A conceptual rendering shows the mixed-use development proposed for Lot 12 in University Place Town Center by Casey + DeChant Architects. Jake Gailey Courtesy
A conceptual rendering shows the mixed-use development proposed for Lot 12 in University Place Town Center by Casey + DeChant Architects. Jake Gailey Courtesy

Local

University Place poised to sell more land on its Town Center campus

November 25, 2016 03:03 PM

UPDATED November 27, 2016 08:35 AM

Another key piece of real estate in University Place’s Town Center is about to be sold.

Tacoma-based SEB Inc. is in negotiation to buy 1.32 acres at 3610 Bridgeport Way W. from the city for $865,245. The land is across the street from where all other town center development has occurred.

If the City Council approves the sale next month, it will be SEB’s third project at the city-owned urban center.

Led by brothers Kevin and Steve Berg, SEB built the Clearview 100 and Latitude 47 luxury apartments with ground-floor retail that bookend the building housing the library, the Police Department and what will one day will be City Hall.

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The brothers’ latest project will be another residential and commercial mix.

Development plans call for 125 residential units above 10,000 square feet of commercial space fronting Bridgeport Way. A two-level parking garage will be built into the hillside, similar to what was done below the Clearview and Latitude buildings.

$865,245 negotiated purchase price for land SEB Inc. plans to buy from city of University Place.

Preliminary drawings show the building will take advantage of its western-facing location to offer views of the Olympic Mountains and Kitsap Peninsula.

Renderings also show the retail shops will front Bridgeport with on-street parking similar to the parking offered across the street.

The new building with its widened sidewalks and pedestrian focus will be a change from the current streetscape that includes office buildings separated from Bridgeport by a parking lot.

The land for sale housed an apartment complex bought by the city in 2006 for $2.6 million. The City Council at the time wanted the site for the library, which since has been built across the street.

The council rushed to acquire the property in 2006 through eminent domain because it believed the land would be sold in a different deal, according to City Attorney Steve Victor.

That idea “turned out not to be true,” he said.

The apartment building was razed and replaced with a parking lot.

Victor, who was not at the city in 2006, described the purchase price as “eye-watering” and “astonishing.”

The more people that live in Town Center the more likely we are to continue to attract commercial businesses.

Steve Victor, University Place City Attorney

It’s unrealistic to think the city will recoup what it spent in the deal, Victor said.

The focus now should be on the city’s vision to create an urban core in the suburban city, he said.

“The more people who live in Town Center, the more likely we are to continue to attract commercial businesses,” Victor told the City Council at a Monday meeting where the sale was discussed.

The lot for sale is the last piece of Town Center property not under contract with Seattle retail and office building developer Verus Partners.

Verus brought Whole Foods to University Place and earlier this year bought land on the campus directly south of the high-end grocer for a 25,000-square-foot commercial building.

Construction hasn’t begun yet on the building, but it will be developed on the gravel area previously used as a temporary parking lot.

Occupants for that building haven’t been named, but Victor said he anticipates at least one medical-type use and a restaurant.

The city negotiated a contract with Verus in 2013 to develop many of the lots that comprise the 13.4-acre town center campus off Bridgeport Way. Verus branded the area The Village at Chambers Bay.

Victor expects construction to begin on Verus’ site and SEB’s site in 2017.

Elsewhere on the site Top Pot Doughnuts and Mediterranean Gyro Grill will open in the retail spaces below the Clearview building.

Brynn Grimley: 253-597-8467, @bgrimley