Thanksgiving came early to a group of investors Wednesday as the Roosevelt Square Shopping Center in North Seattle was sold for $48.6 million, records indicate.

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Pacific Northwest

Thanksgiving came early to a group of investors Wednesday as the Roosevelt Square Shopping Center in North Seattle was sold for $48.6 million, records indicate.

The plaza at Northeast 65th Street and Roosevelt Avenue Northeast contains a Whole Foods, Dania furniture, Bartell Drugs and other stores. The property was bought for $7.8 million in 1996, then redeveloped two years later by Seattle-based TRF Northwest for an estimated $26 million.

The new owner, according to King County records, is a property fund run by investment giant TIAA-CREF, which has been active buying and selling real estate in the Seattle area this year. TIAA-CREF and TRF Northwest could not be reached for comment Wednesday.


Bond researchers

wary of WaMu

The bond-research firm Gimme Credit called Washington Mutual a turkey this week, saying it is one of 11 companies whose debt is likely to underperform in coming months.

The firm expects the mortgage industry to face headwinds because of potential real-estate bubbles, riskier products and weaker customer-credit quality. It named WaMu and Countrywide as potential underperformers.

WaMu spokesman Alan Gulick took the criticism in a holiday spirit.

“We have a lot of flexibility to help us manage through what looks to be a challenging environment. We feel WaMu has all the fixings for a complete Thanksgiving dinner,” he said.

Interstate Bakeries

Baker to cut 300

jobs in Northwest

Interstate Bakeries said Tuesday it plans to lay off 450 workers, 300 in the Northwest, as it consolidates operations in three regions across the country.

The bankrupt baker of Wonder Bread and Hostess Twinkies said it will cut store clerks, salespeople and delivery people in nine states by the end of the year. Interstate spokeswoman Maya Pagoda would not say how many of the 300 job cuts in its six-state Northwest region would occur in Washington, but she said they were in addition to the previously announced layoff of 200 workers at its Lakewood bakery, now in the process of being closed.

Kansas City, Mo.-based Interstate Bakeries has shut seven bakeries and eliminated more than 4,000 jobs since it filed for bankruptcy in September 2004.


Sale of shares

boosts Seattle firm

Emeritus Assisted Living said it expects to book a fourth-quarter gain of about $34 million from selling about 2 million shares in Brookdale Assisted Living.

The Seattle company wound up with twice that many shares from a prior investment in Alterra Healthcare, which later merged with Brookdale. Emeritus sold the first half of its Brookdale stake in June for a gain of $21 million.

Pacific Northwest


State seeks buyer

for doomed mill

Gov. Christine Gregoire is leading the search for someone to take over Weyerhaeuser’s doomed southwestern Washington pulp mill, but the state will have a tough time finding many qualified buyers.

Weyerhaeuser has tested the market for the 50-year-old mill in Cosmopolis and found few takers, company spokesman Frank Mendizabal said Wednesday. “There really wasn’t a viable buyer. That’s why we announced the closure,” Mendizabal said.

Gregoire and legislators from the area want to study the potential market for the mill, with the governor pledging $50,000 for the effort.

Weyerhaeuser has agreed to participate, preparing a prospectus for would-be buyers and promising to work with state consultants. The company announced last month its plans to shutter the Cosmopolis mill, cutting about 245 jobs.


Brazil airline

adds to jet order

Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, Brazil’s third-biggest airline, added five planes to its order for Boeing aircraft.

The São Paulo-based airline will exercise five options for Boeing 737 aircraft, increasing its firm backlog of orders for the planes to 65, according to a statement. Gol said it will take delivery on the aircraft between 2006 and 2012.


Free-software rivals

seek to join EU case

Microsoft’s free-software competitors have asked a European Union court for permission to join EU regulators in an antitrust dispute with the company.

The Free Software Foundation Europe, which represents developers of programs such as Linux and Samba, an open-source replacement for Microsoft Windows’ networking features, asked to be interveners in an appeal at the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg.

Microsoft is appealing a decision by the European Commission, the EU’s antitrust regulator, ordering it in March 2004 to offer a version of Windows without a video and music player and to disclose secrets about its operating system software.

Microsoft also filed a separate suit Aug. 10 at the European court, saying that the European regulator’s order that it license information to developers of open-source products violates its intellectual property rights.

Advocates of open-source programs remain the EU’s main supporter in the case against Microsoft as businesses reach settlements with the company.

Ballard Power Systems

Firm looks to China

for research partner

Ballard Power Systems, the biggest maker of automotive fuel cells, is in talks with Chinese companies as it seeks research and manufacturing partners in the nation, Chairman John Sheridan said.

The talks are at the “early stages,” Sheridan told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday. He declined to identify the potential partners or say how much the Vancouver, B.C.-based company, which is partly owned by DaimlerChrysler and Ford Motor, plans to invest in the world’s third-largest vehicle market.

“We think it would make sense to have at least one research partner, a university, and a commercial partner as well, whether that would become two or one we are not sure at this stage,” he said.

Nation / World

Placer Dome

$9.2 billion bid

called inadequate

Gold-mining company Placer Dome on Wednesday said its board is recommending shareholders reject a $9.2 billion takeover bid by Barrick Gold, calling the offer “inadequate” and “opportunistic.”

Toronto-based Barrick had offered last month to buy Placer Dome for cash and stock in a deal that would create the world’s largest gold producer. At the time, a Barrick spokesman called the bid a “friendly unsolicited offer.”

Among the reasons for recommending against the offer, Vancouver, B.C.-based Placer said its own gold production is expected to increase while Barrick’s production is predicted to decrease by 2010; Barrick’s offer doesn’t reflect an adequate premium for control of Placer and the consideration offered represents a discount to the current trading price of Placer’s common shares.

United Auto Workers

Judge asked to deny

Delphi bonus plan

The United Auto Workers union is asking a bankruptcy-court judge to reject Delphi’s plan to reward executives with cash bonuses and stock options if the auto supplier emerges from bankruptcy.

Judge Robert Drain was expected to consider the issue at a hearing Nov. 29, but Delphi asked that to be delayed so it could have more time to consider the objections, spokeswoman Claudia Piccinin said Wednesday. The new hearing is set for Jan. 5.

On the day before Delphi filed for bankruptcy last month, the company said it was boosting the severance packages for 21 top executives. Under the new agreement, executives will be eligible for 18 months of pay if Delphi lays them off.


Advertisers given

more latitude

Google is allowing advertisers to bid different prices for spots appearing on its search engine and other Web sites to give them more control over placement and cost.

Advertisers previously paid a single price for ads on and other Web sites, the company said Wednesday.

The changes reflect the company’s plan to attract more advertisers by giving companies more control over where their spots appear and how much they cost. Google made 99 percent of its $1.58 billion in third-quarter sales from advertising.

Compiled from Bloomberg News, Reuters and The Associated Press