Fifty Shades of Grey, the much anticipated adaptation of E.L. James novel of the same name, is hot in more ways than one and it is all the more apparent to the owner of the Seattle highrise used in the story. Real estate broker Erik Mehr has been swamped with calls ever since the book took the world by storm in 2012.
Even though billionaire Christian Grey is a fictional character, the apartment building in which he lives and plays in Fifty Shades of Grey is very real. It’s called Escala and James’ novel has made it extremely popular.
According to Mehr’s firm, the overwhelming majority of callers are women (no surprise there), between the ages of 19 and 50. And what is the theme with all these callers? They want to spend the night in the famous penthouse or at least come inside and look around and maybe take a selfie.
In an interview with CNN Money, Mehr said:
“Our silly phone calls have spiked again where people want to rent the room. I don’t think they realize that this is a condominium building that residents live in and there is no red room.”
Fifty Shades of Grey British author, E.L. James, heard about Escala and incorporated it into her story, but took some colorful liberties. For example, the building does not have the fancy helicopter landing depicted in the movie.
Security has increased greatly ever since the novel came out in 2012, because of fans visiting Seattle converting it into a tourist attraction of sorts, in order to get close to the famous penthouse. However, the most expensive apartment in Escala does not have a red room and was bought by a family from Oregon for $6.3 million in 2013.
Residents of the building have had to deal with unwanted attention, however there have also been perks. E.L. James gave them a private book signing and the Fifty Shades of Grey film crew got authorization to shoot exterior footage of the building, which will most likely make it in the movie.
However, these are not the most important benefits for residents of the upscale Escala. Ever since the Fifty Shades of Grey novel came out, the value of the apartments have gone through the roof, even with the bad economy. On average, in Seattle, the median sales price for a Seattle condo has risen 10 percent, since 2012. For Escala the median sales price has increased by 75 percent in the same period — and 62 percent since 2012 — according to real estate website Zillow.
Despite all signs to the contrary, Mehr doesn’t believe the success of Fifty Shades of Grey has much to do with the increase in value at Escala:
“Most of the unit owners are like you may expect — they’re business people or a bit older, so the book wasn’t on their radar. For the most part, they would rather downplay where they live.”
Who says that business people don’t read mommy porn such as Fifty Shades of Grey? After all they travel a lot and spend hours on planes.
[Image via Entertainment Weekly]