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Construction central

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter The Chevron gas station at 78th Avenue S.E. and Sunset Highway was torn down last week to make way for 7700 Central, a mixed-use facility with189 residential apartments and 25,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The tear-down leaves the Island with four gas stations. -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter The Chevron gas station at 78th Avenue S.E. and Sunset Highway was torn down last week to make way for 7700 Central, a mixed-use facility with189 residential apartments and 25,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The tear-down leaves the Island with four gas stations.
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Activities continue in the Town Center with new demolition, on-going construction, future plans submissions and awards for recently completed projects.

Last Wednesday, the Sunset Chevron gas station and foodmart was demolished for the latest planned development, the 7700 Central. The new building will take up an entire block that touches S.E. 27th Street, Sunset Highway and 77th Avenue S.E. The gas station closed after March 31 but demolition crews are still removing the three 15,000 gallon gas tanks. The city has issued the necessary permits and crews were digging Tuesday. Other structures, including the old Cleaner’s Plus 1 and Coldwell Banker offices will be taken down in the coming weeks as well. The 7700 Central will be a mixed use development planned for 189 residential apartments, 25,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 316 parking spaces. Construction is estimated to last 18 months.

Down the street, a formal application has been filed with the city for re-developing the old Safeway site. The application beat the changes to the development code currently under review by City Council but the project will have to comply with the new code if it doesn’t get approved by the design commission beforehand. Regardless, the new code may not affect the plans. The public plaza included in the application is large enough to comply with the new amendments. If the project and amendments are approved as proposed, then other future developments in that area, such as phase two of The Mercer, may be required to provide affordable housing.

Across S.E. 27th Street, Aljoya House, an apartment complex currently under construction, still has about 50 to 60 percent of its apartments available, Jena Owens, the vice president of marketing for ERA Living said. ERA owns and operates the Aljoya, which will have 112 independent and assisted living units available for people over 62-years-old.

“I’d have to say it has been very successful,” Owens said. “There has been a huge interest.”

Owens suggested people interested in getting an apartment should call for a reservation because representatives are available by appointment only. Construction is expected to be finished by May 2008.

Express Construction Co., Inc., the company that built The Mercer, recently received the Excellence in Construction Award for mix-use construction over $10 million from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Western Washington.

The project also included numbers that impressed the association. The Mercer required more than 17,000 yards of concrete and the 45,000 square feet of roofing was installed during 45 days of record breaking rainfall, forcing crews to work with moveable, temporary shelters. Express also finished at a rapid pace, completing 15 units every 10 days with up to 200 employees at a time.

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