From today’s Olympian: Housing project in foreclosure
Thurston Highlands, one of the largest proposed mixed-use developments in the state, has emerged as the biggest example of how the economic crisis has had a corrosive effect on development.
Through its trustee, the project’s primary lender, Frontier Bank, has started foreclosure proceedings on the 1,250-acre property after saying a loan was in default. The trustee is scheduled to auction the property to the highest bidder on the Thurston County Courthouse steps June 5.
Steve Chamberlain, a local developer and the managing member of the property owner, Thurston Highlands Associates LLC, said he secured interim financing totaling $12 million to start developing the property with the intent of refinancing in three years, when the project moved into the construction phase.
But Frontier Bank of Everett, facing its own fallout from the financial meltdown, was unable to lend more money. In March, Frontier signed a cease-and-desist order to change its lending practices after a review by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and state Department of Financial Institutions concluded that it was undercapitalized. No other banks were willing to step forward.
Likewise, Woodinville Village, a “classic European village square infused with the wine ambiance of the Napa Valley,” which has been in development since at least 2004, has been practically stalled out for over a year. Their latest project progress photo (below) is two years old, but is a fairly accurate representation of what the site looks like today.
There’s not exactly a central source we can go to for information on how many such projects are currently permitted, cleared, and now merely awaiting an economic recovery to begin cranking out even more condos and townhomes. If you’ve got one of these projects in limbo in your neighborhood, share it in the comments.
(Christian Hill, The Olympian, 2009.05.15)