Reprinted with permission from the March 13, 2003 edition of the Daily Journal of Commerce


March 13, 2003

Real Estate Editor

Testing the waters on Madison

The huge hole dug at the corner of Madison Street and 23rd Avenue -- for replacing the former Planned Parenthood building with 250 apartments, a Safeway and more -- is creating ripple effects among owners of nearby redevelopment sites.

Developer Val Thomas placed his Fratelli's site at 19th and Madison up for sale, as has the owner of the Oscar's nightclub property across from the new Safeway site.

Thomas said he's asking a rather stiff $5.38 million for the Fratelli's site, on which Thomas holds permits to develop 134 condos and 6,000 square feet of retail over underground parking.

Thomas has another condo project in construction a block away on 19th, totaling 47 loft-style condos.

Mark Mayo of Emerald Commercial Properties is marketing the Oscar's site. He's asking another stretched price of $2.6 million for the 17,560-square-foot site, on which Mayo says one could build 75 residential units.

The Deano's block across Madison from Oscar's. Meriland Dillard, who is seeking permits to redevelop the full block into housing and retail for owner Dean Falls, said he's still working through the early stages of permitting.

Dillard said he still hopes investors will emerge to back him in buying the block from Falls.

Mayo's marketing flyer for the Oscar's property echoes what observers say is why sites near the Safeway project would come up for sale now. Oscar's is "across from new development with a major grocery anchor," the flyer says.

To see construction of the apartments and grocery by developer Tom Lee and Cressey Development under way sends a strong message that this major project is happening, and the nearby owners are feeling out whether this puts a new premium on their properties.


Joe Nabbefeld can be reached at (206) 219-6518 or by e-mail at

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