Developer breaks ground for Ballard apartments at former Denny's site
Equity Residential, the owner of the prominent Ballard corner where the much-debated Denny's restaurant once stood, has broken ground on an apartment complex there.
Seattle Times business reporter
The owner of the prominent Ballard corner where the much-debated Denny's restaurant once stood has broken ground on an apartment complex there.
Equity Residential, the country's biggest publicly traded apartment owner, bought the 1.4-acre site, at 15th Avenue Northwest and Northwest Market Street, a year ago. Its previous owner, Seattle's Benaroya Cos., had obtained permits to build an eight-story, 288-unit complex on the property.
That came after a long, loud debate over whether the Denny's, an example of 1960s Jetsons-style "Googie" architecture, warranted protection as a historic landmark. It was designated as one by the city's Landmarks Preservation Board in February 2008. But three months later the panel determined preservation would impose an unreasonable financial burden on the owner, clearing the way for its demolition.
The restaurant was torn down in June 2008, and the property has remained vacant since.
Chicago-based Equity's decision to start construction on the project, called Market Street Landing, is one more sign of the perceived strength of the Seattle apartment market. Rents are rising, vacancies are dropping, and developers are rushing to put up new buildings to meet demand from young adults who either can't or choose not to buy.
Ballard is one of developers' favored Seattle neighborhoods. Two other projects totaling 445 units broke ground this fall a few blocks to the east.
Nearly 1,700 new apartments are expected to be completed in Ballard by the end of 2014, according to apartment research firm Dupre + Scott — more than doubling the neighborhood's apartments in complexes of 20 or more units.
Equity Residential owns or has investments in more than 400 apartment properties in 16 states and the District of Columbia, according to its website. Equity's properties in the Seattle area include downtown's Harbor Steps, the region's biggest apartment complex.
Information from The Seattle Times archives is included in this report.
Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or email@example.com
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