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SEATTLE-Once slated for offices, a hotel, a 30-screen movie theater and 450 apartment units, a 12.8-acre lot here at the center of an environmental legal battle has been put up for sale.

Simon Property Group, the Indianapolis-based developer that owns the property, is asking $25 million for the site located on the south side of Northgate Mall, a popular north-end shopping center owned by Simon Property.

The land has attracted the attention of environmental preservationists because of a long-buried creek running under one end of the property. Members of the Thornton Creek Defense Fund had asked that the creek be brought to the surface as part of the development. Developers, insisting that the creek is nothing more than a drainage ditch, refused.

The property, listed by C.B. Richard Ellis, has received interest by some local developers, although potential buyers will have to be prepared for plenty of public input. In addition to the underground creek, the property is zoned for a mix of uses and has been the focus of intense community planning discussions. A portion of the property has already been tentatively slated for transit development and some Northgate residents are pushing for the property to be the site of a proposed library, community center and city park.

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