Lennar Multifamily Communities and Weingarten Realty Investors announce construction start of The Whittaker; West Seattle’s gateway mixed-use T.O.D. multifamily development
SEATTLE (Dec 29, 2014) – Lennar Multifamily Communities has secured financing and construction has begun on The Whittaker. The project consists of 389 apartments and approximately 70,000 square feet of retail. The Whittaker is located at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW in West Seattle and is collaboration between Lennar Multifamily Communities and Weingarten Realty Investors with Lennar obtaining equity financing through a joint venture with GID and debt financing from Wells Fargo Bank.
To mark the commencement of construction, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on November 13, 2014. Attendees included West Seattle-born Jim Whittaker, the project’s namesake and a native of West Seattle. Mr. Whittaker was the first American to summit Mt. Everest and was the first full-time employee and CEO of Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI).
Located at the threshold of West Seattle’s Alaska Junction commercial district, The Whittaker represents the new face of redevelopment for this important neighborhood gateway. The Whittaker will be a mixed-use, transit-oriented, multifamily apartment development that focuses on the relationship between modern living and the healthy Northwest outdoors lifestyle. The building will be anchored by a Whole Foods Market, a company which shares the ideology of healthy living, and which the neighborhood has been eager to welcome for many years.
The design of the building was inspired by Jim Whittaker and the ethos of the Pacific Northwest, with outdoor inspired finishes and natural materials and open-air gathering spaces. Public amenities and benefits include gathering spaces with seating amid custom artwork, water features, and a rain garden, as well as widened and landscaped public sidewalks along Fauntleroy and Alaska. Common area amenities for the residential portion include a fitness center and yoga studio on the second floor and a large courtyard on the third floor. The property will also include a two level rooftop deck on the north building. Both roof decks will feature views of Mount Rainier, Elliott Bay and Downtown Seattle. Units will feature stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops and tile backsplashes in the kitchens, and faux wood plank flooring through the living area.
The project is the first collaboration between Lennar Multifamily Communities and Weingarten Realty Investors. "We are thrilled to have started construction on this exciting project." said Brad Reisinger, president of Lennar Multifamily Communities in Seattle. The project represents Lennar’s first multifamily construction start in the City of Seattle. Lennar Multifamily Communities’ has also started construction on 344 units in Issaquah where they are redeveloping the now demolished Gilman Square retail center. In addition, Lennar Multifamily Communities has 541 units planned in three projects within Seattle. Reisinger added, “This is an exciting time for Lennar Multifamily Communities as we start construction our first project in Seattle whose namesake is an inspiration to all of us who grew up in shadows of the Mountain. We are appreciative of our partners at GID, Weingarten and Whole Foods for their perseverance through the planning and approval process.”
Echoing the sentiment is Lance Sherwood, Senior Development Manager at Weingarten Realty Investors, “I’m very happy that we were able to develop a relationship with Jim (Whittaker) that allowed us showcase his accomplishments as inspiration for what will certainly be an iconic and integral development in the neighborhood. “The West Seattle business community has been welcoming of the project, as future residents of the Whittaker will infuse the Junction commercial district and other West Seattle businesses with new life, when the first of 389 apartments open in winter of 2016. “I think I can speak for the majority of our membership in saying that we are ready for the infusion of vitality that The Whittaker and Whole Foods will bring,” said Nancy Woodland, Chair of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce. “I know many businesses that are eager for the addition of customers and an improved entryway into the Alaska Junction. It creates a greater sense of community when people are able to live, shop and play in the same place.”
GID of Boston Massachusetts partnered with Lennar Multifamily Communities on the residential component of the project. This joint venture is the first between GID and Lennar Multifamily Communities. Matt Stuart, Vice President and Director of Western Region Acquisitions at GID commented, “GID is pleased to have formed our first partnership with Lennar Multifamily Communities and hope that this will lead to subsequent opportunities between the two firms.” Lennar and GID secured construction financing from Wells Fargo Bank.
About Lennar Multifamily Communities
Lennar Multifamily Communities is a real estate investment company started by the Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN), one of the nation’s leading homebuilders, as an initiative to combine its financial and entrepreneurial strength with favorable apartment fundamentals nationwide. Founded in 2011, Lennar Multifamily Communities is focused on assembling a geographically diverse portfolio of institutional quality multifamily properties using both a development and value-add acquisition strategy in select U.S. markets. Lennar Multifamily Communities co- invests with both institutional and private equity partners, providing the partnerships with fully integrated service capabilities, including development management, construction management, asset management and property management. Lennar Multifamily Communities’ investment strategy is a market research based approach, focusing on risk-adjusted yields on properties in quality urban, Transit Oriented and suburban locations. For additional information about Lennar Multifamily Communities, please visit the "Investor Relations" section of the Company's Web site, www.lennar.com.
About Weingarten Realty
Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE: WRI) is a shopping center owner, manager and developer. At September 30, 2013, the Company owned or operated under long-term leases, either directly or through its interest in real estate joint ventures or partnerships, a total of 273 properties, which are located in 21 states spanning the country from coast to coast. These properties represent approximately 50.4 million square feet of which our interests in these properties aggregated approximately 30.1 million square feet of leasable area. To learn more about the Company’s operations and growth strategies, please visit www.weingarten.com.
￼￼￼GID is a privately held, globally diversified, and fully integrated real estate organization founded in 1960 that employs over 600 real estate professionals in multiple offices throughout the United States. During its 54 year history the company has acquired or developed over 60,000 residential units and in excess of 15 million square feet of commercial space. As of August 20, 2014, GID controls a real estate portfolio consisting of 81 existing properties located in 16 states, comprised of 66 multifamily properties totaling 18,312 residential units (including 586,615 square feet of commercial and retail space) and 15 office and flex/industrial properties totaling 4.6 million square feet. In addition, GID has 15 multifamily properties under development in seven states consisting of 4,290 residential units. For more information about GID, please visit www.gid.com.
￼About Jim Whittaker
Jim Whittaker, internationally renowned mountaineer, adventurer and environmentalist, is best known as the first American to summit Mt. Everest, on May 1, 1963. A visionary business and community leader, Jim was the first full-time employee of one of the country’s largest outdoor retailers, Recreational Equipment, Inc. – REI – retiring as its President and CEO after 25 years with the company. Jim is a talented and inspirational public speaker, who has given presentations to hundreds of corporations and organizations for more than four decades. He has led numerous, high-profile climbing expeditions, including the first ascent of Mt. Kennedy (with Senator Robert Kennedy) in the Canadian Yukon in 1965, the first American ascent of K2 in 1978, and the spectacularly successful Mt. Everest International Peace Climb in 1990. He is an accomplished blue-water sailor, having twice skippered his own boats on the 2,400-mile Victoria-to-Maui International Yacht Race. He and his wife Dianne Roberts, along with their two sons, made a four-year, 20,000-mile Pacific sailing journey to Australia and back to their home in Port Townsend, Washington, aboard their 54-foot steel ketch, Impossible. Jim is the author of the best-selling, award-winning memoir, A Life on the Edge: Memoirs of Everest and Beyond. For additional information about Jim Whittaker, please visit: www.jimwhittaker.com.
About Whole Foods
Founded in 1978 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (www.wholefoodsmarket.com) is the leading retailer of natural and organic foods and America's first national “Certified Organic” grocer. In fiscal year 2013, the Company had sales of approximately $13 billion and currently has 367 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Whole Foods Market employs approximately 80,000 team members and has been ranked for 16 consecutive years as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America by Fortune magazine.