EVERETT, WA-Days after residents agreed to support a rezone that would allow for a 32-unit apartment or condominium complex to be built on the corner of 32nd St. and Grand Avenue, Grand Avenue Investments, a group that includes property owner Roy Thorsen, has added a new twist.

Instead of apartments or condominiums, the group now wants to build an office complex. The announcement frustrates residents of the 1900s era neighborhood, who had finally agreed to a compromise with the developers that would have dropped the number of proposed housing units from 52 to 32.

Jim Miller, a consultant who represents Grand Avenue Investments, says his clients’ change of heart stems from the fact that the reduced number of housing units was financially unfeasible, especially considering that the plan calls for a parking garage that would cost more than $300,000 to construct. By building office space instead of residential space, Miller says his clients can charge twice the $4 to $6 per sf in rent they could charge for residential units.

The proposed rezone and 32-unit project was slated for a public hearing before the city council last week but was pulled from the agenda because of the latest changes. The project is now slated for an Oct. 18 public hearing, at which time the city council will decide whether to send a rezone and project proposal back to the city’s planning commission for consideration in early 2001. If the council doesn’t send it back, the property owner will have to wait another year until the annual update of the city’s comprehensive plan.

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