REPORT: Burien Town Square Facing Foreclosure

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The Seattle Times reports that Burien’s Town Square is facing foreclosure.

According to the report:

The firm that holds the note on the construction loan for Burien Town Square Condominium filed a legal notice late last month that it intends to foreclose on the property Oct. 29 unless developer Urban Partners comes up with $3.5 million by Sept. 1 to cover missed monthly payments and related charges.

We’ve been following the travails of Town Square’s financial difficulties probably closer than anyone (read our previous coverage here), and rest assured, we’re on this news like white on rice.

We’ll have our own full, in-depth report within the next few days.


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19 Responses to “REPORT: Burien Town Square Facing Foreclosure”
  1. Rainycity says:

    “We can be proud of what we did”.. *lol*

  2. Theresa says:

    I hate to say I told you so, but… This just goes to show you what colossal idiots we have running this town. The average citizen could have told you the time wasn’t right to start a project like this one.

  3. Johnny says:

    What a shame. And to think I thought Burien was going in the right direction. Yeah you can blame “the economy” but I think some people bit off more than they can chew…Good luck!

  4. TcB says:

    It’s not like their going to be torn down. This probably means that they will fill up sooner rather than later as a new owner will be anxious to get some sales and leases going.

  5. warrenb says:

    I like saying, ” I told You so “. But TcB is right. Now it will begin to sell, due to a reduction in prices. When the retail starts to find tenets, the residential will follow. I predicted a bankruptcy auction. We shall see.

  6. fuzz says:

    From what I have heard, the builder was locked in on the loan agreement and due to terms could not discount the sales to reflect current market conditions – they were locked in to sell at 2008 prices (like your really going to find buyers at this time for those prices!!!)

    I have also heard people who are eager to purchase units at today’s more realistic pricing so when this does foreclose, and a decent price gets placed on these untis – all you nay-sayers may need to rethink your story….

    That my opinion.

    • Rainycity says:

      Fuzz, why rethink our story exactly? Because they MIGHT be able to sell those units after what??? Going on 3 years?? Yeah, nay-sayers alright.. Realist is more like it my friend..
      And thats just the condos,, not to mention the shops,,,
      I remember going in the square and being told by a fairly good looking gal behind the counter selling those units MOST of the units were already sold, we only have a few left,,,,
      A few to many I guess she meant.
      But I just love Dan Rosenfelds statement.
      “We can be proud of what we did”
      And what was that again? oh yeah, made Burien the laughing stock of the economic society..

  7. warrenb says:

    Naysayers? We said it would blow up and prices would have to be slashed. That’s exactly what happened. I don’t think anyone was obtuse enough to think they wouldn’t eventually sell. Just not at Bellevue or Bell town prices. They got their B’s confused.

  8. TcB says:

    I get the feeling that a lot of you won’t be happy until Burien burns down. So get over it. Just calm down and let time continue to flow. They are built. They will sell. Who cares if it’s for somewhat less than originally planned. They’ll sell for between 100 and 200 G’s. I doubt any will sell for less than 100 and I think some people are hoping if they bad mouth it enough, they’ll get to snap them up for 50. So stop it.

  9. Chris says:

    I’m with TcB on this one. All you fools seem hell-bent on seeing Burien fail, and are gleefully celebrating these developments.

    Regarding price–I’M WITH YOU on that point. The prices–even three years ago–were WAY too high. I, and a whole slew of other long-time B-Town residents, were pretty-much like WTF-over, when we saw how high the prices were.

    The vision and the plan for the Town Square was (is) sound, and the methodology that the city leaders (with a tremendous amount of input from residents) was very thoughtful and executed well. Let’s not forget that the planning for this project was started about ten years ago. Had all the planners (private and public) had anticipated that the real estate market would’ve tanked as bad as it did, they probably would’ve put the project on hold. Well, the project started WELL before the economy took a turn.

    I’m hopeful that the remaining plan will be built-out at some point, and that Town Square can be all that it was planned to be.

  10. Ralph Nichols says:

    The comments posted here – with the exception of fuzz, TcB and Chris – range from dismaying to ill-informed. Yes, there are several reasons why people can be frustrated with the Town Square project, yet most if not all of these issues have previously been addressed and answered in stories posted at

    Nevertheless, with disclosure that I have been writing and editing stories on Town Square for 10 years, a few quick notes:

    * The public component of Town Square – the library/city hall building, the small grassy park, and the streets – was completed pretty much on time and all parts of it have been in use since June 2009.

    * The first private development – the condo/retail complex that’s the focus of this story and these comments – was also completed pretty much on time.

    * Which leads to my comment on this comment above: “This just goes to show you what colossal idiots we have running this town.” While I have had and still have differences with a handful of council actions, this certainly not one of them (except the condemnation of MealMakers Restaurant, which I still think was a mistake).

    * Had the council invested city dollars (i.e., taxpayer dollars) in the condo/retail project, yes, they would have been “colossal idiots” and now we, the local public, would be on the hook for an all-but-empty complex. But the council didn’t do that! They chose, wisely, to make Town Square a public/private project – with Urban Partners assuming responsibility for all financial investment, risk, and eventual profit or loss in its private-development components.

    * That remaining Town Square parcels sit undeveloped should be no surprise – it is the deep and far-reaching reality of the ongoing recession. Towns and cities both large and small in this and other countries have experienced similar holds on planned developments. So why ridicule Burien, local lawmakers, or Urban Partners? It is, as Mr. Spock would say, illogical.

    * It was no fault of Urban Partners whatsoever that its construction lender, Corus Bank, failed and was seized by the FDIC. That responsibility belongs to executives and managers of Corus. Yet Urban Partners – and all other developers who acquired loans in good faith from Corus – are now in limbo and/or targets of the foreclosure process. (They are on a large scale similar to renters in residential properties whose owners are foreclosed on.)

    * This, in turn, created something of an FDIC “iron curtain” around the investment firm that acquired a large share of the Corus construction loans, as well as a byzantine maze that Urban Partners has had to navigate to negotiate from afar for this Burien property that has been seized from it – again, through no fault of Urban Partners.

    (The ultimate blame rests with the Community Reinvestment Act and Fanny May and Freddy Mac that, in tandem, created an unsustainable housing market through mandated lending practices that were not based and secured on financial reality – and led to the collapse of the housing market and the financial meltdown that occurred less than 90 days after the Town Square condo/retail complex opened.)

    * As for the prices for both condos and retail space, so what if they were set too high when the construction loan was taken out? Free from current FDIC and lending restrictions, market realities would have driven down the prices and Urban Partners would have reacted accordingly. In fact, this is what Urban Partners has been trying to do – but the FDIC and its investor partner have not allowed them to do this.

    While Burien, as any city, is not without its faults and foibles, it is not doing badly at all. This is not cheerleading jargon; it is based on a reasonable assessment after covering various aspects of local government in cities large and small in four states over four decades. And while comments on Town Square by no means should be blind cheers themselves, it is useful to public dialog for them to be well thought out and based on fact.

  11. born in b town says:

    Interesting comments Ralph. I think what other nay-sayers are tryin to say is a-lot of us in the community were “drinking the punch”. Many thought (including city officials) thought that tearing down and creating a cookie cutter condo farm with retail space makes a city. This I believe is not true.

    The city was gaining tax revenue from former businesses, are they now getting the same tax revenue. I think not. Better planning on the city’s half would have yielded better results since they made contract and sold the land.

    No doubt they will sell and lease the spaces in time. It hurts this city to have land once in some kind of use sit vacant and a building 1/16 filled. I lived in Detroit for a time and this situation reminds me of urban blight of the worst kind.

    The economic situation is a correction that shows us 25 percent increse in land value is not sustainable or realistic. FDIC is actually the final catch all of this correction. Me I believe the blame belongs to greedy people Banks and investers. This city just followed there steps and went willing to go for the ride. One we are all going to pay for.

    • born in b town says:

      Interesting that what we had before was a couple of buildings and vacant land. Now the developer has built us more of that same situation a couple of buildings (Town square?) and vacant land. Buriens Town having a center is still a dream.

  12. Mac says:


    Are you serious? You want us to even consider your opinion when you don’t even know how Fannie Mae is spelled? Has to be the governments fault. Why don’t you quit watching Fox news and actually do some research before you spout off about subjects you clearly don’t have any knowledge. This is why the average american is clueless about finance and economics. They get their information from hacks like you.

    • observer says:

      I think most of the people were just having fun with it and the people that have no sense of humor mistook it for more than it was. A little ribbing at our own expense and I just think some of them took offense to it.. That`s just my 0.02 after reading these postings and I have noticed it on a lot of others also. Some of these people are just having fun at the expense of some stuffed shirts and I for one enjoy it. If you can`t laugh at yourself you can`t enjoy living.

  13. warrenb says:

    While Ralph’s extreme right wing, pseudo tea party beliefs are infamous, it doesn’t mean he’s wrong about this issue. His reporting on Town square has been informative and, I think , accurate. I’m willing to over look a typo or misspelling, we all do it . Ralph is the closest thing to a real reporter this for profit chamber of commerce, masquerading as news, has.

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