West Seattle development: Conner Homes selling Junction site

August 9, 2011 at 10:44 am | In Development, West Seattle news | 24 Comments

(WSB June 2011 photo looking at Conner site from QFC steps – it’s on Alaska’s south side, 42nd to California)
Eleven years after buying prime property in the heart of The Junction, currently planned for a two-building, 200-apartment development, Conner Homes president Charlie Conner says the site is going up for sale.

We just found this out, after asking Conner for a status report on the projects. Our request last week for comment was answered today by Conner, e-mailing us a letter he says was sent to “the Junction community” last week. The letter says he and his partners have chosen Turning Point Realty Advisors to put the site on the market, and says it’s not likely construction will start before summer 2012. The full text of Conner’s letter, ahead:

After evaluating the financial markets and considering the interest expressed by many of the leading for rent housing providers, the partners who comprise 4700 California Avenue LLC have determined to select a developer for the West Seattle Junction property. The likely buyer will be well capitalized, self-financed, understands and executes acquisition, permitting, construction, leasing and management of similar large projects.

We have selected David Chapman and Matthew Balkman of Turning Point Realty Advisors to represent us in this transaction and as such you may encounter them as they tour the property. Mathew and I have known each other for over 20 years having lived in the same Conner built community for a majority of that time.

Until a formal transaction is completed management of the site will remain as it is currently. Tenants’ leases remain and survive the transition to new owners, and Tony Ruiz will remain your point of contact. Please understand that the evaluation of the site by potential buyers is uncertain and our representatives will do their best to minimize impact on your business. As previously communicated we believe construction would not start until the summer of 2012 at the earliest. Assuming an agreement is reached we will communicate pertinent information or any changes to you.

We have appreciated the community members’ input and, per our agreement,community members will be involved with design details and artwork incorporation in the project during the permitting process. Once ownership changes we will facilitate an introductory and transition meeting of new owners and signatories to the community agreement.

This was not an easy decision, 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 purchasing this property eleven years ago. It has been a great experience getting to know a lot of great people who reside and take pride in the junction. Given that I have other interests in the community I know I will still see many of you. We should all take pride in our role in creating a landmark project.

Sincerely,
Charlie Conner

The project had received key land-use approvals earlier this summer. Some of the site’s existing tenants already have moved out or made plans to do so. We expect to add more to this story as the day progresses.

24 Comments

  1. Wonder what will happen to Rocksport and the Beer Junction?

    Comment by Bob — 11:03 am August 9, 2011 #

  2. thank goodness this happened BEFORE they demo’d everything and left us with a giant hole.

    Comment by HelperMonkey — 11:10 am August 9, 2011 #

  3. Beer Junction is moving one block NW of its current location: http://westseattleblog.com/2011/07/west-seattle-businesses-the-beer-junction-taps-new-location

    Comment by Mandy — 11:40 am August 9, 2011 #

  4. Beer Junction is moving to where the train store use to be (by liquor store). Not sure about the Rocksport.

    Comment by RJB — 11:41 am August 9, 2011 #

  5. Bob, Beer Junction is moving to where the liquor store is.

    Comment by AN — 11:45 am August 9, 2011 #

  6. Great site for a Neighborhood Service Center.

    Comment by Karl — 12:04 pm August 9, 2011 #

  7. having participated in all the design reviews for this project, this is very good news; please dear god bring us a new owner who really does care about our community (shown by their actions, not just words) and want to work with our neighborhood to develop beautiful new buildings that will enhance the junction for future generations

    Comment by Diane — 12:08 pm August 9, 2011 #

  8. Huh? Diane… Beautiful buildings – not ugly ones? God will bring this to the Junction? Am I missing something here? In which area of the Junction are there any ugly buildings? Why is this good news?

    Comment by NotMe — 12:48 pm August 9, 2011 #

  9. Yeah, re the NSC (Karl’s comment)- our latest electric bill received in the mail the other day still mentioned that NSC as a place you can pay your bill… is it still there and not staffed or is it a typo? (that’s not my nearest NSC, so that is why I wasn’t paying attention to WSB’s reporting of the state of the NSC, fyi)

    Comment by sam-c — 1:13 pm August 9, 2011 #

  10. Good riddance. No likey Connor Homes.

    Comment by 4thGenWestSide — 1:13 pm August 9, 2011 #

  11. Sam-c — it is indeed a typo or they are just using up that paper with it pre-printed on there. That NSC is closed.

    Comment by jissy — 1:48 pm August 9, 2011 #

  12. We chronicled its final moments:
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2011/06/west-seattle-junction-neighborhood-service-center-closes-quietly

    Comment by WSB — 1:52 pm August 9, 2011 #

  13. Seems to me Connor believes (as do I) West Seattle is reaching its max in new apartments. He’d build it if he felt new apartments would be in high demand. But it’s becoming evident supply will be outpacing demand. A well seasoned developer with over 50 years experience developing apartments once said to me “builders always over build the market, every time” An over supply of apartments is not good for anyone.

    Comment by Near Alki — 2:52 pm August 9, 2011 #

  14. The over supply in the last cycle was good for someone. Renters. Got 2-3 months of free rent with a 1 year lease during that time. When there’s an over supply, renters get better deals.

    Comment by One more to think about — 3:44 pm August 9, 2011 #

  15. An over supply of apartments is not good for landlords. Its pretty darn good for renters.

    Comment by ryan — 4:13 pm August 9, 2011 #

  16. new apartments might be in demand if they weren’t renting them for $1000+ for 1br’s

    Comment by westseattlegrl — 4:36 pm August 9, 2011 #

  17. I hope they build a candy store and a malt shop.

    Comment by Scandinavian — 6:25 pm August 9, 2011 #

  18. This is awesome news!

    Comment by ellenater — 6:43 pm August 9, 2011 #

  19. Diane…well said. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    And, YES thank God…let’s hope the new someone does TRULY care about West Seattle and is willing to build something *well* in this area.

    Wondering if it could be possible to get building owners and architect/developers to agree to some kind of design function vs. tossing up something that is of cheap taste & completely out of character for WS, so they actually avoid a patchwork quilt of crap.

    Just wondering how much in fines Whole Foods is paying for the crater they left in our neighborhood?

    Comment by WTF — 8:50 pm August 9, 2011 #

  20. Near Alki. Agree with you, too. I think we’ve maxed out our apartment quota. We so need a moratorium on multi family; if not, our single family neighborhoods will die a slow death.

    And, before you sign carriers get your boxers in knot over needs of renters, understand that with ownership and less nomadic living comes commitment to community. And, yes, I do believe that only (some) renters have such commitment and I applaud them.

    Comment by WTF — 8:54 pm August 9, 2011 #

  21. WTF – Not that I am any particular fan of their operation, but in the interest of truth, gotta say again that Whole Foods is NOT responsible for the “crater.” They actually were wronged in all this (to simplify it), among others, per all the legal wranglings and everything else we’ve been covering for the past three years. They had a lease to move into a store that was supposed to be built. They were not the ones who bought, developed, designed, etc., the site. When a date in 2010 arrived and there was no store, they formally were out of the lease that wasn’t fulfilled. Everything that fell apart fell apart between the former financiers and developers, with a whole lot of other concerns, including Whole Foods, left in the lurch, and West Seattle left with a hole. We keep checking court records for more bits and pieces related to the settlement, by the way, and are watching for signs of the site’s inevitable next phase. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:59 pm August 9, 2011 #

  22. thanks for the balance, TR…keeping it to the facts as usual.

    Comment by fiz — 9:36 pm August 9, 2011 #

  23. I’m very glad to hear this. Hopefully any new projects will be in a more “appropriate” scale for that block. A few stories, max, and not a monstrous structure as had been planned. The junction has such a nice small town feel to it. Too large buildings would turn it into just another modern canyon and we have enough of those. Of course, it’s not my money tied up in the land. But I still hope it stays small townish and cozy.

    Comment by dbsea — 3:29 pm August 10, 2011 #

  24. The project is already entitled. This means it gets sold at a higher dollar value because it has gone through the hoops of design review, etc. No more reviews. When Conner after numerous meetings got DRB approval and then sign off by the community stakeholders, it made the property that much more valuable for the next guy. As long as the next guy sticks with what Conner had, they don’t need to have any more approvals to build.

    Comment by One more..... — 4:55 pm August 10, 2011 #

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