Are Reports Of The Demise Of Burien’s Town Square True? Take Our Poll
Borrowing a phrase from Mark Twain, reports of the demise of Burien’s Town Square condominiums, which opened for occupancy in June, are vastly exaggerated.
So declares Dan Rosenfeld, principal of Urban Partners, developer of the privately owned condo and retail complex in Town Square at the corner of SW 152nd Street and Sixth Ave SW.
“We are holding on,” Rosenfeld said this week, responding to a rumor that Urban Partners is barely hanging on. “We are very proud of the quality of our project and the effect that it’s having on the revitalization of downtown Burien.”
Together with the public part of the Town Square project, he added, which includes the new King County Library/City Hall building and a downtown park.
“We couldn’t have built a better project,” Rosenfeld continued. “We did this in a very challenging market. We are working buyer by buyer on closing sales. We are making progress. In the long run, I think we will be very successful.”
The Town Square complex includes a mix of one- and two-bedroom condos, two-story Homes on the Park, and live/work lofts. There is 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail space in addition to 122 condos.
None of the retail space has been leased to date. And, said Burien economic development manager Dick Loman, five of the condos have been sold and closed to date, according to the most recent number provided him.
“They’re selling slow for reasons we all understand,” Loman said. “No development company is making money today but they have the resources to hang on.”
Rosenfeld underscored Loman’s assessment, stating that Urban Partners plans “to stay the course – literally 20 potential buyers are having trouble selling their (existing) homes. Everything’s difficult. That is not a reflection on what we have (at Town Square). Quite the contrary. We’ve received many compliments on the project.”
Underwriting standards have been tightened as lending markets adjust to new criteria, he noted. Urban Partners is “fine tuning our lending program and our marketing activities in response to changing circumstances in the capital markets. We are constantly trying to find ways to do it better.”
Burien City Councilman Gordon Shaw quashed another rumor, which suggested Urban Partners was considering renting some of the condos as apartments. The developer is prevented from doing that in their agreement with the city, which states they must be”for sale” units, he said.
But, Shaw said, “It’s concerning to me that more of the residences have not been sold and closed. I’m also distressed about no retail leases – I just don’t know how (Urban Partners) can weather this storm.”
As a councilman, he continued, “I’m just sitting here holding my breath. Urban Partners is telling us nothing about their financial condition.”
For his part, Rosenfeld says they still hope to build the other two condo/retail complexes long-planned for Town Square, “but we have to sell the first phase first. The mortgage markets are challenging, the appraisal markets are challenging. The good news is, there are real signs that a turnaround in housing markets is beginning to appear. Things are edging upwards.”
So…what do YOU think will happen to Burien’s shiny new Town Square? Please take our poll, or leave a Comment below…