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Originally published August 3, 2010 at 4:54 PM | Page modified August 3, 2010 at 8:56 PM

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High-rise apartment building planned near Colman Dock

Goodman Real Estate has submitted preliminary plans for a 15-story apartment building in downtown Seattle less than two blocks from Washington State Ferries' Colman Dock.

Seattle Times business reporter

Goodman Real Estate has submitted preliminary plans for a 15-story apartment building in downtown Seattle less than two blocks from Washington State Ferries' Colman Dock.

It's one of the first new development proposals to surface in the downtown core since the real-estate market collapsed two years ago. For Goodman, it represents a change from earlier plans to build a 12-story office building on the site, now a parking lot bounded by Western and Post avenues and Columbia and Marion streets.

The newly proposed apartment building, the Colman Tower, would have about 200 units on the sixth through 15th floors aimed at "young urban professionals," according to plans filed with the city's Department of Planning and Development. Parking and street-level retail would occupy the lower levels.

Goodman representatives did not return calls seeking more information. The city's Downtown Design Review Board is to consider the project Aug. 24.

Goodman's switch from office to apartments makes sense, said land-use economist Matthew Gardner.

While downtown office vacancies remain high, the high-end urban apartment market appears to be stabilizing, Gardner said, and it's much easier to get financing for apartment projects than other construction.

What's more, he added, Colman Tower probably won't be ready for tenants until at least late 2012 or early 2013, when the market may be healthier. "Goodman's timing is good," Gardner said.

Several new, large apartment projects have broken ground in Seattle in recent months despite the recession. Among them: Harbor Properties' Link Apartments in West Seattle, and Avalon Bay Communities' Avalon Queen Anne project in Lower Queen Anne.

At least one other downtown development proposal, Urban Visions' 35-story tower at Second Avenue and Pike Street, has been redesigned as an apartment project, in part to increase the likelihood of obtaining financing. Urban Visions' original plan was for a luxury hotel and condos.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct separates Goodman's Colman Tower property from the waterfront. If that aging roadway is demolished, Goodman could be sitting on a gold mine, Gardner said:

"Will (demolition of the Viaduct) increase property values exponentially? Absolutely."

The city's conceptional plans call for a waterfront boulevard and new public spaces once the viaduct is torn down. But, according to the state Department of Transportation's most recent plan, demolition won't occur until at least 2016, after a tunnel is built to replace the elevated highway. And the tunnel, which still faces political obstacles, is no sure thing.

Seattle-based Goodman Real Estate was founded by John Goodman in 1990. Its assets include more than 34,000 apartments and 2.5 million square feet of office and retail space, according to the firm's website.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or epryne@seattletimes.com

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