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August 12, 2011     West Seattle Herald
UPDATE 2: Conner’s Junction site sold to Equity Residential; Tenants and residents react to the news
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August 12, 2011
 

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UPDATE 2: Conner’s Junction site sold to Equity Residential; Tenants and residents react to the news | West Seattle Herald / White Center News Skip to Main Content Area Tuesday, September 20, 2016 | Scattered clouds, 53.6 °F search Letters Sign in Subscribe Contact Us Front Page News Features Sports Opinion Police Blotter West Seattle neighbors putting up a fight to protect ponderosa pine By Lindsay Peyton The ponderosa pine located in the middle of ... Westside-O-Rama West Seattle Entertainment Guide Admiral Theater 2343 California Ave. S.W. 938-3456 Movie ... Foster dominates Evergreen 48-0 By Tim Clinton SPORTS EDITOR Blessing Leiato and Isaiah Ferrer ... Amanda's View: At the intersection of normalcy and public-figure-hood By Amanda Knox   Back in 2007, it seemed only people like me ... Police Blotter Week of 8-22-11 “I am just being stupid” A woman returned home to her SW ... News UPDATE: Leon Joslin dies at age 100 'Mr. Fancy Pants' UPDATE 2: Conner’s Junction site sold to Equity Residential; Tenants and residents react to the news UPDATE: Roxhill Park murder defendant sentenced to 11 years UPDATE: High Point fundraiser raised $4,000 for Somali famine victims UPDATE 3: White Center shooting suspect pleaded not guilty to second degree murder charge UPDATE 2: SLIDESHOW- 6th Annual Duwamish River Festival was celebrated UPDATE: Funeral arrangements set for Sweetheart Failautusi “The Sky is Not the Limit” ; Raisbeck Aviation High School breaks ground on new location Small kitchen fire, leads to big response on Fauntleroy Way SW UPDATE 5: 'The Hole' at Fauntleroy Place slated for an October sale Comcast having slow internet issues in West Seattle, into Burien - expected to improve by 1:45 p.m. Seattle Public Schools to introduce neighborhood-based transportation zones this fall On the Go -Week of 8-22-11 Emergency response exercise to be staged at SSCC Aug. 30 West Seattle cab driver assaulted by stun gun; suspect arrested REMINDER: Lincoln Park beaches closed for shellfish due to marine biotoxin SLIDESHOW: Arts in Nature brings music, art, and performance together this weekend at Camp Long UPDATE 3 - SLIDESHOW: SBX Radar has completed its maintenance; Now leaving SLIDESHOW: Hicks Lake BBQ offered free lunch and information on how to clean the water up Holy Family fundraising breakfast will purchase plaque for base of flag New liquor store will be "upscale" and open Aug. 31 SLIDESHOW: West Seattle Helpline, with help from many others, raises funds for kids' school supplies SLIDESHOW: Seattle Police Southwest Precinct Picnic a chance to meet officers “in a casual manner” Mountain to Sound Outfitters planning expansion Nhan Nguyen White Center WCCDA Program Manager is leaving Weber Thompson ArchitectsAn artists vision of what the West Seattle Junction mixed-use project will eventually look like. UPDATE 2: Conner’s Junction site sold to Equity Residential; Tenants and residents react to the news By Ty Swenson 12/23/2011 Update for Dec. 23 The seven-story mixed-use building envisioned by developers for the southeast corner of the Alaska Junction is back in motion after the initial developer, Conner Homes, sold the spot to Equity Residential on Tuesday for $11.4 million. The sale means the search is back on for current tenants who will eventually need to find a new location. Equity has not returned calls for comment on their plans for the site, but Tony Ruiz with Conner Homes has said it is likely they will move forward with a similar plan. Geoff Abdian, owner of the furniture consignment store Suite Arrangements, is one of the tenants now on a month-to-month lease with Equity. ""I believe all of the small businesses leasing retail space on the Junction property recently sold for development are saddened by the realization that we must relocate," Abdian said. "And, while some may view a seven-story condominium development as 'progress,' I believe moreover that most of us are saddened, as are many of our customers, that such development may well alter the traditional neighborhood charm of the Junction." "No one should fault any property owner or investor for acting in their own best interest," he continued. "It is noteworthy, however, that when commercial leasing rates for a new facility are double or triple what Junction businesses have been paying, it is likely that only large chains, such as Starbucks or California Pizza Kitchen, or similarly well-established businesses, will be able to afford the space. Ultimately, small businesses get driven out, and consumers foot the bill in the form of higher prices required to cover those new leases. "Thus, by this kind of development and 'progress,' our community may well devolve, in my view, into an expensive steel and glass clone of Anywhere, America -- a trend few seem to support. Hopefully, the small 'mom-and-pop' shops that have been so prevalent here will find a way to survive. And, the people of West Seattle will find other unique ways to preserve our sense of community as the structural character of the neighborhood changes." Reactions to the news have been similar from fans of the West Seattle Herald Facebook page. "Great, just what we need," Mike Emmick said. "Another stupid 'mixed use building' with retail on the first floor where the rent is so expensive no businesses can afford it and condos above that only the super rich can afford... What happened to the old, good West Seattle?" "It happened to Ballard and now it's happening to us ... but worse," Eli Lauffler chimed in. "Attack of the condos," he added. Tenants have not been given a move-out date from Equity at this time, but estimates from Charlie Conner put the groudbreaking for a new building in the summer of 2012 at the earliest. Update for Dec. 22 Tony Ruiz, CFO for Charlie Conner's Conner Homes, confirms they closed a sale on Tuesday for the Junction property - slated to become a seven-story mixed use residential/retail complex. The buyer was Equity Residential, the biggest publicly traded apartment developer in the nation. Media reports say that the sale price was $11.4 million. The property was put on the market in August and Ruiz said the new owner took over all the plans and permits associated with the project in the sale. According to Equity Residential's investor information, the company owns or has investments in over 400 properties in 16 states. This story will be updated with more details and reactions from the current tenants renting on a month-to-month basis. Update for Aug. 15: Tony Ruiz, CFO for Conner Homes provided some additional insight into the Conner Junction property sale. Ruiz said the eventual buyer/developer will inherit the Weber Thompson Architects design plans for the seven-story mixed-use retail/residential complex and he assumes zero to minimal changes will be made to that design. As for current tenants, Ruiz said most are on a month-to-month lease with the "idea that nothing changes until something changes." Leases will transfer to the new developer upon sale of the property and tenants will likely be allowed to stay put until demolition begins. Charlie Conner's letter to his tenants at the Junction location states, "we believe construction would not start until the summer of 2012 at the earliest," and Ruiz added it "could be another year after that." David Chapman with Turning Point Realty Advisors has been charged with bringing Conner's Juction property to the market. Chapman said Turning Point will introduce the property to the investment market this week. He said the timetable for a sale is "unknown" as "capital markets right now are a little sketchy." Original post on Aug. 12: It seemed inevitable that shovels would break ground soon. Charlie Conner’s seven-story mixed-use, 198 apartment complex had received the City’s blessing to move forward and a “public benefit package” had been worked into the design in hopes of appeasing a West Seattle community that had made its weariness of the project clear. Then, in early August of 2011, current tenants of the southeast corner of the Alaska Junction received a letter from Conner stating the property was headed for the market, creating a delay “until the summer of 2012 at the earliest.” Business owners like the Rocksport Bar and Grill’s Darren Ahlf had already accepted their fate: it was time to start looking elsewhere as the Conner project would demolish the current buildings, from north of Talarico’s on California Ave. s.w. and from California to 42nd Ave s.w. on s.w. Alaska St., to make room for the retail/apartment complex that would rival Mural Apartments just to the south in scale. Based on the letter, Conner Homes is using Turning Point Realty Advisors to find a new developer who “will be well capitalized, self-financed, understands and executes acquisition, permitting, construction, leasing and management of similar large projects.” It sounds like the project will still happen as it’s been designed, just under the guidance of a new developer and delayed until that fit is found. Conner’s letter also states the new owners will be given a transitional meeting so they understand the community agreement that resulted in the public benefit package, including plans to mimic the look of nearby California Ave S.W. business fronts, create plazas and walkthroughs between California Ave and 42nd Ave S.W., adding historical West Seattle art to the outer walls and building large sidewalks to encourage foot traffic (among several other features you can read about here). “This was not an easy decision,” Conner said in his letter. “As many of you know my long term goal has been to own a piece of the junction long term as an income producing property when I purchased this property eleven years ago.” This story will be updated. We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed. View the discussion thread. 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