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April 11, 2016

Legacy Partners wants to buy site at 23rd & Union for apartments, grocery

Journal Staff Reporter

Courtesy Kidder Mathews [enlarge]
This image from 2015 shows the site’s proximity to downtown and close-in neighborhoods.

Legacy Partners has plans for about 400 apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail on the MidTown Center site at the southeast corner of 23rd Avenue and East Union Street in the Central District.

Kerry Nicholson of Legacy Partners said he has a “high-end grocer” in tow that wants to take most of the retail space — if Legacy gets the property. Nicholson said a drug store could also go in, as well as smaller tenants that would reflect the diversity of the neighborhood.

Nicholson said Legacy had the nearly 2.5-acre site under contract but ran into an issue with the property. A hard-money deadline was coming up, so Legacy Partners pulled out of the contract so it could try to solve the problem. Nicholson would not elaborate on the issue but said it is costly and needs to be worked out with the sellers to make his project viable for institutional investors.

Late last month, Legacy Partners submitted another offer for the property. The price is the same — $23.5 million — but some of the terms have changed, Nicholson said. Legacy Partners is awaiting a response from the owner.

Nicholson said Legacy Partners would seek a rezone to 65 feet for its project. Runberg Architecture Group is working with the developer.

Jason Rosauer and Rob Anderson of Kidder Mathews are listing the site for sale.

The property has been embroiled in a lawsuit filed late last year between members of the family that own it. Longtime manager of the property Tom Bangasser sued his family's partnership after he was removed as the controlling member, according to court documents.

Court documents in the case revealed Legacy Partners' interest in the site.

Nicholson said he likes the area because it is close to everything: University of Washington and state Route 520 to the north; Interstate 90 to the south; and Capitol Hill and downtown to the west.

“The area has sort of been passed over and is now almost like a bull's eye with all these good things going on around it, and now even on the other corners of the intersection,” Nicholson said.

Legacy Partners has done other projects in the neighborhood. In 2009, it opened Legacy at Pratt Park, a 248-unit complex where the old Wonder Bread factory used to be at 18th and Jackson.

Legacy Partners has two other projects opening this year: Bowman, a 278-unit complex in Wallingford that opens in May, and Hadley, a 209-unit complex on Mercer Island that opens in September.

Next spring, Legacy Partners will finish a 228-unit project called Burien Town Square.

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