The stalled Burien Town Square saga continues as the Burien City Council voted unanimously Monday, Feb. 25, to direct Harbor Urban, owner of the still undeveloped parcels at Town Square, to sell those parcels to another real estate developer, Legacy Partners, as permitted under the city agreements with Harbor Urban.

Legacy wants to complete the multi-family housing-retail project in Burien’s city center and has submitted to the city a redevelopment proposal that calls for a mix of upper-scale multi-family housing and retail.

The remaining undeveloped Town Square property is just north of the current Town Square condominiums and Library/City Hall between Southwest 152nd and Southwest 150th streets.

In agreeing to the switch in developers, Councilmember Gerald Robison commented, “Harbor Urban hasn’t come up with anything.”

Councilmember Jack Block Jr. also agreed but urged Legacy Partners to “keep the city’s vision within current market conditions.”

The council and city staff originally envisioned the remaining parcels would be contain condominiums and retail space much like in the first phase.

Update: Burien council votes to change Town Square developers
Photo credit: 
Photo by Jerry Gay

Burien Town Square condo sales representatives Tamea Duckworth, left, and Julie Knutson are as perplexed as everyone else by the twists and turns in the Town Square saga. They are standing on one of the vacant parcels.

Name of Robinson Communications winner still top secret

Press release:

Discover Burien will be hosting their 2013 Annual Awards Dinner and
Silent Auction Fundraiser March 1, 2012 at the Burien Community Center (14700 6th Ave SW, Burien) from 6 – 10 pm. Tickets can be purchased for $40 in advance or $50 at the door.
The 2012 Leadership awards were selected from nominations from the community and voted upon by the Discover Burien Board of Directors.

The award recipients are as follows:
 Business Leader of the Year – Scott Schaefer, SoKing Media/B-Town Blog
 Student Leader of the Year – Sierra Flanagan, Senior, Highline High School
 Discover Burien Volunteer of the Year – Denise Ferguson
 Team Clean Sweep Recognition of the Year – Alestaire Echavia
 Non-Profit Leader of the Year – NAVOS


Press release:

The City of SeaTac announces Joe Scorcio as Director of Community and Economic Development.

“We’re excited to have Joe join our team as the new Community and Economic Development Director,” said Todd Cutts, city manager. “He brings with him a wealth of experience that we believe will translate into solid leadership in the department and great customer service in the business community for years to come.”

Scorcio has 29 years of experience in public service positions for Pierce County including leadership of the award-winning 930-acre Chambers Creek Property Master Site Plan with Chambers Bay Golf Course as its centerpiece.

He has served on a variety of regional boards and commissions including the Puget Sound Air Quality Authority and the Tacoma - Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.

In 2010, the Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau awarded Scorcio the Community Unity Award. He is a member of the American Institute for Certified Planners and he is active in the community supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs, Humane Society and the Chambers Creek Foundation.


Burien artist Shelli Park, who has her own display at Burien Town Square, has let us know about another Burien artist whose work will be displayed at the Square retail space:

“Don Liljar was an artist who lived in Burien for at least 40 years, creating his art most recently in a modest home on SW 158th at 14th Ave SW. Some may remember seeing a large wheeled contraption in his front window. I often wondered what it was as I drove by. I know that I’m not the only one.

“I was invited over a year ago to help move what turned out to be a large sculpture of a steam-powered tricycle from his home to the home of Bob Frey. It is a wonderful and imaginative piece of art. This was my introduction to the world of Don Liljar.

“A huge selection of his work has been entrusted to Normandy Park Arts Commissioner Bob Frey by Don’s widow. With Bob’s blessing this work will be exhibited for the month of January, and part of February, in the NE retail space at Burien Town Square. It is best seen at night.

“Thank you Burien Town Square for letting your empty retail space shine with Burien’s artists!”


Press release:

Sound Transit will conduct a public hearing on proposals to dispose of surplus property in SeaTac on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013.

Public Hearing
Disposal of Surplus Real Property to a Public Agency
Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013
12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Union Station
Ruth Fisher Boardroom
401 S. Jackson St.
Seattle, WA 98104

The agency is seeking public comment on a proposal to sell two parcels totaling approximately 30,000 square feet of developable land in SeaTac.

The parcels are located on the northeast corner of International Boulevard and South 176th Street with the former addresses of 2810 S. 176th and 17400 International Blvd.

The proposed use of the land is for development of office space for and by the Port of Seattle. Transactions are contingent on ongoing discussions and future approvals by the Sound Transit Board and Port of Seattle.

The Ruth Fisher Boardroom is accessible to persons with disabilities. For more information on the public hearing or to request ADA accommodation, please call Sound Transit at 800-201-4900 or 888-713-6030 (TTY) or visit


The standstill agreement between the city of Burien and Burien Town Square developer Harbor Urban has been extended for 90 days.

The city and developers had signed an agreement that would have given the two parties until Nov. 15 to agree on an acceptable alternative to previously planned condos on a vacant Town Square site.

However, on Nov. 5, city attorney Craig Knutson told council members the two sides are close to an agreement but “unfortunately it is not complete.”

Harbor Urban has proposed a 173-unit, “high-quality, market rate” apartment complex for the site.

Knutson also revealed the city has talked to other potential developers about the site.

Lawmakers unanimously approved the extension.

Mayor Brian Bennett emphasized that the agreement most likely will come earlier than 90 days.

Seattle-based trucking company announces plans to move south this November

Press release:

Graham Trucking, Inc., a local trucking business that operates the largest fleet of super chassis in Washington state, has announced the relocation of its headquarters to the city of SeaTac.

The new four-acre facility, located at 18811 16th Ave South, will accommodate the company’s Seattle staff and enable further expansion for growth.

“From what we can tell the City of SeaTac is the best, most well-run city we’ve ever seen,” said Robert Graham, president of Graham Trucking, Inc. “There is no comparison between SeaTac and other municipalities we’ve worked with. We look forward to moving our business into such a thriving, economically strong community.”

Currently located in Seattle, Tacoma and Federal Way, Graham Trucking serves clients in the Pacific Northwest primarily through intermodal transport, with a variety of modes of transportation to move product across cities and states.

For nearly 30 years the company has performed the majority of their business with large retail chains, construction companies, manufacturers, produce growers in Eastern Washington and seafood companies.


By Gwen Davis

Normandy Park experienced a wave of drama recently when several residents complained that the California-based Hanbleceya – a company serving individuals with mental illness – opened treatment facilities in their neighborhood.

The five homes Hanbleceya either bought or rented house individuals with mental illness and drug addiction issues.

However, rumors that the company will soon expand their facilities to Burien and Des Moines are unfounded.

“I don’t have any knowledge of that happening here,” said Mike Martin, Burien city manager. “I am aware of the general issue and we’re monitoring it.”

Des Moines Assistant City Manager Lorri Ericson gave a similar statement: “We are not aware they have any plans at this time.”

Dr. Ian Wolds, clinical director at Hanbleceya said plans for expansion is a nonissue.

“We will not be opening any treatment facilities in Burien or Des Moines,” Wolds said. “The only facility in the Seattle area is in the Normandy Park Towne Center… We have no specific plan to buy or rent houses in either of these areas as our needs are being fully met.”

Decision expected by Nov. 15

Harbor Urban press release:

Harbor Urban, LLC presented new conceptual design plans for the proposed development of Phase II of the Town Square Project to Burien city staff on Sept. 14.

Construction of the proposal put forth by Harbor Urban would begin with a 173-unit high-quality, market-rate apartment community on Parcel 5.

Development of the conceptual plan was a collaborative effort lead by Harbor Urban with input from City staff, property management firms and market study experts.

The development of a residential complex in downtown Burien will contribute to a vibrant Burien Town Square. Harbor Urban’s plans for Parcel 5 reflect decades of experience designing and developing Transit Oriented Developments and urban mixed use projects throughout the Puget Sound region.

Amy Hoffman, development manager for the project with Harbor Urban said, “We feel very good about the direction the design is headed. The conceptual design takes into account features that are important to the City of Burien and to the sophisticated renter of today. It’s a thoughtful, quality building that continues to help activate the Town Square and the City of Burien.”


Bowing to what they deemed economic reality, Burien lawmakers unanimously approved Aug. 20 an agreement that most likely will lead to rental apartments instead of owner-occupied condominiums being built on the vacant Town Square parcels.

The City Council approved a standstill agreement with Harbor Urban that gives the developers and city until Nov. 15 to agree on an acceptable alternative to the previously planned condos. Condominiums at the Town Square complex completed in 2009 have sold very slowly.

The city entered into an agreement with Urban Ventures in 2005 to develop the parcels. The developers chose to develop the downtown Burien properties in phases. When the developers did not begin construction on the other phases, as promised, Burien city officials in June informed the developers the city would repurchase the undeveloped parcels.

By that time, Urban Ventures had merged with Harbor Ventures to form Harbor Urban. After extensive discussion between the developers and city staff, a standstill agreement was negotiated suspending the repurchase until Nov. 15.

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