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WOODINVILLE, WA-After quickly mixing the proposal last week on its first reading, the city council has voted to allow residential uses in its tourist business district. The about face breathes new life into a proposed $50-million 480,000-sf downtown development by principals of Seattle-based MJR Development that blends the city’s popular wineries with restaurants and housing.”I think what happened was a bunch of the council members did some more research and got comfortable with the restrictions that will be in place,” MJR Principal Mike McClure tells GlobeSt.com. The restrictions include no ground-floor residential, a 12 unit per acre maximum, and a required development agreement with the city.As proposed, the wine village would rise on 18 acres at the intersection of State Route 202 and Northeast 145th Street. The development would include five stand-alone winery buildings totaling 50,000 sf on one portion of the property and a residential-over-retail development on the remainder that would consist of 140,000 sf of retail and restaurants beneath about 270,000 sf of residential, most likely condominiums. In addition, the project included underground parking and cobblestone walkways. The tentative groundbreaking date is mid-2005, with completion slated for late 2006. Last week, council members said they liked the wine village proposal but indicated they needed to “study” things in greater detail before approving projects that don’t mesh with its current Tourist District zoning. At that time, McClure told GlobeSt.com the project won’t fly without the residential component. “We could take down a smaller chunk of land and instead a smaller strip retail project, maybe 20,000 sf along the street, like what is already there,” he said. “But the whole premise is that we don’t think that is the right direction; it’s not going to create the kind of tourist destination development that the city is envisioning. We can handle a short delay (while they study the plans); we can’t handle a year-long delay. We have tenants that need to move in and have commitments from us when that will happen. We also have options on the land parcels that will expire.”The equity investors in the project include two MJR principals, founder Michael Raskin and McClure, and Arthur Rubinfeld, founder of the Seattle-based retail advisory firm Airvision. In November, the planning commission gave a do-pass recommendation to the city council, approving of the residential component but decreasing its proposed density to 12 units per acre from the 18 units per acre MJR had requested. The change would drop the project’s unit total from 270 to 200 but not change the amount residential square footage, allowing the developer to increase unit size to offset the fewer number of allowed units.

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