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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - Page updated at 10:44 AM

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"Wine village" plan growing

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

A "wine village" on the south edge of Woodinville, originally planned as an 18-acre, $52 million project, has jumped to 24 acres at $170 million with the addition of an international development partner.

Jones Lang LaSalle, a firm specializing in finding money for capital projects, has agreed to join the Woodinville Village venture and raise the remaining $150 million needed to complete the expanded project, said developer Mike McClure, of Kirkland's MJR Development.

The changes promise to draw more activity to a tourism area that already attracts hundreds of thousands of people a year for activities like wine tasting and concerts.

Construction is expected to start this summer, with an opening in the summer of 2007.

Plans for the 640,000-square-foot Woodinville Village include 104,000 square feet of retail space, a gourmet grocer, a half-dozen restaurants, 275 condominiums, four wineries, a spa, a 100-plus-room hotel and more than 1,500 people living and working at the site daily. The wineries are DeLille Cellars, DiStefano Wines, Brian Carter Cellars and the Washington Wine Co.

The concept is to emulate Italian villages, with their mix of a public square and other gathering points, said co-developer Mike Raskin. The village design calls for buildings of one to four stories in a Tuscan motif, viewing the river and Mount Rainier and within walking distance of such other attractions as Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia wineries, Redhook Ale Brewery and the Sammamish River Trail.

Woodinville already is home to some 40 wineries.

The condos are expected to range in price from $300,000 to more than $1 million, Raskin said, and are to include an existing apartment development along the Sammamish River that will be converted to condos. About 400 people have already signed up on a condo waiting list, McClure said.

Marketing studies showed 20,000 cars pass the development site on Highway 202 daily, about 500,000 tourists visit the Woodinville tourist-and-winery area annually, and about 177,000 people — with a mean household income of $96,309 — live within five miles of the Woodinville Village property.

Steve Munson, Community Development Department planner for the project, said the work should proceed on schedule.

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"It's moving along as you'd expect," he said. "I would say generally supporters are looking forward to this project."

The project has no organized opposition, Munson said.

The project started in 1999, when McClure and Raskin were having a beer at Redhook and came up with the idea for a small wine-tasting room, of maybe 5,000 square feet.

Raskin shakes his head in disbelief over what's grown out of that original bantering on the deck of the brewery.

The pair acquired property across from the landmark Hollywood Schoolhouse along Highway 202, or the Redmond-Woodinville Road, at Northeast 145th Street and later added to it. In August 2004 they announced plans to build an 18-acre complex that would include wineries, restaurants, small shops, 270 apartments and condominiums and a grocery.

"The project keeps growing," McClure said. "We started with eight or nine acres. It's 24 acres now."

And the investment, which started at $20 million and had gone to $52 million by last summer, has since more than tripled.

After years of negotiation with the city and neighbors, the project won city of Woodinville approval last year.

A key step was reaching an agreement with Jones Lang LaSalle, a real-estate money-management and services firm that is a member of Forbes magazine's Platinum 400 companies, with annual revenues of $1.4 billion. The company specializes in providing access to global capital markets — in effect, finding money.

Raskin said the capital might come from either a single investor or some combination.

The agreement with Jones Lang LaSalle shows an emerging global interest in the Seattle area, Raskin said.

"There is so much outside capital focused on the Seattle market now compared to other areas," he said. "We'll become much more on the map. I think we're going to see a lot more interest."

Peyton Whitely: 206-464-2259 or pwhitely@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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