Downtown Olympia’s core is on the brink of getting its first market-rate housing in more than three decades. The Olympia City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on an agreement to sell a half block on Columbia Street between Forth and Fifth Avenue to Colpitts Development Co. of Seattle for $270,000 so it can build about 120 apartments.
“Outstanding,” said Councilman Joe Hyer, who recruited Colpitts to build the project. He said the project would be the spark for new housing in the downtown core.
“The folks at Colpitts are actually chomping at the bit to get another piece of property,” he said.
The building would mark a major change on a lot now used for parking. The building would have as many as five stories, with retail on the ground floor, said Subir Mukerjee, assistant city manager. The apartments would range from studios to perhaps two-bedroom units. Hyer said they could cost $1,100 to $1,500 a month.
Mukerjee said he was unclear when the apartments would open. The agreement says the city wouldn’t sell the land to Colpitts until within 120 days of approval of a cleanup plan and no later than the end of 2008.
Hyer said the only negative effect of the sale is that the city would lose 80 parking spaces, 50 of which are leased. He said the city would work to find parking for people who are displaced.
Colpitts would get the lot at a discount. It is appraised at $500,000 to $600,000, Hyer said, and is being sold for less because the sale comes with a deed restriction that the site must be used for housing. That reduced the lot’s value in a second appraisal.
By Matt Batcheldor — The Olympian