24 Jul 0
The long-running effort to get Civic Square going again continues, though it’s now behind the schedule city of Seattle officials laid out last year when they announced a tentative deal to have condo builder Bosa Development take over the project.
On Tuesday, Mayor Ed Murray <https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/search/results?q=Ed%20Murray> transmitted to the City Council legislation authorizing the sale of the 10-year-old Civic Square project to Burnaby, British Columbia-based Bosa, the most active condo developer in the Puget Sound region. It’s basically the same framework of the tentative deal announced nine months ago.
At the time, Murray’s office – eager to do something about downtown’s biggest blight, a city-owned property in direct view of the mayor’s office – said it hoped to transmit the legislation to the council by the end of 2016, and get council OK in early 2017 so construction could begin in 2018.
Now the city’s timeline, laid out in Murray’s Tuesday news release, is for construction to start Jan. 1, 2019, though Bosa must navigate the politics of the city council and the bureaucracy of city hall in pursuit of a master-use permit for the redesigned project. Permitting alone can take 18 months or longer.
The proposal for the full block at Fourth Avenue and Cherry Street west of City Hall replaces a 2007 agreement with Seattle-based Triad Development, whose condo-office tower project ground to a halt during the recession and was ultimately undone by a political scandal involving a former Triad employee.
Bosa will build a condo tower with street-level retail and a 25,000-square-foot public plaza, which the company will build, own and maintain.
Under the $21.7 million deal, Bosa will pay at least $5.7 million toward affordable housing through the Mandatory Housing Affordability program and $16 million to equitable development through an initiative whose goal is have existing residents and businesses benefit from development rather than be displaced by it.
Triad will assign all of its interest in the existing purchase, sale and development agreement to Bosa, and Triad and the city will release one another from liability.
A Murray press release states the Bosa deal “provides much more in return” to the city than the Triad agreement.
The city was going to transfer ownership of the block to Triad in exchange for the company building the plaza and other amenities. The deal, valued at $25 million, had they city owning and operating the plaza at a projected loss, Murray said.
Bosa developed the sold-out, 698-unit Insignia condo project in Seattle and plans to break ground next year on a 21-story condo development in downtown Bellevue , where it owns a second development site .
originally appeared in Puget Sound Business Journal