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April 08, 2015

Chinese culture drives design of new Bellevue condo project

Puget Sound Business Journal

Marc Stiles

It's been only a year since a Beijing-based real estate development company started buying property by the downtown Bellevue post office, and it already has joined with established Puget Sound area firms to build a new condo tower and mid-rise apartment complex.

When it's done, the $147 million development will include more than 275 residential units on the property where a Papa John Pizza operates next to some industrial buildings.

The developer, Create World America, has teamed up with Daniels Real Estate of Seattle on the project that GGLO is designing. Seattle general contractor Lease Crutcher Lewis has been hired to build the project. They'll start with a six-story, 162-unit apartment on the north side of the lot. The condo project, which will be between 17 and 19 stories tall, is the second phase.

The 110 three-bedroom condos are being designed to accommodate multi-generational and extended families, many of whom likely will hail from China.

Speaking Mandarin, Lili Lu, CEO of Create World America, outlined the plans during a Tuesday interview. One of her commercial real estate brokers, Holly Yang of Kidder Mathews, interpreted.

U.S. real estate developers in the Seattle region can expect to work more and more with Chinese developers, who are buying properties in the area. In downtown Bellevue, for instance, four recent commercial real estate sales deals with Chinese buyers totaled nearly $74.2 million, according to Kidder Mathews.

"Seattle has a long history of working with mainland China dating back into the late 1800s," Daniels Real Estate President Kevin Daniels said. He expects this relationship to strengthen and have a larger impact on the Seattle real estate market, both commercial and residential, in the coming years.

Create World President Hongpeng Yang looked at numerous properties before deciding to buy the property at 10230 N.E. 10th St., said Holly Yang. (She and the company president are not related.) This is the first U.S. development for Create World USA, which paid just more than $13.1 million for the property.

She said construction of the apartments on the north end of the site is scheduled to begin at the end of this year and take 16 months to complete. The city of Bellevue had signed off on this project when Create World USA bought the property in 2014. The condo tower is still being planned, and the company hopes to have the permits by the end of 2016.

Create World USA and Daniels plan to use EB-5 money to develop the project. EB-5 is a federal government program that allows foreign nationals to invest in job-creating developments in return for green cards.

For the full story, go to Portland Business Journal.

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