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Originally published Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 8:00 PM

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Ill-timed project’s site could stir again

Bulldozers famously excavated and refilled a half-block site in downtown Seattle during the recession, and now there’s new signs of life. Also, Delta Air Lines looks for a closeout deal on current Boeing or Airbus single-aisle planes.

Seattle Times business staff

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It wouldn't be hard to believe that something, someday will be built on that site which... MORE

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New development plans are emerging for the east side of Second Avenue between Pine and Stewart streets, a half-block site that occupies a special place in downtown Seattle’s real-estate annals.

It’s the site where developers dug a deep hole for a big project during the last boom — only to fill it up again after the market (and plans for the project) collapsed.

We thought that kind of thing happened only in the Army.

The site’s owners back in 2006, Avalon Holdings of Portland and Starwood Capital of Connecticut, obtained permits to build a 23-story tower they called the 1 Hotel & Residences.

It would have been a mix of retail, luxury condos, a hotel and “condo-hotel” suites owned by individual investors.

Avalon and Starwood dug the gaping hole for the foundation during the spring and summer of 2007.

Then all work stopped.

A few months later Avalon’s CEO said the project, plagued by slow pre-sales, hadn’t been able to obtain construction financing on favorable terms — can you say credit crunch? — and was being redesigned.

Avalon subsequently sold its interest to Starwood. That company never officially abandoned the hotel/condo plan.

But in fall 2009, in the recession’s darkest days, Starwood filled the crater back up again, saying it would wait for capital markets to stabilize before reviving the project.

The property reverted to what it had been before the excavation: a parking lot.

Starwood sold the site to apartment developer Equity Residential of Chicago last summer for $22 million.

And this past week, according to city records, Equity approached city planners about building a 39-story apartment tower there.

There’s no design yet, and so far no permit applications have been filed.

But if Equity ends up digging another hole on the property, here’s hoping they fill it with something other than dirt this time.

— Eric Pryne

Is Delta hoping for a closeout sale?

Delta Air Lines is talking to Airbus and Boeing about buying $1 billion or more of jets as the plane makers phase out their current single-aisle models, Bloomberg News reports.

The order would be at a deeper discount to retail prices than is customary, because Delta is studying current versions of the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, not the newest variants, according to Bloom­berg, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Delta CEO Richard Anderson aims to replace some of Delta’s oldest planes without paying top dollar. So he hopes to buy new planes from the tail end of the production run of current offerings, Bloomberg reported.

The talks are for an order of two dozen to 30 planes, the person said.

A deal of that size would have a book value of at least $1 billion, based on prices tracked by consultant Avitas.

New A320s or 737s would retail for about $2.8 billion, according to published figures from Airbus and Boeing, although airlines typically pay less.

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