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Tuesday, August 26, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Developer Purchases Building He `Lost'

Seattle Times Snohomish County Bureau

Everett business developer Art Skotdal finally has his revenge.

Six years after the Everett City Council awarded the Colby Square project to another development team, its signature office tower is now in Skotdal's possession.

In a $17.4 million deal, the AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust last week sold the Everett Mutual Tower to a Skotdal family group composed of Art, his wife, Marianne, and their sons Andy and Craig. The 13-story office tower at Colby and Everett avenues - Snohomish County's tallest building - was completed about three years ago.

Art Skotdal says he no longer harbors ill feelings about the city's 1991 bid process that resulted in Colby Square Partners submitting the only bid for building the Everett Community Theater, now the Everett Performing Arts Center. The partners built the adjacent, privately financed Everett Mutual Tower as part of that public-private project.

"It's history," he said yesterday.

The theater had a proposed budget of $6.5 million, and other development groups didn't submit bids because they couldn't meet that price. But when Colby Square Partners submitted a $10.2 million bid, the city accepted it rather than seek new bids or redesign the project.

Ultimately the theater cost more than $11 million.

The AFL-CIO trust, which financed the $25.5 million tower, acquired it about two years ago through foreclosure proceedings against Colby Square Partners. At that time, the partners owed the trust $18.8 million in principal, interest and fees, and faced $1.9 million in liens filed against their project.

Skotdal is downtown Everett's most influential redeveloper, owning many key properties. At Hewitt and Colby avenues, the focal point of downtown since the turn of the century, Skotdal owns buildings on three of four corners.

Two of those corners feature some of Everett's most striking new buildings, including Skotdal's own office and residential tower and the Colby Center commercial and business complex. He also owns and renovated the Colby Avenue buildings that house Flying Pig Brewing and Mukilteo Coffee, and redeveloped another full block of Colby Avenue storefronts.

"Art Skotdal has made significant contributions to the improvement of the central business district, both architecturally and through the maintenance of his projects," said Mark Soine, a former city councilman and current city attorney. "He's a man with a lot of pride in what he does, and he has reason for that pride."

Skotdal yesterday gave his sons full credit for the building purchase. Craig Skotdal, 24, is president of Skotdal Real Estate, while Andy Skotdal, 26, owns and manages S-R Broadcast, which includes radio station KRKO.

The Skotdals plan to improve the building's looks, Craig Skotdal said. Marble will be added to street-level concrete surfaces, glass awnings will replace canvas awnings, and the interior entryway will be refinished.

Under its previous ownership, the building was at 80 percent to 85 percent occupancy, but the Skotdals already have enough "leases in hand" to fill the building by year's end, he said.

The Everett Mutual Tower wasn't officially for sale before the Skotdals made overtures, Craig Skotdal said. "Basically, we flew back to Chicago (in March) and met with the management company for the AFL-CIO and made an offer on the building. It was the right price."

Lew Kresch, senior vice president of D & K Realty Advisors in Chicago, declined comment on the deal's specifics. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Diane Brooks' phone message number is 425-745-7802. Her e-mail address is: dbro-new@seatimes.com

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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