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SEATTLE-Harbor Properties Inc. is selling the four-tower Harbor Steps mixed-use property here that it developed during the 1990s. The buyer is publicly held Equity Residential. The sale is expected to close this summer. The price has not yet been disclosed, but local industry sources estimate the purchase price could flirt with $200 million.The 1.3-million-sf development covers 2.5 acres between Western and First avenues between Union and Seneca streets, near Benaroya Hall and the Seattle Art Museum. In 2001, the Urban Land Institute named Harbor Steps the nation’s best large-scale multifamily complex. Interconnected by a staircase park with a central plaza, the four buildings contain 785 apartment units, 51,600 sf of retail, 31,000 sf of office and 413 underground parking spaces. The office and retail space is fully leased and the apartment units are 97% leased. Estimated purchase prices from apartment brokers and investors in town put the sale price between $225,000- and $255,000 per unit. Comperable sales in the past two years have ranged from about $190,000 per unit to $235,000 per unit, they say.Harbor president Denny Onslow tells GlobeSt.com the property was never formally offered for sale and was not slated for disposal. Negotiations began when Equity Residential made a preliminary offer after hearing about Harbor’s plans to sell some assets in order to fund new infill housing developments. A source at Equity Residential tells GlobeSt.com that Seattle is a key market for the company and Harbor Steps will be part of its long-term core portfolio. The acquisition will bring EQR’s total holdings in the Seattle area to about 8,000 units. Bob Watson of locally based R.M. Watson Co. is representing Equity Residential in the transaction.Going forward, Harbor Properties says it is concentrating on creating more market-rate, mixed-use apartment complexes in and around Downtown. The company recently started construction on Press II, a second-phase residential project on Capitol Hill, and is developing additional workforce-housing projects in the University District, First Hill and other urban-Seattle neighborhoods.

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