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Originally published November 10, 2012 at 8:01 PM | Page modified November 11, 2012 at 11:16 AM

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Top developer will live in huge Via 6 apartment complex — briefly

Seattle Times business staff

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Matt Griffin takes marketing personally.

Next March the Seattle developer and his wife, Evelyn Rozner, plan to move into a one-bedroom, 700-square-foot, 10th-floor apartment in Via 6, the twin-tower downtown complex on Sixth Avenue that Griffin’s Pine Street Group and its pension-fund partners are nearly finished building.

They’ll stay a month, Griffin says, and host a succession of gatherings to show off the unit, and the 24-story project, to their friends.

The idea is to generate some word-of-mouth buzz.

“I think it’ll be fun,” Griffin says. “I’d really like our friends to see it. I don’t know who they run into.”

Via 6 should be finished in February; it’s already started preleasing, with rents averaging around $3 a square foot. At 654 units, the $200 million project between Lenora and Blanchard streets will be Seattle’s second-largest apartment complex.

It doesn’t hurt that the project is just across the street from’s proposed three-tower high-rise office development.

Almost all of Via 6’s 16,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space has been leased, Griffin says — most of it to celebrity restaurateur Tom Douglas, who will open a coffee shop, restaurant, bakery and market.

Griffin is a fervent convert to downtown living. After their month at Via 6, he and Rozner will relocate back to their condo in the Seaboard Building on Westlake Park, a few blocks away.

-- Eric Pryne, epryne@seattletimescom

Windstar Cruises sails past financial storm

A year and a half ago Seattle-based Windstar Cruises might have seemed headed for the rocks as parent company Ambassadors International, weighed down by debt, sought bankruptcy protection.

But the operator of small-ship cruises was purchased out of Chapter 11 for $39 million by an arm of Philip Anschutz’s business empire, and it has done more than just keep afloat.

CEO Hans Birkholz says advance bookings point to a fourth year of double-digit revenue growth in 2013, although “it’s a tough market out there.”

The company has poured $18 million into renovating its three large yachts, which sport four or five masts and carry 148 to 310 passengers.

The improvements include updated staterooms and public areas, as well as fresh sails for all three ships — 72,500 square feet in total, Birkholz says.

Windstar, which employs 60 here and an additional 360 on the three yachts, operates cruises primarily in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

It also does summer voyages in the North Atlantic and Baltic, and Birkholz says that last summer a cruise from Stockholm to St. Petersburg, Russia, and back became the company’s first trip to yield $1 million in sales.

-- Rami Grunbaum

Selig seeks some help with leasing

Veteran Seattle office developer Martin Selig has always done just about everything in-house, including finding tenants for his buildings.

So it raised a few eyebrows in commercial real-estate circles this past week when brokerage CBRE announced it was partnering with Selig’s leasing folks to market his two-building 635/645 Elliott office complex, on the Seattle waterfront near the Magnolia bridge.

Selig acknowledges he’s never retained outside brokers before. “The combination of their team and our team — we’re really looking forward to it,” he said.

The four-story 635/645 project, completed in late 2009, has been a challenge to fill.

The 190,000-square-foot 635 building remains empty, and about 40 percent of the space in the 140,000-square-foot 645 building still is available, according to commercial real-estate database

Selig had a letter of intent in 2010 from biotech Dendreon to take all of 635 for 15 years, but the company backed out, choosing instead to move its headquarters to downtown’s Russell Investments Center and its labs to South Lake Union.

Selig says he pitched 635 to, whose appetite for Seattle office space seems bottomless, but it was a bit too far from the giant online retailer’s other buildings in South Lake Union and the Denny Triangle.

He’s still holding out for a tenant who would lease the entire building.

“We’re going to be just fine,” the ever-optimistic developer said.

-- Eric Pryne, epryne@seattletimescom

Comments? Rami Grunbaum: 206-464-8541 or

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