Economic hardships delay downtown high-rise project

Construction on Federal Way’s Symphony project — the four-tower, mixed-use project approved by the city council July 2007 — may be delayed for up to a little more than one year, said city spokeswoman Linda Farmer.

Canadian developers United Properties announced the economy and hardships in securing financial backing are to blame for the delay. The city bought the property for $4.1 million and United Properties agreed to purchase it for $6.156 million.

The project was slated to break ground this past June on the four acres where the AMC Theaters once resided in downtown, director of economic development Patrick Doherty said. The city and United Properties currently have until September to close on the acreage.

The developer was expected to ask the city council on July 15 (after press time) to grant it a year’s extension on the purchase and construction of the land. This would give United Properties until Sept. 11, 2009 to begin work.

If approved, the extension would cost the city approximately $150,000 in carrying costs per year; United Properties has offered to pay this cost, Farmer said.

United Properties’ made the decision to request a postponement on the Symphony project after its lenders advised it to do so, Farmer said. Financial backer, Canada ICI Capital, provided United Properties a letter of promise to provide the necessary funding for the project, which will be constructed in 18-month phases. The letter was forwarded to the city.

The city council discussed this issue at its July 15 meeting (after press time) at City Hall. The council was expected to decide whether to grant the developer’s request for an extension. Check out for an update.

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