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Captain Patrick Butschli / King County Sheriff’s Office

Mt. Baker’s willingness to partner with law enforcement to ensure that residents have safe and secure housing has been a critical component of this successful rehabilitation.

Nonprofit, private developer plan huge mixed-use project near South Seattle transit station
Friday, June 29, 2018

PSBJ Story Here

By   – Staff Writer, Puget Sound Business Journal

A partnership of nonprofit Mount Baker Housing and private development company Lake Union Partners on Friday paid $19.9 million for a large, contaminated South Seattle property, where they plan to build around 700 housing units near the future Judkins Park light-rail station.

The three-block property at South Grand Street and 22nd Avenue South is one of the largest transit-oriented projects ever in Seattle and will be one of many in the region’s future as Sound Transit builds out a 116-mile rail system in the fast-growing, traffic-choked region.

Mount Baker Housing (MBH) and Lake Union Partners (LUP) plan to begin construction of the project they’re calling Grand Street Commons in 2021 and complete the project by the 2023 scheduled completion of the $3.2 billion Eastlink extension from Seattle to Redmond. Trips from Judkins Park to downtown Seattle and Bellevue will be nine and 15 minutes, respectively.

Joining the Seattle-based partners is a third local company, HAL Real Estate, which is providing most of the project equity.

“For anyone who is excited about the future of this neighborhood, this site was always key. We’ve had our eye on it for awhile now and have been actively working on it for about a year and a half,” MBH Director of Real Estate Conor Hansen said. “We’ve known (LUP Principal) Joe (Ferguson) for years and they seem to chase the same type of creative deals we like to pursue.”

LUP brought HAL into the deal to clean up the vacant 3.2-acre property where dilapidated buildings stand. Hansen said many businesses caused the contamination but most is from a dry cleaner and a machinery manufacturer. A group of multiple owners sold the property.

The project will have around 700 affordable- and market-rate housing units, with 300 “family-sized” and 400 market-rate units. The project also will have 65,000 square feet of retail, including a grocery store, pharmacy and/or medical clinic.

Brokers Jason Rosauer and Rob Anderson of Kidder Mathews listed the property for sale. Engineering company Aspect Consulting and law firm Perkins Coie also worked on the deal.

Through a new state Department of Ecology clean-up program for brownfields, the project team can now remediate the site and bridge what they say would otherwise be a financially unworkable redevelopment. MBH will use state funds to clean-up part of the onsite contamination for Grand Street Commons through a legal agreement called a Prospective Purchaser Consent Decree.

It’s the second time this week that Mount Baker Housing has unveiled plans to clean up a contaminated South Seattle property to make way for a two-building project called the Maddux near the Mount Baker light-rail station. The Maddux is the first Department of Ecology pilot program to use the clean-up program for an affordable housing site.

Grand Street Commons is the first of its kind partnership among nonprofit and for-profit developers and the Department of Ecology.

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