Kenmore to revisit plans to develop key downtown property
Kenmore is taking a fresh look at how to redevelop a key downtown property after the city and an affiliate of Los Angeles-based Urban Partners scrapped their languishing plans for a high-density retail and commercial project, Kenmore Village by the Lake.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Kenmore is taking a fresh look at how to redevelop a key downtown property after the city and a private partner scrapped their languishing plans for a high-density retail and commercial project.
"Things are in flux, and we hope to have news within a couple of weeks," Mayor David Baker said Monday about the future of the 9.6-acre site at the northwest corner of Northeast 181st Street and 68th Avenue Southeast.
The city and developer RECP/UP Kenmore, an affiliate of Los Angeles-based Urban Partners, announced Friday they had reached "a mutual and amicable decision" to scrap a development agreement under which RECP/UP was to build Kenmore Village by the Lake on city-owned land.
"They've had the property since 2007, I believe, and we feel that there's potential in that property, and we were getting anxious to get it developed and opportunities have presented themselves," Baker said.
Neither Baker nor Assistant City Manager Nancy Ousley would say what opportunities the City Council would consider at a Monday night executive session. No immediate action was expected.
The city agreed to pay the developer $700,000 to terminate the agreement, Ousley said, much of that representing the return of earnest money and RECP/UP's payments of $50,000 a year to keep the agreement alive.
RECP/UP had planned to build at least 300 residential units, 77,000 square feet of retail space and 23,000 square feet of space for public gatherings and events, and a mix of surface and structured parking.
But another development group created by Urban Partners defaulted on a loan in 2009 after building a similar project, Burien Town Square, and then finding itself unable to sell the 124 condominiums in a collapsing real-estate market.
ST Residential, which acquired the Burien project through foreclosure, began marketing the condos again last year after a two-year hiatus.
The Kenmore Village property is adjacent to several new public buildings: City Hall, a county library branch, a post office and a fire station. Two major tenants, Grocery Outlet and Ostroms Drug & Gifts, moved to other locations in Kenmore to make way for the redevelopment that has yet to take place.
"This is a good time for the city to take stock of where we want to go next," Ousley said. "It's a whole different economy than it was in 2007 when the original development agreement was signed. Definitely, the city has a real commitment to revitalizing downtown and building on some of the good things that are already happening in the downtown."
Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or firstname.lastname@example.org