A Seattle real-estate developer with plans to build housing near Roosevelt High School has paid the city more than $3 million to satisfy court judgments against properties owned by landlords Hugh and Martha Sisley.
A Seattle development group with plans to build housing in the Roosevelt neighborhood has paid the city $3.48 million to satisfy court judgments against four properties owned by landlords Hugh and Martha Sisley, officials said Wednesday.
The payment by Roosevelt Development Group (RDG) ends a legal battle officials have been waging with the Sisleys since 2008, City Attorney Pete Holmes said in a news release describing the couple as slumlords.
It means RDG, which also holds development rights to many other Sisley properties in Roosevelt, will finally start to clean up those parcels and begin construction, the developer said.
“For more than two years, we’ve been hoping for a way to help end the logjam between the city and (the Sisleys),” RDG said in a statement, pledging to “focus on turning these blighted blocks in the heart of Roosevelt into a place the community can be proud of.”
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Though the judgments were levied for housing-code violations at 6515 16th Ave. N.E., 6317 15th Ave. N.E., 6530 15th Ave. N.E. and 6526 15th Ave. N.E., officials pressured the Sisleys by putting liens on their other properties, as well, said Viet Shelton, spokesman for Mayor Ed Murray.
Those liens prevented RDG from taking action, the developer said. The group has long-term ground leases for 51 properties in Roosevelt, which is undergoing significant change in anticipation of a new light-rail station opening in 2021.
“The judgments have been a problem in terms of RDG being able to move forward,” said Jeffrey Grant, a lawyer for the Sisleys.
“Now everybody, the city included, can stop spending time and effort and money trying to collect the judgments.”
Holmes called the payment a success for the city, and Murray, in a news release, said it marks a new beginning for a neighborhood long marred by rundown buildings.
Holmes and Murray held a news conference in March at a vacant Sisley property on Northeast 65th Street to announce the city would attempt to seize the small parcel as partial payment for the judgments and turn it into a pocket park.
Murray shelved that plan in May after real-estate developers and affordable-housing advocates opposed it, arguing for the city to instead have housing built.
Now that the Sisley judgments are settled, officials won’t be able to use them to seize the property.
But Shelton said the mayor is committed to using at least part of the RDG payment to acquire additional open space in Roosevelt
He said officials will work with RDG facilitate the construction of affordable housing.