Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has decided to give Triad Capital Partners an extra 60 days to pursue an agreement to transfer its Civic Square development rights to another company.
In October, Mayor Ed Murray held a news conference to announce Seattle would end its relationship with Triad Capital Partners as soon as possible and seek a new company to build the proposed Civic Square project across from City Hall.
Days earlier, a City Council candidate accused Triad of trying to strong-arm him into helping to settle a lawsuit against the company. Murray called the affair troubling.
Triad held a contract since 2007 to redevelop the city-owned downtown block. But the contract was set to expire Dec. 31 because the company hadn’t met certain conditions.
“The people of Seattle will be better served if this current agreement lapses, and we move forward with partners who represent the values of the city of Seattle,” Murray said at the Oct. 14 news conference, promising he wouldn’t consider another extension.
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But Triad will get a reprieve, after all, and maybe a chance to salvage some value from the project. Murray is giving the company 60 more days to try to transfer its project rights to another developer, a city spokeswoman said Wednesday.
“At the direction of the mayor, the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) is working to develop a path forward for the project without Triad’s involvement,” FAS spokeswoman Cyndi Wilder said in a statement Wednesday.
“FAS has agreed to engage in discussions for up to 60 more days to reach an agreement where Triad would assign its rights in this project to a new partner. The new partner is yet to be determined and would be subject to the city’s review and approval.”
Triad CEO Fred Grimm didn’t immediately return a request for comment Wednesday.
The property between Cherry and James streets and Third and Fourth avenues has been a hole in the ground since Seattle’s old public-safety complex was razed in 2005.
The plan has been for the city to transfer most of the property to Triad in exchange for the company building a $25 million Civic Square public plaza on part of the site, alongside a high-rise residential and office tower with lower-level retail spaces.
In October, Murray was bullish about the city starting over. Triad had been unable to get the project financed and moving despite two contract extensions.
“We’re in the midst of the largest development boom maybe since the Gold Rush, and the fact that this piece of property remains empty in the heart of the city is a little surprising,” the mayor said at the time, adding, “I believe … we can find a better deal.”
Now he wants to see the existing project continue with a new developer, Wilder said.
“The city’s interest is in seeing the project built in the most expeditious way. If we reach an agreement with Triad and a new partner now, the project could be completed more quickly than if the city goes through a search for a new partner at a later time. These discussions have the potential to keep the project alive and moving forward,” she said.
Triad will select the new company, with approval by the city, Wilder said.
“Active discussions are taking place, but there are multiple options, and the new partner is yet to be determined,” she said.
The 60-day reprieve isn’t technically a contract extension — the city is merely pausing before voiding the contract, Wilder said.
Murray vowed to sever ties with Triad after an executive with the company approached City Council candidate Jon Grant.
In return for Grant’s help, Triad Senior Vice President Brett Allen said he would try to help make a political committee funded by Grant’s enemies go away.
The company parted ways with Allen, who had spelled out the quid-pro-quo in a text message later made public.
Grant lost the race for Position 8 to Council President Tim Burgess.