Mercer West brings more apartments

One of two small courtyards in the Mercer West. When done, it will be outfitted with some greenery and barbecue pits. - Celina Kareiva
One of two small courtyards in the Mercer West. When done, it will be outfitted with some greenery and barbecue pits.
— image credit: Celina Kareiva

Mercer West, the long awaited sister development to the Mercer East apartment complex could begin housing tenants as early as Christmas, if it receives its temporary certificate of occupancy as planned.

“We’re very close,” said Kenneth Lee project manager and analyst for Dollar Development, which is responsible for both phases of the construction.

Mercer West will resemble Mercer East, but with a slightly different décor and 85 units. Amenities include quartz countertops, floor-to-ceiling windows and backlit mirrors in the bathrooms, as well as two small courtyards. A skybridge between either  building will allow tenants to share  amenities. Preleasing has already begun, said Lee, who estimated that about a dozen deposits had been made.

“That’s substantial, especially during the holiday season when traffic slows down,” he explained, “We’re thinking it will fill up fairly quickly. The project across the street, Aviara, leased up in seven months and they have 170 units. We’re hopeful.”

Early leases indicate a mix of residents from both Seattle and the Eastside. Only a handful already live on the Island, said Lee. There are 34 studios, 36 one bedroom units and 15 two bedroom apartments. Of those 85, the Mercer West will also feature ten unique loft units. Lee says it’s hard to determine who will make up the rest of the tenant base. Demographics in the Mercer East have changed slightly since it first opened in 2007. What used to slope toward an older demographic, now includes a mix of young people from 25 to 50 years old.

City regulations require that all construction equipment be cleared and roads fully accessible during the holiday season, which has partly incentivized Dollar Development to quickly wrap construction. The Mercer West and Mercer East originally planned to go up at once but the recession and the completion of Island Square around the same time, pushed back the second phase of the project.

Dollar Development is also in the preliminary stages of a boutique Island hotel, planned for the old site of a Travelodge, off I-90.

“There’s no hotel on the Island now, so there’s nothing to compare it to,” explained Lee. “We have to look to Bellevue, but [the two cities] aren’t comparable. We’re still working to see if it will be viable.”

Lee said he thinks there’s a need for a hotel on the Island. Guests would likely be family members of residents, but no hotel partner has yet been selected. In the meantime, the demand for housing is high. The Mercer is 96 percent filled and Lee says the complex has higher retention rates than many other buildings on the Island, in part because of the level of activity in the area. The apartments are close to the Island’s retail core and amenities like Saturday breakfasts and holiday events allow for residents to mingle, further bolstering retention rates.

Depending on unit type and square footage, Mercer West says units will go for between $2.25 and $2.35 per square foot.


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