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SEATTLE-The Wysong Group has acquired the Empress apartment building at the south end of Downtown for $14.25 million. The locally based multifamily specialist plans to convert the five-year-old, 88-unit property to condominiums.

The apartment building is located on Fifth Avenue between Yesler Way and South Washington Street, one block west of Interstate 5. As part of the conversion, the property has been renamed Tobira Condominiums.

Company president Jeff Wysong says renovations and upgrades will begin soon. Wysong expects to offer the first homes for sale in early 2007.

The building consists primarily of one- and two-bedroom homes that range in size from 490 sf to 1,080 sf. Though prices have not yet been set, Wysong expects homes will start at $180,000, which for the 490-sf unit would translate to $367 per sf.

Before the homes go on sale to the public, current Empress residents will be offered an opportunity to purchase their apartments at a discounted rate, Wysong says. Miller Condominium Marketing has the sales assignment. Gary Blakeslee of Inventure Property Development will be the project manager of the conversion.

Wysong has participated in 12 Seattle-area projects since 1997. Recent projects include Press Condominiums on Capitol Hill, Windsor Court in Lower Queen Anne, Cooper Square in Greenwood, Saxony in Sammamish and Mira in Kirkland.

Jon Hallgrimson and Jim Claeys of CB Richard Ellis brokered had the disposition assignment for the Empress building.

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