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Reppas buys Peshastin Mill for $3.3 million: Leavenworth developer plans office park with apartments and bike trail--but that's only one project in the works.

Developer Charles "Chuck" Reppas and Seattle partner York Baur have signed a $3.3. million purchase and sale agreement with the Chelan County Port District in a deal approved by the board Jan. 16.

If the property passes the 120-day feasibility study, an office park with apartments and a small portion of a bike trail going from Leavenworth to Wenatchee are being considered.

But this is only one of the projects that Reppas has in store for the next few years. Locals can expect to see a 120-unit condominium complex, and another eight town homes in Leavenworth as well. If all goes as planned, Reppas may only be getting started, building large community housing complexes for people with what he calls "transportable jobs." Those who can work from home from anywhere, and who he thinks will choose to live in Eastern Washington rather than the big urban areas.

Peshastin Mill site

Of his three projects, his preliminary idea for the Peshastin Mill site fits most securely into his telecommuter housing theory. Reppas said he and Baur's original idea for the 65-acre site is to develop a high-tech office park with apartments; a place where people could theoretically both live and work, if they chose to do so. Because only 30 to 35 acres of the 65-acre site are developable, there will likely also be room for play too. A bicycle path is being considered as one of the uses for the site's riparian or wetlands section that is adjacent to the Wenatchee river and is a protected area (see aerial photo).

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According to the deal reached with the Chelan County Port District, keeping public access to the river is a condition of the sales agreement and is nonnegotiable.

Peter Fraley, the port's legal counsel, said that the purchase and sale agreement includes a two-pronged feasibility element. First, a plan must be put into place for the preservation of the riparian areas that will preserve public access to the river. Fraley called it a conservation easement for lack of a better term. Reppas will have 30 days to negotiate the easement, and either party can extend it another 30 days if needed. This issue must be resolved first, Fraley said. Then, the developer will have another 120 days for his customary due-diligence period, during which the zoning will likely be evaluated. Fraley said the property is sold as-is with no warranty. Reppas and Baur have until Sept. 30, 2008, to complete the feasibility work.

Having only one access road to the property is another challenge that will need to be overcome in the planning stages as well.

Chuck Reppas, who attended the CCPD meeting, said he is eager to get started.

The CCPD began their purchase of the former WI Forest Products mill site in 1998. They finally bought the property in 2003 for $1.2 million from owner Mill Property Associates. The port spent around $52,000 for clean-up of the site, which was declared surplus by the port in December of 2006.

Two Leavenworth developments

Reppas also plans to build Obststadl--a $75 million multi-use condominium project on the old Leavenworth Fruit Co. warehouse property--and Sonnenterrassen, an eight-unit town home project at 1217 Front Street in Leavenworth, for around $3.5 million. Construction on the town homes at Sonnenterrassen will begin in April and finish in 2009. Obststadl will follow, as soon as the planning is done, the community input has been evaluated, and the haggling over the parking is settled between Reppas and the Leavenworth City Council.

These two ventures, though they may not offer office space on the site, could also be used by telecommuters as primary residences. But the usage is flexible. There is also the possibility that they could be purchased just as vacation homes or second homes by those who want to escape the big city for a shorter amount of time.

Obststadl

Chuck Reppas and his wife Lynn purchased the Leavenworth Fruit Co. warehouse building on Highway 2 just northeast of the Fest Halle last year from the Nelson family estate for $3.4 million. They plan to build Obststadl, pronounced ohbst-shtah-dul, a $75 million structure on the 2-acre site, which will be open for business in 2010. Demolition of the fruit warehouse is scheduled to take place in the spring of 2009.

The project has passed the feasibility study, and is currently in the planning and approval stage. Reppas uses a Seattle architectural firm for his preliminary concepts, and said that he will likely use a Seattic firm for the final designs, though he will put it out to competitive bids. Chuck and Lynn Reppas plan to operate Obststadl when it is completed. Reppas will hold a community outreach meeting on Feb. 7 to unveil the preliminary rendering to the public, and to seek members for community guidance committees. Those interested in joining a committee should contact Lynn Reppas at lynn.reppas@ obststadl.com.

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Right now, preliminary site sketches show four four-story buildings with a total of 120 condominiums on the second through fourth floors, and retail or restaurant spaces located on the ground floor. Below those units, three floors of underground parking will offer approximately 200 parking spaces for condo unit owners, and another 540 or so public parking spaces. The property will also boast a 30-room, 17,400-square-foot hotel, a hand-carved and painted carousel and a 70-foot tall clock tower.

Reppas said the development will total approximately 169,000 square feet of residential space, and 73,000 square feet of commercial space including the hotel, retail and restaurants. The residential condos are expected to sell for between $300,000 and $900,000 each depending on size. One- to three-bedroom floor plans will be available shortly.

Connie Krueger, Leavenworth's community development director, said she is excited about the proposed parking increase in downtown Leavenworth. She indicated that the city is currently working on a plan wherein they would be trading him some property for the underground parking in exchange for a development agreement with him on how to regulate the parking. Concurrent with that, Krueger said the city council also has a parking proposal from Reppas on the table for consideration. It would handle future city parking needs by asking business owners to buy spaces for their clients in the Obststadl garage.

The city will also have to consider whether a street closure is in order. Krueger indicated that due to the elevation change between US Highway 2 and Front Street, Reppas may need to close Front Street between 10th and Division to motor vehicle traffic. Reppas said that he would probably install stairs in that area.

Sonnenterrassen

Reppas will begin construction in April on eight town homes to be located at 1217 Front St. in Leavenworth--a development he is calling Sonnenterrassen, or "sunny terraces." A single family residence on the property will be torn down to make way for the new project. Reppas purchased the property in 2006 for around $250,000.

He said these units will have a stucco and wood exterior with 6-foot overhangs and workable shutters. An interior fountain courtyard and a parking garage with 12 parking spaces is also planned. The entire complex when completed will total 10,000 square feet, and offer three unit sizes: 650, 1,500, or 2,000 square feet. These units should be available for move-in in the summer of 2009.

Estimated sales prices on these units is between $250,000 and $800,000. Floor plans for this project are available at www.obststadl.com.

Who is Chuck Reppas?

Chuck Reppas is a real estate developer with a background in accounting and finance.

Formerly with Henderson Homes of Bellevue, Reppas helped developed Lakeland, a half-billion dollar master-planned community located in Auburn.

Henderson Homes was involved in the project from 1993 to 1998. The development includes about 3,400 residential units including town homes, condominiums, and single-family residences; a shopping center; two schools; a 4,500 square-foot community center; a private athletic club; and a 15-acre sports park.

Since 1998, Chuck Reppas has developed lots on his own, including Crestview Estates in Sunnyslope from 2001-2004 and Skyview Ridge near East Wenatchee.

His said his vision for the properties under development is to create something lasting, functional, and of good quality, to offer those with "transportable jobs" the ability to live in Eastern Washington, away from the congestion of the big city.

"The move away from the city area is not for everybody," Reppas said, "but this is becoming a growing national trend. As such, there will be a lot of competition between the smaller cities to get these people to move to their area. Developers can help cater to that need with responsible developments."
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Title Annotation:REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION
Author:Davis, Yvette
Publication:Wenatchee Business Journal
Date:Feb 1, 2008
Words:1455
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