherwise known as Silicon Valley Northwest, housing the high tech boomers has always been a challenge, not just because of pricy real estate but because of long, crowded commutes. The average drive to work in the area, according to the 2000 census, was 26.5 minutes, though many a local resident logs a lot more time on the tarmac than that.

The answer? Live/work spaces that cater to the wired crowd. Brighton on Park in Issaquah Highlands offers sixteen 1,995 to 2,100 square feet town homes, starting at $575,000 and all prepped for telecommuting with CAT5 cabling throughout (something to do with a really good signal, I think). They contain specially designed home offices with their own entrances, toilets and space for an office sign. The project is Energy Star and Built Green-certified (that’s their local green building system).

Clearly, they’re targeting the young and geek-chic. Their website details life at Brighton Park: pick up some goodies at the nearby Highlands' High Street retail; get your espresso fix at the local café (not a Starbucks); then “head over to Central Park to meet up with friends for some Ultimate Frisbee.” I have never seen Ultimate Frisbee player as a demographic group before. They must have all gotten computer science degrees since last I encountered them.

The digs aren’t bad either—Brazilian cherry and limestone, a little stainless steel. They aren’t the greenest of materials, of course, but inhabitants make up for it by keeping their cars parked on site; many units have an attached two-car garage.