Quadrant Homes Bails On Columbia City Developments

This one was buried in this weekend’s Seattle Times. It looks like Quadrant Homes is walking away from a number of Columbia City developments. For the more information on the proposed projects, be sure to check out the neighborhood Project/Development Map (again, a big thanks to Scott for maintaining!). From the TimesStudy:

Quadrant drops in-city project

In early 2014, Quadrant Homes announced plans to build dozens of town homes and sell them to Gen Y buyers in Seattle’s hot Columbia City neighborhood.

Priced from the mid-$300s to low-$500s, the New Urban Innovations brand was an effort by one of the Puget Sound region’s biggest homebuilders to meet strong demand for in-city homes at a time when large, undeveloped suburban tracts were becoming hard to find.

“For this company to grow, we’re going to take advantage of several different buying demographics,” said Quadrant Homes President Ken Krivanec in an interview last spring. “Gen Y is the focal point for New Urban.”

Now, in a reversal, the Bellevue-based homebuilder is selling off all its Columbia City parcels — 91 lots — by the first quarter of next year, Krivanec said last week.

He said he made the decision after Tri Pointe Homes acquired Quadrant and four other brand-name homebuilders in Weyerhaeuser’s real-estate unit in a transaction valued at about $2.8 billion.

Quadrant will focus on its core business of building single-family homes in the suburbs, where it has more experience.

“This decision was mine to bring to them and they were supportive of it,” he said.

Coming out of the Great Recession, the traditional suburban homebuilder had decided to launch a brand of urban homes to expand.

Quadrant’s production peaked at 1,391 deliveries in 2005; after the 2008 crash, its production hit a low of 340 homes in 2011. Last year it delivered 363 homes, according to Quadrant.

Always on the lookout for buildable land, Quadrant snatched up foreclosed real estate in Columbia City cheaply from banks during the downturn.

In 2011, Quadrant bought a half-acre from Sterling Savings Bank for $100,000, later obtaining permits for 16 town homes on the site, records show.

The next year it bought 24 undeveloped parcels for $800,000 from Union Bank.

Near the intersection of Rainier Avenue South and 42nd Avenue South, the company officials said it was planning another 52 town homes.

From March through August this year, Quadrant spent almost $2.7 million buying parcels from individual property owners for its Rainier Avenue South development, records show.

Quadrant drove piles into the ground earlier this year, but never started building.

With home prices in the Seattle area back to pre-crash levels and buildable land in urban areas scarce, Quadrant saw it could cash in on its lots in Columbia City without the homes.

“Land value in Seattle continues to grow,” Krivanec said. “The lots are worth a lot.”

— Sanjay Bhatt: sbhatt@seattletimes.com

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