As a five-year (and current) resident of the Carlyle, I have to say that convenience alone is maybe not enough of a compelling reason to live some place like this.
The Carlyle is a fading property with low appraised and low market values. It's buildings conceal a myriad of problems, such as the close proximity of the neighbors' plumbing, a situation which has resulted in leakage that has caused us to tear up and replace a wood floor that we paid to have installed TWICE in the five years. The Homeowner's Association of the Carlyle, like many homeowners' associations, is people by folks who, it appears, try hard to compensate for their lack of self-importance by serving in this position that they seem to think elevates them above their neighbors. The Board has as much as admitted in the past that their main concern is with property values and our rapidly-escalating association dues - now well over $300 a month - are used primarily on ""street appeal"" projects like near-constant landscaping and yard maintenance, driveway paving, and repainting, while letting things like reassigning properly-placed handicapped parking spaces or clearing sidewalks during this winter's ice storms go unaddressed. I wound up shoveling out several of my elderly female neighbors with my tiny camp shovel so they could manage to get to the grocery store and doctor's office, while the Condo Board did a complete no-show.
We are a wheelchair household and applied, back around New Year's, for permission to install a sliding glass door in our bedroom, as our ONLY exit from the apartment in case of fire is the front door - which is located on the other side of our kitchen, the source-point of 60% of all fatal American household fires. Our only current means of getting my partner, Judye, out of the unit in a fire is either to douse us both in a wet blanket and try to run through the flames or for me to throw a 57-year-old women with a spinal cord injury through a window four feet off the floor. The amount of static, obfuscation and delay - not to mention character assassination - we've received from the Board is truly stunning, culminating in an ""agreement"" they've sent us spelling out the ways in which we may and may not use the door and requiring us to replace the window in the event that we sell the unit - a fairly transparent attempt to make the project too expensive for us to undertake.
The much-vaunted ""convenience"" is, in practical terms, completely undercut by the petty and tedious demands of the Board placed on tenants in the name of the CC&Rs. They spell out what and how many can be on a patio, what can be in windows, how long a second vehicle can be parked in any one space, and dozens of other silly rules and taboos that reasonable people would simply strike from the rule book as intrusive.
We, like everybody else, have been slapped flat by the collapsed real estate market. We tried to sell and get out of this mess - which we bought only because it was close to my Significant Other's physicians after her accident - but were unable to get so much as one offer. There's one solid reason for this which does NOT involve the heinous Board or fading condition of the place: It's not new. We heard this from at least a dozen realtors. people moving to Bellevue want New Construction and they will take a place like the carlyle ONLY as a desperate last resort.
I cannot recommend the Carlyle as either an investment or as a place to live. Quality of life is a very minor consideration here. It's all about the investment, for our Powers That Be. NOTHING else matters.
Pros: Convenient to Downtown Bellevue
Cons: Heinous Homeowner's Association