Empty buildings haunt Garfield Street

By Taylor Lunka, News Writer

Empty rooms, bare sidewalks and vacant buildings sit where local businesses used to serve the Parkland community on Garfield Street.

These businesses moved out almost a year ago due to the Garfield Station construction that was supposed to begin in January 2013.

Kirk Rector, president and co-owner of Affinity Investments, said the construction is now scheduled to take place in September. “It’s moving slowly. It’s slow but sure,” Rector said.

Affinity Investments is one of three managing partners on the project, along with Korsmo Construction and Pacific Lutheran University.

The construction has been postponed due to the lack of funding for the project. “A lot of it depends on the financing. We have some investment capital to raise and equity to secure a construction loan,” Rector said.

Affinity Investments is also in the middle of selecting a bank to work with and submitting a formal application for a construction loan.

“We expected raising equity to go faster, and so we thought we would have the money ready to go,” Rector said. “But it’s taking us a lot longer [to raise the necessary funds].”

Small tweaks are also being made to the original plan. Minor changes include the detail on the walkways, landscaping and exterior finishes on the siding of the building.

“It’s all going to be substantially the same,” Rector said.

Garfield Station is a $20 million project that will demolish the existing buildings across from the post office on Garfield Street to create a new high-rise.

The four-level high-rise will include 104 apartment units and 7,200 square feet of retail space on the street level. PLU is expected to fill some of the available space with the marriage and family therapy office and some new classrooms.

Affinity Investments has recently received an offer from a multi-unit yogurt chain to go into Garfield Station, but beyond that hasn’t gotten any bids from other retailers.

Rector said they are planning on having a bike shop, a full service restaurant with a bar and an insurance agent like H&R Block. “The whole goal with the retail is to just compliment what’s across the street,” Rector said.

Units in the building vary. There will be 36 studios, 50 one-bedroom apartments, 15 with two bedrooms and two baths and three units with three-bedrooms each.

All units will have full appliances including their own washer and dryer, plus some units will include their own decks. Common-use amenities include a full media room, conference rooms, a community room and storage rooms.

“[Garfield Station] will be a unique living environment,” Rector said.

Korsmo Construction, business partner with PLU and Affinity Investments on the project, had no comment. 🅼

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