By Alex Girda, Associate Editor
As if to underscore the finding published last month in the PwC/Urban Land Institute’s annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate report that Seattle is gaining in appeal to developers and investors, plans for two big multi-family projects have surfaced recently.
In one case, the project will bring a sense of déjà vu to the developer. Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Laconia Development L.L.C. is returning to a parcel it lost to foreclosure only a year ago, the Seattle Times reported on Nov. 14. The project represents a scaled-back version of a project that Laconia originally envisioned as far back as 2007, when it set out to build two condominium towers. Laconia switched its marketing strategy for the proposed development for-sale to rental property after the bottom fell out of the condo market in 2008.
Even so, financing remained a sticking point, and in Dec. 2010 the site was taken back by the lender, Lehman Brothers, which put the property on the market last spring. But Laconia never gave up on the project, and it was able to secure the financing to win the bidding. Laconia’s new strategy replaces the pair of condominium towers with a single, 31-story building with 323 units.
Also in the works is a major residential project from Equity Residential. The Seattle Times said that the firm is eyeing the development of a 275-unit, 5-story complex in the fast-growing South Lake Union district. Equity Residential is acquiring the site from Seattle-based Touchstone Corp., the newspaper reported.