by Ralph Nichols

With only five of the 124 condominiums at Town Square sold to date, more than five months after the grand opening of this complex in June, prospective buyers and those anticipating future downtown development in Burien wonder if condo prices might be lowered.

This question has been raised in the weeks since Chicago-based Corus Bank – the construction lender for Urban Partners, the private developer of the condo/retail complex in Town Square – was seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) on Sept. 11.

Corus Bank’s deposits were sold, then the FDIC conducted a private auction for the remaining assets. Now Starwood Capital Group, TPG Capital, Perry Capital and WLR LaFrak have acquired an equity interest in a limited liability corporation that will hold the construction loans and real estate-owned assets of Corus.

“The $4.5 billion portfolio consists of more than 100 loan and (real estate-owned) assets linked to high-quality condominiums, multi-family housing, office properties, and land representing nearly 23 million square feet,” according to a recent news release from this investment consortium.

Urban Partners, however, has yet to comment publicly on whether it might reduce the prices of its Town Square condos’ phase one of the planned Town Square project. A primary reason for this is that it’s not a simple matter of lowering those prices, despite the fact that the investment consortium purchased the construction loans of Urban Partners and others well below their original value.

Two or three or even more banks usually are involved in large construction and real estate loans, notes Burien Economic Development Manager Dick Loman. This, in turn, creates a slow and involved process for a developer to obtain permission from lenders before it can make a corresponding reduction in its housing prices.

In the meantime, Loman says, Urban Partners is “hanging in there. They’re not leaving town. They’re trying to do the right thing. I know that Urban Partners wants to meet the market, but they can’t act until they receive a green light for moving forward. This means that (Town Square condo) prices aren’t going to go down without permission from the bank.”

Burien City Manager Mike Martin emphasizes that “no public money is involvedâ” in the Town Square condo-retail complex. “There is no financial to the taxpayers” because the Urban Partners’ development is privately financed.

But, he adds, “We do want to see them fill up sooner than later.”

Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.

21 replies on “Will Condo Prices Be Lowered Now That Burien Town Square’s Lender’s Assets Have Been Sold?”

  1. There may be no public money involved, but there must be occupancy on at least the commercial (bottom) floor or the graffiti artists will move in, then vandalism and theft and then, there goes the neighborhood.
    The city needs to actively promote this project so,at least, someone will move in on the commercial level.
    Also remember that this is not downtown Seattle. The prices asked are extrememly high for the area, not out of line for downtown Seattle, but lets face it, this isn’t Seattle. No one can afford to move in the commercial areas while there are many cheaper spots in downtown available.
    Lower the prices and they will come….

  2. I too would like to buy one of these condos. But until the retail is leased and the price come down, I will wait for the bankruptcy auction.

  3. Tear it down …build a swimming pool… kids will have a place to pee…Council members will have a place to swim……

  4. It took a lot of guts for this developer to have a vision for our community. Let’s face it, the pawn shops and karate store fronts were not the economic engine this community needed. Without this project we’d be stuck in time. Let’s all have a little faith in the possibilities. We could start by shopping & dining locally and stop hitting the malls. You go Burien!

  5. Holy crap…5?????

    That’s just ridiculous.

    The downtown core is rebuilding itself in spite of this.

  6. It would be so nice to have a downtown area where one could walk around in the evening, shop a bit, meet and greet friends and neighbors. This new town center could happen, prices just need to be more in line with our community not Bellevue.

  7. I always try and shop the small mom and pop type stores if for nothing else just to try and keep them around. You may pay a little more but its worth it. Burien but, thanks to our great town council, they just keep pricing them right out of here.
    Seems they just want to make Burien a yuppie town..
    And I thought most of those condos were sold, at least that`s what they told me when I went down there and seen the model last summer.

  8. What type of businesses would you like to see here? I emailed the Burien Town Square project at the beginning of the year and asked how many condos have sold and they told me 40%. It’s too bad only 5 have sold so far. I agree rent is way too high for our area. If it were less and maybe given some incentives like 6 months free rent, we would see some new businesses coming in. They are sitting empty and might be for the next six months, so why not? I thought the best idea was to have a movie theatre there. I understand that they cancelled that idea since there were residences there, and you really would need security there at all times. Though I really think that would attract people and businesses.

  9. I attended the grand opening this summer and was shocked at the prices of the condos. Over 600,000 for a two story condo with a library and Sea-Tac airport view are ridiculous. This is Burien not Bellevue. Wake up developers.

  10. You can’t just declare that your town is a fancy neighborhood and start selling condos at prices even higher than what you’d find on Market Street in Ballard. The city has to have some intrinsic value, like oh, I don’t know, a lake you can swim or canoe in on a nice day, or a city park that’s not dark and scary, pedestrian friendly road ways, a cap on the height of business signs, replace unnecessary patches of pavement with greenery, etc.

    The developed area looks pretty classy but you have to pass some near blighted vistas to get there, and it just might be the case that the local economy can’t fuel a lot of new retail. Maybe they’re biting off too much too soon. Burien will be a miniature Bellevue someday, it’s inevitable. The population continues to grow a Burien is in centralized location.

    The DOT plans to extend 509 all the way to I-5 at some point in the future, and this will further establish Burien and a hub between the north, south and east. You can have one family member work downtown, another in Renton and another in Federal Way and Burien nobody would be on the road for more than 15 minutes to and from.

  11. This name conversation is still happening in 2011, no one is buying those Condos and they are sitting there. I agree this is Burien and not Bellevue, maybe a drastic reduction is something that should be considered to at least make something out of the Condos. I would buy one if they were more reasonable. May Apartments are a good idea, at least when the economy improves they could jack the rents or go back to the Condo idea, but for the time being they could make some money off of them and bring people into downtown Burien.

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