Bellevue Galleria Sells

The Bellevue Galleria in downtown Bellevue sold to Thor Equities this week for $87.5 million.    The building is comprised of restaurants, shops, office space and parking garage.  Bellevue Galleria was built in 1999 and is 204,000 sf in size.   The Galleria has always been a great staple of Bellevue’s downtown area.  Bellevue continues to expand in the residential realm, so it’s no wonder NYC based Thor Equities wanted their first Northwestern purchase to be in the city of Bellevue.  Check out this Seattle Times article to find more information on the commercial sale.

Four Seasons Private Residences Restructures Debt

The Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences located in Downtown Seattle was facing financial troubles after having nearly $34 million in construction liens, defaulting in 2009.  These troubles were much in part due to slow sales when the Seattle real estate market was beginning to fall apart.  The building opened in 2008 with 36 residences, which range in price from $2-$10 million.  According to a Seattle Times article released today, the owners of the building, Seattle Hotel Group LLC have dug themselves out of this hole with financial restructuring.   Last week, the Seattle Hotel Group received a loan for $26 million towards the debt, owed to Washington Real Estate Holdings.  For now, things are looking up for the ultra luxurious downtown Seattle condominiums.  There are eleven residences still for sale in the building.  Please follow the link to see one of these luxury condominiums full listing details and photos.

New Zoning in SoDo Will Lead to New Residential Buildings

New residential buildings may be coming to SoDo as Seattle City Council recently voted to change current zoning allowing for buildings up to 24 stories high.  The vote came as a result of wanting to increase residency, but still be able to maintain the characteristics that make the area so unique.  Some of these places already are flourishing with great restaurants and shopping centers, so it’s no wonder the city is making an effort to draw new residents.   The proposal for the change is over a year old and had a lot of community support.  However, if the city wants to draw more residents to the International District, especially families with kids, more improvements need to be made.  For example, the city should plan for more parks or open spaces.  Crime rates in the International District are an issue as well.  Not to say other Seattle neighborhoods like Belltown don’t face high crime rates, but SPD has already increased patrol to address the problem.  When it comes to the International District, police reported that the area does not have a higher than average crime rate.  In September of last year, KOMO covered a story on the International District and the negative perception of the area as opposed to the actual amount of crime.  I can understand how this could be true.  At any rate, it’s going to take more than a few new buildings to attract people to the area.  If the area is revitalized, it can easily become a desirable place for Seattleites to live.

Business-and-Occupation Tax Will Lead to Mortgage Tax

A new issue has arisen in Olympia concerning the taxation of mortgage loans.  Activists are lobbying to apply the business-and-occupation tax on interest earned by income lenders on mortgage loans.  There was a good editorial in the Seattle Times about this home mortgage tax.  Basically, if this tax is imposed, it’s a near certainty mortgage rates will climb to cover the costs.  (Not like the banks are just going to eat the cost to do mortgages in Washington State).  While there are signs that the home market is recovering in Seattle, this tax seems to be a very dangerous proposal.  Loans are harder for home buyers to get as it is – now these activists want to make it even harder?  If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Seattle this year, next year, or in your lifetime – you should tell your legislature that this is not a good idea.

Twins Towers in Downtown Seattle?

Seattle Construction ProjectAccording to an article in the Seattle Times, a developer is planning to build a twin tower apartment complex in Downtown Seattle. This project, Sixth & Lenora Apartments, will have 654 rental units available as well as approximately 18,000 sq ft of retail available. This news comes on the heels of yesterdays blog, Seattle Apartment Rental Market is Hot.

Seattle Apartment Rental Market is Hot

Seattle ApartmentsThat’s a good thing if you are landlord and not if you are a Seattle renter.  The article, Hot Apartment Market Settles in For a While, in the Seattle Times gives the details, but basically with less people owning their homes the demand is going up for Seattle apartments.  At the same time, while more apartments are being built it is not as many as were built in the past.  According to the graphs on the article (see picture 3 of 3) vacancy in King county apartments is down to 4.3% from 6.8% two years ago.  In the same time period, average rent has gone from $1,015 to $1,045.

To get more details, read the article by clicking the link above.  It is interesting article if you are looking for a Seattle rental or if you are a landlord.

Office Signs on Seattle Skyscapers

Downtown SeattleI cannot believe I am taking this side on this, but I tend to agree we do not need a bunch of corporate signage on Seattle skyscrapers.  The issue seems to being raised by Russell Investments according to the article.  What is being discussed is whether 18-foot illuminated signs should be allowed on buildings in Seattle.  It looks like the City Council has tabled the issue on these corporate signs for now to allow more time for questions etc.  (Read above linked article for more details).

I do not have a really good reason to be against the signs on Seattle office buildings other than I picture looking back at Downtown Seattle from West Seattle or Kerry Park on Queen Anne and enjoying our beautiful skyline.  At the same time I do not think Russell gains an extraordinary amount by adding their corporate sign to the building.

The argument in the article that other people do it, so I should be able do it does not really sway me….it reminds me when I would say that as a kid and the response back would be: “If such and such jumped off a bridge would you?”  Inevitably I would say, “yes, yes I would.”  And the reply was, “Well, you still do not get to do it.”….I would say “That’s not fair.”  Response: “Life’s not fair.”  Should I go on or do you get the point?

Need for Seattle Office Space is Up.

Seattle Commercial Real EstateRan across a Seattle real estate article the other day.  Like any article about Seattle real estate or real estate in general for the past couple years it gave a mixed message (most articles actually have just been negative) when the article began, but then gave more rosy news: Seattle office space demand is up.  Read the real estate article for more details, but Amazon is getting much of the credit for stabilizing the market because of the office space they are taking in South Lake Union.