Burien City Council Votes to Change Town Square Developers to Legacy Partners

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The Burien City Council voted unanimously Monday night (Feb. 25) to direct Harbor Urban, owner of the still-undeveloped parcels at Burien Town Square, to sell those properties to another real estate developer – Legacy Partners – as permitted under the City agreements with Harbor Urban.

“Legacy wants to complete the multi-family housing-retail project in Burien’s city center and has submitted to the City a redevelopment proposal that calls for a mix of upper-scale multi-family housing and retail,” reads an announcement.

The remaining undeveloped Town Square property is just north of the current condominiums and Library/City Hall, between SW 152nd and SW 150th streets. The first phase of the Town Square project, the existing condos at 6th Ave SW, was completed in 2009 by owner/developer Urban Partners. When Urban Partners purchased the parcels from the City in 2005, the development agreement required the developer to begin the next phase of the project within two years of completing the first phase, or by July 21, 2011. Urban Partners failed to meet this deadline and still has not commenced construction of Town Square’s next phase.

On April 30, 2012, the City notified the owner/developer, which had since merged with Harbor Properties to form Harbor Urban, that it had defaulted on its development agreement with the City. The City issued a formal written notice of its intent to repurchase the remaining undeveloped parcels. That repurchase was to occur within 180 days.

After Harbor Urban told the City that it no longer wanted to build the remainder of the project required by the 2005 agreement, the City and owner/developer entered into a “standstill agreement,” which gave Harbor Urban until March 1, 2013, to negotiate with the City an alternate project and amendments to the development agreement for the remaining parcels. Under the standstill agreement, if the City and Harbor Urban did not agree upon an alternate project, the City could repurchase the parcels or direct Harbor Urban to sell them to another developer.

Harbor Urban and the City failed to agree on a mutually acceptable alternative project prior to the March 1 deadline, prompting the City Council’s action Monday.

According to the Legacy Partners website:

Legacy Partners is a leading vertically integrated real estate investment manager, owner and operator, with a comprehensive portfolio of commercial and residential assets in the western United States. Based on our significant background and a stable, committed team who live, work and specialize in our core markets, Legacy provides its investors, partners, tenants and residents with the depth of experience, speed of execution and transparency to create superior value.

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7 Responses to “Burien City Council Votes to Change Town Square Developers to Legacy Partners”
  1. TcB says:

    Wow, this is a pretty big deal and a good decision by the council. Harbor was trying to build something that did not coincide with the original vision.

  2. ATKMH says:

    Oh, and it was unanimous! So glad they could all agree.

  3. Len Boscarine says:

    Why can’t the city buy the property instead of pushing someone to develop it? It would be nice to have some open space so close to the downtown for art events, carnivals, etc.

    • TcB says:

      Because they’re few and far between. We can do those by closing the streets around the park in Burien Town Square, or finding new areas to create like that big hole behind Big Lots. We don’t need a parking lot there anymore, it’s been that way for 40 years.

    • ATKMH says:

      Len, previously commenters were extremely concerned about the loss in property value now versus the value at the time of purchase.

  4. Shari says:

    I really hope the City gets behind this and does its part to create the incentives and the civic appeal that will attract businesses and residents… it’s not necessarily the case that if you build it and market it they will come…somehow we need to get out in front of the pervasive negativity about this area by promoting the advantages of living and working here and by aggressively trying to create incentives for employers and residents. It’s fire in the belly time …be creative and innovative and push for breakthroughs. No, I don’t know what those are and yes, it will be hard and yes, there are no silver bullets and yes, there are vested and entrenched interests and lot of apathy out there for Burien…but now’s the time for civic leaders in business and government to step up and be clever and incredibly committed and somewhat tireless.

  5. May says:


    Burien Town Square condo sales representatives Tamea Duckworth, left, and Julie Knutson are as perplexed as everyone else by the twists and turns in the Town Square saga. They are standing on one of the vacant parcels

    I bet they are very perplexed.
    I wonder if these two ladies are related to members of the burien council? …does Knutson ring a bell?… like in Craig Knutson?
    Of course its just another conspiracy theory of mine.

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