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Originally published Wednesday, December 29, 2004 at 12:00 AM

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46-acre Boeing site in Renton sold

A texas developer with the backing of a Chicago real-estate giant has bought a 46-acre chunk of Boeing land near downtown Renton with plans to transform an airplane-manufacturing...

Seattle Times business reporter

A Texas developer with the backing of a Chicago real-estate giant has bought a 46-acre chunk of Boeing land near downtown Renton with plans to transform an airplane-manufacturing site into a "lifestyle retail center."

Harvest Partners of Dallas and Transwestern Commercial Services paid $37.8 million for the property, records show. The land spans Park Avenue North and includes the parking lot west of Fry's Electronics and Boeing's 10-50 Building that is being demolished.

The companies did not return phone calls yesterday seeking comment.

Exactly what Harvest has planned for the site remains unclear, said Alex Pietsch, Renton economic-development director. But it could include residential and possibly office buildings in addition to a shopping mall.

"We are hopeful that it is a vibrant urban retail development that creates a new future for this exciting property," he said.

Boeing put the property — dubbed Lakeshore Landing — on the market last spring. An Oregon developer, Center Oak Properties, announced plans to build an 800,000-square-foot shopping and entertainment center on the land in October, but that deal fell through.

The property used to sit at the heart of Boeing's 280-acre plant in Renton, where it makes 737s and recently rolled off the last of its 757 line. The company is consolidating its operations, initially freeing up 76 acres.

Many observers expect Boeing to eventually close the plant, although the company says it plans to continue building airplanes in Renton for the foreseeable future.

Renton has struggled for years to remake its image as a cutting-edge city no longer dependent on Boeing for its economic success. The city spent much of 2003 creating a new zoning district that would encourage a mix of apartments, retail and condominiums on property the airplane maker deems surplus.

"There is interest in seeing a unique retail environment and residential options," Pietsch said.

Harvest may fit Renton's bill. The 2-year-old company, formed by three real-estate veterans, has several major projects planned in Texas.

They include the proposed 33-acre Park Lane Place development in Dallas that would combine up to 2.8 million square feet of apartments, hotel space and stores, according to local newspaper stories.

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Based in Chicago, Transwestern is a $4 billion-a-year company that handles leasing, building management, development and investing in 23 cities.

J. Martin McOmber: 206-464-2022 or mmcomber@seattletimes.com

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