Pat Rants, president and chief executive of The Rants Group, a longtime commercial real estate business in Olympia, says the timing is right for a new condominium development in downtown Olympia.
The recession is over and there are plenty of opportunities to rent an apartment throughout downtown, he said.
“But there’s not a lot to buy,” said Rants, who met with The Olympian last week to talk about his new project.
Rants wants to bring a seven-story condo project to a vacant lot at 320 Columbia St. NW. The Bean & Gentry law firm was on that property until it was sold in 2008. Rants said he was ready to pursue a condo development there after the property was purchased, but then the recession came along and put everything on hold.
Now, he’s ready to move forward. The project is condos only, with two floors of above-ground parking, followed by five floors of condos, which will be large, ranging from 1,300 square feet to 2,400 square feet. In all, it will have 28 units.
Selling prices for the condos have yet to be determined, Rants said.
The property is zoned urban waterfront, but because it’s more than 200 feet from the shoreline, a seven-story building can be built on the site, he said.
The building and main entrance will face Columbia Street, offering views of the waterfront and beyond. Rants said the design will feature a lot of glass and have decks large enough to accommodate a table for six. Residents will access second-floor parking from Columbia Street, while first-floor parking will be accessed from Thurston Avenue.
Construction is expected to begin next year and be complete in about 18 months, he said.
The project’s location will offer a lot more than views: its neighbors are Gardner’s, the venerable surf and turf restaurant; Oly Taproom, a beer and pizza destination; and the Wine Loft. Nearby is 222 Marketplace, The Bread Peddler and Olympia Farmers Market.
“This is the right site,” Rants said.
He’s not worried about demand. Each floor will have a condo in the corner of the building, and already he has heard from several people who are interested in a condo where Columbia Street meets Thurston Avenue, arguably the best location for views.
Still, he said the entire building will have nice views.
The city of Olympia has received the land-use application for the project and has announced some upcoming dates for a neighborhood meeting and design review board meeting about the proposal.
The neighborhood meeting is set for 6 p.m. Dec. 20 at Olympia City Hall, 601 Fourth Ave. E. The design review board meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at Olympia City Hall.