Merrill Gardens senior complex construction to start at Town Square next month


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by Jack Mayne

That vacant land north of Burien City Hall and south of SW 150th Street will soon be humming with construction noise, digging equipment, and arriving heavy trucks as two long-planned projects appear about ready to get underway.

“We did issue permits for the Merrill Gardens project just to the north of us here today (Monday, May 18), so we are looking to see next steps here,” said City Manager Kamuron Gurol at Monday night’s regular Council session.

A Merrill Gardens spokesperson told The B-Town Blog on Tuesday that the construction would start in June.

Once the two projects get going, it will be “a pretty busy time out here” as Gurol gestured to the area north of the City Hall.

No more parking
“As you know for some time we had informal parking on one of those two sites,” Gurol said. “That’s now precluded with the fence that is up. It will start to become a little noisy and there will be truck traffic.”

Both the delayed projects will be built at the same time, he said.

“To get new development we sometimes have to get some challenging times,” Gurol said.

“We are going to stay in touch with the folks in the condos right next door since they have a direct line of sight on that and will have a lot of those impacts along with other local businesses and residents. We will try to do our best to respond to concerns. But new development will be taking place just north of City Hall.”

The Burien Town Square project – a seven-story condominium and retail complex at SW 152nd Street and 6th Ave. SW – was completed six years ago, but plans for Phase Two were long held due to financial problems and the stalled economy.

Both of the new projects are being developed in partnership with Legacy Partners.

No activity until June
Construction will begin June 2 on the eastern most plot, said Merrill spokesperson Loree Wagner, with preparations for construction of Merrill Gardens at Burien now underway.

Burien Economic Development Manager Dan Trimble said in an email that Merrill got project permits but haven’t had a city required pre-construction meeting.

“We don’t expect activity to begin until after May 29th,” Trimble said. “We are working with them on an announcement and planning a ground breaking.

Wagner said they expect an official groundbreaking ceremony on June 25.

“The four story community will have a total of 126 senior apartments and 70 parking spaces,” she said. “It will also have a public plaza adjacent to the community that will be landscaped and include walkways and benches for all to enjoy.”

The contractor for Merrill Gardens at Burien is W.G. Clark.

The company is still working on construction design details for the second building that will be multifamily apartments and should have a schedule soon. It will be a six-story building with a mezzanine and there will be 228 apartments and 248 parking spaces.

Family companies
Privately-owned family companies Merrill Gardens and Pillar Properties are sister companies, both owned by the R.D. Merrill Company.

Pillar Properties develops, owns and manages multifamily properties in the Puget Sound area whose apartment properties are The Lyric in Capitol Hill, The Century in downtown Seattle, The Corydon in the University District and the Stadium Place development which has two apartment buildings, The Wave and The Nolo, in Pioneer Square. Pillar Properties also does the development for sister company Merrill Gardens.

Merrill Gardens says it has been a leader in senior housing for 23 years and has 27 communities in six states with 10 new communities in development, including Merrill Gardens at Burien.

Opened in 2009
Phase One of the Town Square development opened in 2009 with great promise when the library/city hall and the condo-retail complex with 124 units were completed in June 2009.

But then the housing market collapsed nationwide and the recession set in.

A consortium of investors including the FDIC eventually assumed Corus Bank, which held the construction loan for Urban Partners, the private developer for Town Square. The FDIC then assumed ownership of the condo-retail complex.

Urban Partners, which later merged to form Harbor Urban, continued to own the two undeveloped Town Square parcels. But by late 2012, when no progress had yet been made on the next Town Square project, the Burien council took steps to find a new developer.

By that time, Harbor Urban was more than a year in default of its original development agreement with the city, which said work on a second private Town Square project would begin within two years after completion of Phase One.

After exercising its buy-back option under that agreement, the city eventually sold the vacant properties to Legacy.

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Comments

18 Responses to “Merrill Gardens senior complex construction to start at Town Square next month”
  1. Forest Hump says:

    Skateboarding homeless heroin punks mixing with senior citizens sound like a great plan on paper…

    • Boggabri Bill says:

      Sorry Forest. That’s just what they both need – as does Burien. Less heroin, more people who have survived the slings and arrows and got on with their life.

  2. Betsy says:

    Any time the park has more use, whether it is market day or just a sunny day when parents and kids visit the water feature, the inappropriate use of the park area is greatly reduced.

  3. Tonya says:

    I dont understand why an apartment building is going in there too. Wouldnt the city benefit more from a nice hotel? We’re right next to the airport, transit station is there, seems like the perfect location. Our little restaurants and shops would see a nice boost in visitors, the city would get more taxes. I dont know alot about urban development so maybe I’m wrong but it seems like a no brainer to me.

    • Name (required) says:

      This sounds like a great idea in theory, but they way Burien goes, it would end up being a Motel 6, attracting even more transients.

    • Lack Thereof says:

      I’m sure if a developer approached the city with a good hotel plan, they’d try to find a way to make it happen. Burien could certainly use a local hotel… when family comes to visit, I never have a place to put everyone.

      The problem is that the City can only tell developers what NOT to build. No matter how much the city may want a particular type of development, they still have to find a developer who wants to make it happen. And it’s been hard for them to find developers that want to build anything at all in Burien when there is so much more money to be made a few miles north.

      There’s a lot of long-established hotels on Pacific Hwy/International Boulevard, even closer to the airport than we are, and most of the year they have lots of empty rooms. That’s tough competition. There’s not a lot of entrepreneurs willing to step into that market.

  4. Mark says:

    Here’s a link to the proposal from the city’s website: http://www.burienwa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/4825
    It’s a marketing piece but shows elevations of what the finished construction will look like.

    • Lack Thereof says:

      I’ve looked it over… I actually like most of it. It looks very pretty from the south, I always like those center courtyards with the ring of building horseshoeing around it.

      The part that troubles me, is that all the illustrations are of views from the south side. What’s the face of this building going to be on 6th and 150th? Looking at the diagrams of the layout…. just a blank wall sheltering the parking garage? Across the street from another blank brick wall on the LA Fitness?

      This northern garage wall could be a real eyesore if not properly landscaped and decorated. The city needs to make sure to ask them lots of questions about their plans for the north side of the buildings.

      • Name* says:

        The City is not in the business of decorating. They are not going to ask lots of questions about decoration. They are going to give them the design standards for downtown Burien, and then they can do whatever they want within that. Who cares about the view from the street anyways? It is going to bring money and business to Burien!

        • Name (required) says:

          These building will be the tallest, most prominent structures in the city, and they will be here forever Yes, the exterior design should be carefully considered.

      • Name (required) says:

        As well as added traffic congestion.

  5. Name (required) says:

    Would be nice if they went with a nautical design since Burien is so close to the water, but instead, looks like they are going with the south Seattle housing project theme.

  6. Name (required) says:

    “The four story community will have a total of 126 senior apartments and 70 parking spaces,” and a multifamily “six-story building with a mezzanine and there will be 228 apartments and 248 parking spaces.”

    There will soon be a parking problem in the area.

    • jimmy says:

      It could be that the developer is taken in to consideration that most or some senior citizens don’t drive after a certain age. Since it’s a senior citizens complex with the less parking. A extra 20 parking spots for visitors at the apartments seems fair. During the holidays it might get a little cramped.

      • Local resident says:

        If looks as if the facilities at the senior complex will employ a significant number of people. Where will they park ?

        • jimmy says:

          Well that’s a good question some will most likely take the bus since the transit station is less than a 3 to 7 minute walk. Also these places might not fill all up with people that quickly look how long it took the condos to fill up if there all filled I am not sure. The city might have to make more of the street parking spots short term parking spots like 15 or 20 minute parking so you can run in a store get what you need and go kinda like how old burien is there not much parking but it works outs for the most part.

        • jenny says:

          Most likely there will be two cars per multifamily unit.

          • jimmy says:

            I just look at the picture in this article (right click,view image or if your on a table press on image hold for a sec view image) and it says the apartment’s are going to have 227 dwellings and 273 parking spots. The senior center is going to 111 dwellings and 71 parking spots. So most likely the parking for the senior living center is more for employees and visitors since most people living in a senior living facility do not drive.

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