Town Square Condo Sales To Resume Aug. 1; Retail Space Being Marketed

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by Ralph Nichols

Marketing of condominiums in the Town Square complex will take place over the next couple of weeks, with sales resuming on Aug. 1 for the first time since late summer 2009.

Condo prices will average 35 percent below what they were when the seven-story building opened to great expectations two years ago.

The long-anticipated announcement was made Tuesday (July 12) by ST Residential, managing partner of the public-private investment group, which acquired ownership of the condo/retail complex from developer Urban Partners on Oct. 29.

“After carefully studying the market, we have decided to re-open sales at the property,” ST Residential said in a statement released by spokesman Peter Marino. “We look forward to selling these homes and infusing new life into this wonderful property.”

Marino said a market analysis indicates the new lower prices – about $120,000 to $420,000, compared to over $200,000 to almost $700,000 in 2009 – “can support sales.”

While not all of the 118 available condos will initially go on the market, “the majority in the first release of homes are on the top three floors of the building,” he added. “With 30 floor plans, we will be flexible depending on buyer needs.”

Six condos were sold before sales were placed on hold when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) closed Corus Bank, which issued the construction loan, in September 2009.

Marino noted that ST Residential has “been actively trying to lease … for a number of weeks” the 20,000 square feet of vacant retail space on the ground floor of the complex. “That marketing program is distinct from the home sales program.”

There has been “considerable” interest, but no retail lease agreements have been closed so far.

The announcement by ST Residential appears to end a lengthy chapter riddled with uncertainty in the history of Burien’s still-young Town Square.

Urban Partners – developer for the private components of the Town Square project – financed construction of the building with a $38.5 million loan from Corus Bank of Chicago in 2007.

The nation’s housing market began to collapse a year later, eight months before the condo/retail complex opened along with the Burien Library/City Hall building and Town Square Park.

After the FDIC seized the bank’s assets, including Urban Partners’ loan, ST Residential became holder of its residential construction loan portfolio.

ST Residential is comprised of the FDIC, which holds a 60 percent share of that portfolio, and Starwood Capital Group and four other several private investors.

Urban Partners eventually transferred ownership of the condo/retail complex – avoiding a trustee’s sale of this property, which was in foreclosure – to ST Residential. The FDIC earlier had rejected an offer by Urban Partners to buy back its construction loan.

Burien City Manager Mike Martin told The B-Town Blog on July 13 that, as of then, ST Residential hadn’t informed the city of its plans to resume condo sales at reduced prices.

But, Martin said, he looks forward to increased retail activity in downtown Burien, which new condo sales are expected to generate.

ST Residential will adhere to requirements of the original development agreement with Urban Partners, he added.

Earlier this year, there was speculation that ST Residential might propose marketing at least some of the units in the condo/retail complex as apartments for rent – a change that would have required an amendment to the development agreement by the city council.

That idea was set aside when the market analysis indicated condos will sell with the new pricing.

Urban Partners still owns undeveloped parcels within the Town Square area north of both the library/city hall building and the condo/retail complex. It has yet to announce plans for the second phase of private development there.

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4 Responses to “Town Square Condo Sales To Resume Aug. 1; Retail Space Being Marketed”
  1. Courtney says:

    The pricing still sounds too high. Who will ultimately be responsible for any builder defects in the building? What kind of home owner fees are anticipated? The building has been vacant for a long time, and I would be seriously concerned about potential problems. I recall the many finishing problems we saw just with the model units at the open house years ago and can only imagine what isn’t visible. Does the city still plan on not taxing the units for a number of years?

  2. Feral Dog says:

    $420,000 for a view of the mountain, “beautiful” downtown Burien and no yard to entertain in? Hmmmmm, no thanks..

  3. Burienite says:

    Wow, $420k on the high end is still WAY too high. I’m sure that’s for the two-bedroom, two-bath, with a den configuration, but that is still WAY steep for this market. Heck, there are houses near me that are for sale, with partial views of Puget Sound and a large yard for LESS money.

    WAKE UP ST Residential! Your prices are STILL TO HIGH!!!

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