New green apartments rise from old Everett car lot
Where a used car dealer stood for decades at the corner of Rucker and Pacific avenues, Potala Village now rises four stories above street level, 15 months after construction began in earnest.
A day before the Jan. 7 official grand opening, Potala Village community manager Peter Denton was busy with a pair of Apple iPads, electronically signing the lease for the first tenant who liked what he saw and moved in his furniture later the same day.
John Boomer was looking for an apartment in downtown, “something decent,” he said. “This is just ideal.”
“We're excited about this, to help launch a downtown community in Everett,” Denton said.
At the Jan. 8 ribbon cutting, developer and owner Lobsang Dargey confirmed two commercial tenants for Potala Village's 15,000 square feet of retail space. Mazatlan Restaurant will occupy space on the east side of the ground floor and Organics to Go will take 2,000 square feet on the west side. Lease terms were still being finalized. Retail space remains available between the two new businesses.
Dargey also announced that his company will build a four-story, 180-unit apartment complex above the new 60,000-square-foot, year-round Snohomish County farmers market that will occupy the west half of Grand Avenue between Hewitt Avenue and Wall Street.
Jeff Cymbaluk, whose family owns most of that half of the block, said they are in the midst of purchasing the former Goetz Meats building at the corner of Hewitt and Grand avenues. He said once the deal closes, construction on the market and apartment project could begin as soon as June.
Potala Village, owned and developed by Dargey Enterprises at a cost of $19.8 million, is the latest addition to downtown Everett's housing market, and also is the biggest by the number of units. Three blocks east, the Peninsula Apartments has 62 units with three vacancies as of mid-January. Two blocks east, Artspace Everett Lofts have 40 units, with one pending vacancy. Four blocks north, Library Place has 22 units, two of them vacant.
Denton said Potala Village's managers, Allied Group Inc., developed their rates in comparison with the Peninsula and Library Place. Potala's studios rent for $795 to $900 per month, one-bedroom units are $925 to $1,400 and two-bedroom units go for $1,295 to $1,550.
Rich Bratten, manager of Library Place and the Peninsula, said rents at Library Place start at $895 for a loft and go to $2,100 for a two-bedroom unit. At the Peninsula, studios rent for $850 to $975, one bedrooms are $925 to $1,225 and two bedrooms are $1,295 to $1,550.
Denton knows the units at Library Place have nicer appointments and more space than the apartments at Potala Village, but they're also more expensive. The Peninsula's apartments are also larger than comparable Potala units and Bratten said any vacancies are almost always filled by the end of the month.
Denton said Allied Group expects to have Potala Village fully leased by this summer and there appears to be demand for downtown apartments, judging by the few vacancies at Library Place, the Peninsula and Artspace Lofts.
Liam Cole, assistant manager of Artspace Lofts, said it took about six months to lease all 40 units in the building but there were a number of “tricky parameters.” All tenants must have some vocational tie to the arts and their income is limited to $40,400 per year for a couple, $35,400 a year for an individual. Rents are $750 to $850.
“It was an interesting lease-up, to say the least,” Cole said.
Denton won't face such restrictions as he attracts tenants.
“There's been positive feedback on Potala Village, but are there 108 people ready to move in?” asked Denton, who added, “We're getting calls saying, ‘I want to be in downtown Everett.'”
There's also variety among Potala's 25 different floor plans for the 108 units. The four corner units are all two-bedrooms and those on the fourth floor feature extra-high ceilings, Denton said.
Perks for Potala Village tenants include 24-hour access to a 3,000-square-foot rooftop lounge with Wi-Fi and two courtyards, underground parking, on-site maintenance and gym and a concierge service to walk dogs, water plants and take care of dry cleaning, Denton said. Potala is also 100 percent smoke-free.
Potala Village has a “built-green” certificate from the Master Builders Association of Snohomish and King counties and features recycled content, such as carpet fiber material, Denton said. It was hard to detect any tell-tale odor of fresh paint or new carpet on a pre-grand-opening tour of the facility. Even the electronic applications and signatures reflect the eco-friendly aspects of Dargey Enterprises by reducing paper use, he said.
“It's exciting to bring some revitalization to downtown Everett,” Denton said.
Everett City Council President Shannon Affholter is also excited about the potential of Potala Village jump-starting other projects in the city.
“It's great to see the energy taking place,” Affholter said. “It's a good quality project brought into the city of Everett and Labsang (Dargey) is doing a great job. The energy there will attract other capital investment.”
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