In 2011, MJR Development, a Kirkland-based commercial real estate company, took an interest in Lacey and its Woodland Square Loop area. That’s where they bought the Sixth & Woodland building — distinctive for its clock tower.
Two years later, they bought six more office buildings in the area that were left largely vacant following the Great Recession. They’ve been in redevelopment mode ever since.
Here are the accomplishments to date:
▪ Sixth & Woodland: Sixty percent leased; largest tenant is a military-related health care business called Medcom.
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▪ 676 properties: Three buildings. One is entirely occupied by the state Employment Security Department, while the others are home to Ricardo’s Kitchen and Bar, The Hub (see box), Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, McSwain & Company, and KPFF Consulting Engineers. Glass and steel reverse awnings have been added to entrances. There’s new landscaping — with more to come — and a pocket park.
▪ 605 property: A mental health hospital has shown interest in the building, but partner Mark Lahaie said they are putting together a deal for the state to occupy space.
▪ 621 property: Future market-rate housing by either tearing down and starting over or expanding the existing site. They envision 120 units of housing, Lahaie said.
▪ College Street building: Recently gutted and repainted, it was once home to a Harborstone Credit Union branch but is now vacant. Ideally suited for four tenants, Lahaie said, with two on the upper floor and two on the bottom floor.
▪ Two undeveloped lots: Both lots flank Seventh Avenue Southeast at College Street. One is nothing more than lawn, but it could become home to a small building, he said. The other lot is home to a mature stand of Douglas firs. That site is envisioned for mixed-use development, including residences.
But how will MJR handle the removal of those trees?
The company ran afoul of the city and the public when it cut down mature trees as part of its redevelopment effort with the wrong permit. They had to apply to the city for an after-the-fact forest practices permit.
When it comes time to developing that forested site at Seventh Avenue and College Street, they will work closely with the city, Lahaie said.
“We will follow the proper channels,” he said.
Owners: Mike Raskin, partner and founder; Mike McClure, partner; Mark Lahaie, partner; Christian LaRocco, partner.
Location: Company is based in Kirkland, but in Thurston County, it is leasing and redeveloping seven office buildings in the Woodland Square Loop-area of Lacey, which is near Huntamer Park.
Type of business: Commercial real estate company.
Years in business: Founded in 1991.
Other notable South Sound projects: MJR developed two office buildings that flank Lakewood City Hall.
Did you know? Partner Mark Lahaie, who lives in Thurston County, worked for the state Department of Enterprise Services in its real estate division. That’s the agency that oversees state office properties.
The Hub: A grand opening is 4:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at The Hub, a 4,000-square-foot space next to Ricardo’s Kitchen and Bar. The space is open to the public and building tenants during the work week and can be rented after hours and on weekends. It has roll-up doors on the north and south sides. There’s a fireplace in the north lobby. The space recently hosted a Gateway Rotary fundraiser called Brats, Brews and Bands festival.