More Town Center construction ahead

A worker climbs the crane at the Aviara mixed-use development along 76th Avenue S.E. facing the senior living building, Aljoya. The Mercer Phase II mixed-use development will be built to the south of Aljoya. - Matt Brashears/Contributed Photo
A worker climbs the crane at the Aviara mixed-use development along 76th Avenue S.E. facing the senior living building, Aljoya. The Mercer Phase II mixed-use development will be built to the south of Aljoya.
— image credit: Matt Brashears/Contributed Photo

More construction will begin soon in Mercer Island’s Town Center. Phase II of The Mercer is in the process of finalizing its design to meet city building codes. A building permit is in process but has yet to be issued, city planners said. The site for the residential project is along 76th Avenue S.E. and is bounded on the north by Aljoya, on the south by the Starbucks drive-thru and on the east by its sister building, The Mercer.

Demolition of buildings that remain on the site is nearly complete.

Drawings of the project under review at the city indicate that the four-plus-story, 138,000-square-foot building will include 85 apartments. The drawings indicate the building will use the maximum height allowed by zoning, which is 65 feet in elevation.

The design also includes 44,500 square feet of parking underground for 151 cars; 1,884 square feet of office space and 1,739 square feet of professional services space.

Of the 85 apartments, 34 are studios, 35 are one-bedroom and 15 are two bedrooms.

George Steirer, principal planner for the city, said that once the final building permit is issued, it will likely take 18 months for construction.

Both The Mercer and its sister development are owned by James Cassan and Dollar Development of Mercer Island.

Across the street from the newest building site, construction on the Aviara mixed-use project continues.

The finished building will have an estimated 166 residential units, and 312 parking spaces with 85 set aside for business customers. A total of 12,000 square feet will be for retail spaces, a restaurant or professional offices.

To the south of Aviara is the  Hudsman property, the site of the strip mall at the corner of S.E. 27th Street and 76th Avenue S.E. It sold late last year. The property includes the Islander Pub, the True Value hardware store, and a Washington state liquor store.

According to the King County Assessor’s office, the parcel sold on Nov. 8, 2011, for $8 million to an entity called MI 2615 LLC.

It will most likely be developed to a mixed-use residential over commercial building similar to the adjacent developments. The site is zoned under Town Center development and design standards, according to Tim Stewart, director of Mercer Island Development Services. That would allow four or five stories of mixed use and include both commercial and residential uses, he said.

Next door to the Mercer Phase II is Aljoya, a senior living facility that opened in September 2008 with 114 apartments. The four-plus-story building has one, two and three-bedroom suites that range in size between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet.

The facility is 94 percent full, said Aljoya’s Molly Cole. “We have many people on a ‘waiting list,’ who are not quite ready to move in now, but plan to in the future,” she said.

More apartments downtown

With the completion of the Mercer Phase II, there will be 85 more apartments in the Town Center.

Aviara, located across the street, is also under construction and will add  166 units.

Aljoya, finished in 2008 and next to the Mercer Phase II project, has 114 apartments available to seniors.

The Mercer, completed in 2006, has 235 apartments.


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