Marc Stiles | Puget Sound Business Journal

A German group called Universal Investment has paid $74.8 million for the Station at Othello Park, a large apartment complex in South Seattle, according to public records.

The 351-unit project next to the Othello light rail station was one of the region’s biggest development gambles. Built in 2010 by the sellers, Othello Partners of Seattle and USAA Real Estate Co. of Texas, it was both the first large market-rate development in Rainier Valley in 40 years, and the first major “transit-oriented” commercial real estate project along the light-rail line.

Would the lure of living near a station where they could catch a train to downtown Seattle draw renters to a neighborhood that lacks upscale shopping and dining amenities? Initially, no.

The project at 4219 S. Othello St. struggled, and rents had to be dropped to fill up the apartments. That did the trick. Ayear ago, Steve Rauf of Othello Partners said 93 percent of the units were leased.

Leasing out the 18,000 square feet of retail has proved more difficult. Last year, only half the space was filled despite the owners dropping the lease rate. That apparently did not work because, according to city permitting records, Rauf applied this spring to turn 10,000 square feet of retail into live/work units.