ST Residential Promotes Burien & Sells ‘The Residences at Burien Town Square’
by Ralph Nichols, B-Town Blog
As ST Residential moves forward with new condominium sales at its seven-story Town Square condo-retail complex, the investment group is increasing its involvement in Burien.
And this involves a lot more than just marketing and sales, John Tippins, ST’s regional vice president in charge of its Burien property, recently told The B-Town Blog.
One of Tippins’ first acts after taking over in mid-April was to rename the complex. Three years after first opening in July 2009, it is now known as The Residences at Burien Town Square.
Until then, Tippins had never been to Burien, and he was immediately impressed with what he saw. “I believe it’s a special place,” Tippins said of the city.
Once on the job here, he made ST’s number one goal “to get involved with the community. It’s important for us to get involved with the community and work with other businesses.”
Following a lengthy restructuring – driven by the recession – after taking ownership of The Residences at Burien Town Square in October 2010, ST Residential now has a public presence with a booth at the weekly local Farmers Market and the annual Wild Strawberry Festival.
They also were a sponsor for the Cove to Clover fun run in March, which is a local fundraiser for the Highline Food Bank, and will participate in the Pie Joust later this month.
“We want to let people know we are selling,” Tippins noted.
But ST Residential isn’t stopping there. They are involved in producing a video on “rediscover Burien,” which “we’re doing as a community effort.”
Featuring interviews with Burien City Council members and local business and professional leaders, the video is “not just about this building. It will show what’s happening here.
“It will show Burien is “a business place. It’s about their businesses. It’s a community video about Burien.”
Release of the video is anticipated later this month or in early September. It will then be placed on You Tube and Facebook.
“We’re also about to launch a big broker special that will provide new incentives for buyers and brokers. Brokers are partners in the community. They’re the folks that bring buyers in.”
Condos “a Value”
Turning his attention to the still-vacant condominiums, Tippins said “it’s a price point that’s unmatched. We are a value compared to a lot of condo projects in Seattle.
“Seattle’s inventory is shrinking and driving people this way. We have inventory. A lot of the traffic is coming for folks who don’t want to pay as much” as they would there.
And with the 10-year property tax exemption incentive at Town Square, buyers “can save real money,” he added.
As of late July, sales of 16 of the 124 condos had closed. Another 12 offers were in escrow, and two new offers had been made, according to Peter Marino, spokesman for ST Residential.
This compares to only six condos sold from July to September 2009, when Urban Partners, developer of the complex, lost the property after Corus Bank, which held the construction loan, was closed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Sales were then put on hold until ST Residential restructured prices and put the condos back on the market late last year.
“We have been at Farmers Market every week since it opened in May and have been doing tours throughout the day,” Marino said. “This event sees about 30-50 people through a day on Thursday.
“We’ve seen our traffic increase as much as double some weeks as well as the offers. In May we had five deals, in June we had four offers.”
This increase in traffic is due in part of ST Residential offering its facilities to groups.
Marino said when ReMax Real Estate held their Summer Soiree event in the community room and courtyard in June, “about 150 people showed up and the team toured all evening.”
Homeowners there showed their own places to several guests, “and we received an offer from one of the people who was there.”
Tippins said “people just need to see this place. They have to experience it and have a great time and tell 10 people about it rather than me telling you about it. It has to be experienced.”
In addition to the condos, he called it “a value” because residences only have to walk across the street to take regional transportation or shop or eat at nearby restaurants.
And they “are working now on putting a Bocce ball court in the court yard and organizing a bike program for residents” at The Residences at Burien Town Square.
And windows of the vacant street-level retail space have been made available to the Burien Arts Commission. “They are slowly filling up with the works of local artists and we invite any artists with work to showcase to do it here.”
Subway Coming Soon
Except for the retail space at the corner of SW 152nd Street and 6th Ave SW, which is being turned into a Subway sandwich shop.
While no date for its opening has been announced, a Subway sign was installed above the door last weekend.
“We are looking for retailers that will activate the property as well as the city,” Tippins said. “We think we’re offering great incentives to the retail folks.
Retail there is seen “as an amenity to the building and so we’re looking for users who will complement that,” he continued.
“We’re having the most interest in retail space that we’ve had in recent months and feel that we’re really close to closing with some retail users.”
With the real estate market “getting hot again,” Tiippins said “we’re excited for what’s to come. It’s a passion for us to show people a building that’s healthy and as strong as anything you can imagine.”