Published April 2006

Real Estate Briefs

Everett OKs higher
housing density at Asarco site

The Everett City Council voted in March to change the city’s community renewal plan to allow developer Barclay’s North to build 90 two-, three- and four-unit buildings at the old Asarco smelter site in north Everett.

The percentage of allowed attached dwellings in the plan area also was changed from a maximum of 70 percent to a higher density maximum of 80 percent.

Barclay’s North said the changes were required to secure financing for the project.

The community renewal plan was approved in 2004 to ensure that the city could recoup the investment it made to clean up the site, which was tainted with arsenic. When mining giant Asarco filed for bankruptcy in 2005, the city pledged $225,000 and loaned $225,000 to the Everett Housing Authority to match a state grant of $450,000. With that $900,000, the cleanup was completed.

The Everett Housing Authority purchased the 18-acre site and 15 nearby homes in 2004 for $3.4 million, and sold 7 acres to Barclay’s last year for $3.2 million. Barclay’s took possession of the land when the cleanup was completed late last year.

Marysville signs
$2.2 million deal for mill property

With plans for a waterfront trail to spur development, the city of Marysville has signed a $2.2 million agreement to buy the International Forest Products mill and its 10-acre property, which is close to Ebey Slough and Highway 529.

The Canadian company shut down the mill for financial reasons in December.

Another company, Columbia Investments in Portland, Ore., was interested in buying the mill and wanted to make a deal with the city that would allow the company to run the mill there for two or three years. That would give the company time to develop a new mill site elsewhere in town without losing the trained work force, he said. Meanwhile, the city could work on its plans for the property.

However, the city passed on that proposal because it needs the property right away to grow its public works facility located adjacent to the mill site, said Mary Swenson, city administrator.

Also, the site’s waterfront access makes it critical to plans to develop a trail from the new Ebey Waterfront Park, west of Highway 529, all the way southeast along the dike, possibly to the Sunnyside neighborhood, Swenson said. Barring any last-minute environmental problems found in soil tests, the sale was expected to be made official March 31, Swenson said.

Nautica put up for sale
Downtown Everett’s biggest apartment building has been put up for sale and faces the possibility of being converted into condominiums.

The Nautica Apartments, with 125 units at the corner of Hewitt and Grand avenues, is being sold by its original developer and owner, Mastro Properties of Seattle.

The property, built in 2002, has been advertised at $17.4 million, or $139,200 per unit.

Rumors had spread among the Nautica’s residents that it already had been sold and would be converted to condos. But the seller said in March that no deal had been completed.

In Mastro Properties’ sales flier about the Nautica, it boasts that the complex is “ready for conversion to condos.” All around the Puget Sound area, apartment complexes are being bought and transformed into condo blocks to meet demand for such housing.

Home sales, prices
enjoy double-digit gains

Snohomish County’s housing boom continued in February, with the Northwest Multiple Listing Service reporting that local home sales increased by more than 18 percent from the year before.

And that increase came despite a continuing skid in the number of homes available for sale and a strong increase in the prices of homes that are on the market.

County listings were down about 4 percent from a year ago, and the combined median price of homes and condominiums was at $304,950, a more than 22 percent increase from February 2005.

Median means half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

The median price for single-family homes alone hit $324,950 in February, a nearly 20 percent increase from a year ago. That means county residents are paying 54 percent more for their houses than the average American.

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© 2006 The Daily Herald Co., Everett, WA