Pacific Place Sold For $271 Million

pac place1998 was a big year for downtown Seattle. Nordstrom completed its move across Pine Street to its shiny new flagship, and just down the street the Pacific Place shopping center opened, finally giving shoppers an alternative to the then-dingy Westlake Center. Can anyone even remember what occupied that block before Pacific Place rose five stories above Pine and Olive?

It appears that the shopping center still has plenty of earning potential, as it was just sold to D.C.-based real estate management company Madison Marquette (along with other unnamed investors) for $271 million, which is believed to be a record for this type of property in Seattle. Additionally, investors are donating $14 million from the sale to the United Way of King County.

According to an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal, Pacific Place sees 6 million visitors annually and it is 90 percent leased. Many tenants have come and gone over the years, and it now houses such upscale retailers as Barney’s New York, Michael Kors, and Tiffany & Co, along with original tenants Williams Sonoma, Helly Hansen, Il Fornaio and what is now the AMC movie theater.

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Art Institute of Seattle Building Sold

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, The Art Institute of Seattle Building on 2323 Elliot Ave has been purchased by a company affiliated with Unico Properties. The Art Institute was actually the seller in the transaction, and the building sold for just under $15.88 Million; a step up from the $11.5 million the property was purchased for in 1998.

Photo Courtesy of the Seattle Art Institute

There has not been discussion of what this means for the Institute, which was founded back in 1946, and offers an array of creative degrees from culinary to advertising and web design. For follow up information involving the building’s use, visit the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Apartments Sold on Greyhound Station Block to Become Mega Hotel

Last week there were some notable commercial sales in and around Seattle, including one in the Denny Triangle that is staged to make way for a Mega Hotel downtown!

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Seattle based R.C. Hedreen Co. purchased two high rise apartment buildings on the same block as the Greyhound bus terminal for $7 million, and they have plans to build a 1,200 room hotel. Hedreen hopes  to get traffic from the convention center, and has since met with city officials to discuss early design guidance, and a possible office tower could be constructed on 8th and 9th Streets along Howell & Stewart. For more information on this project, follow the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Influx of Hotels Planned for Downtown Seattle

The Downtown Seattle metro area has not seen any hotels break ground in the past two years, and there are no current plans for any to go under construction in the next upcoming months. But according to the Seattle Times, all that might change this year, with current hotels having successful bookings, with little trouble filling rooms, and they’re able to have consistently higher rates. Developers are feeling more confident with those statistics in place, and are moving forward by proposing more hotels pop up in the downtown area.

Downtown Seattle Sheraton, photo courtesy of destination360.com

According to the Times, one of those proposals includes a hotel with 1,200+ rooms, which is larger than any hotel in the area except for the Seattle Sheraton hotel. If all of the projects presented were to be built, the Seattle hotel industry would increase by more than 15%! Developers like Touchstone, Kauri, and Daniels Development among others all have projects in various stages of planning for construction, and Seattleites looking for hotel living should keep an eye out for upcoming hotel projects that have apartment rentals planned into the space as well. For more information on upcoming projects in the Downtown Seattle area, visit the Seattle Times.

City Target Opens Today Downtown

As many of you already know from walking by the corner of pike and 2nd avenue, Target has been moving into downtown Seattle. There has been some debate on whether the discounted retail store will be good or bad for small business owners downtown, or if it will help clean up the neighborhood’s drug problem; but that. The new Urban City Target opened it’s doors today at 7am, and shoppers may be a little surprised by what they find inside the 3 story retail store.

According to the Seattle Times, the City Target, which is 2/3 the size of an average target store is now carrying smaller sized items, like 8lb bags of dog food instead of the larger 20lb bags, and 8-12 rolled toilet paper packs instead of 24. The City Target has more of an urban feel as well, showcasing clothing displayed on mannequins, escalators lead you up and down the 3 floors of retail, and it felt like they had at least 1 sales person for every 5 people in the store. They’re everywhere! Th City stores are popping up in other cities such as Chicago and San Francisco. According to the Times, they chose Seattle as one of the first cities to start because of the influx of new downtown housing, as well as the tourism/number of office workers in and around the city during the day. For more information on the store’s opening, visit the Seattle Times.

Eitel Building Could Become Boutique Hotel

Word has been going around that the historic Eitel Building might have plans to become a boutique hotel. According to the Seattle Times, the folks at Ariel Development have signed a contract to buy the 108 year old building, located on second and pike street. The sale should be closing by the end of the year, and when it does they plan on converting the office space into an 80 room hotel. The location would be ideal for a hotel, right in the heart of downtown, and within close walking distance to the retail shopping downtown.

Eitel Building Location

Ariel has been a part of several of downtown Seattle Hotel projects, including the Courtyard Marriott, and new Hyatt Place Hotel and towers. The Eitel currently has retail tenants in the lower level, but the upstairs floors have been vacant for sometime. The building was designated a historic landmark in 2006, and the previous owner had been trying to redevelop for years with little success because of disputes with the historic preservation advocates. For the Full scoop on the building’s future, visit the Seattle Times.

Federal Reserve Bank Ready to Ditch the Old Downtown Building

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco was ready to sell it’s old Downtown Seattle office space back when they closed in 2008, but their intentions were halted by historic-preservation advocates who demanded the building stand as is. The Bank has now found an outlet to dispose of the building by transferring the property to the General Service Administration, another federal agency to take care of the building. The Federal Reserve decided to move it’s office to Renton in 2008, and agreed to sell the building to a developer after city officials decided it didn’t qualify as a historic landmark. But just because the Bank is transferring the building over to GSA doesn’t mean the building will be preserved. According to the Seattle Times, a GSA spokeswoman agreed that “at this point there are no restrictions on the disposal of the property.” The building could be sold if no government agency wants it. Historic advocates could also challenge the use of the building and it seems they are already taking steps to make sure the building is in tact, as the building was recently nominated for the National Register of Historic Places by the state Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. For more information on the status of the building, visit the Seattle Times.

Martin Selig plans New Office Space by Sculpture Park

Veteran Seattle developer Martin Selig has new plans to build a four story office building near the Olympic Sculpture Park downtown. Selig ditched his original plans to build an 8 story apartment building on the site, due to the influx of apartments being constructed all over town. According to the Seattle Times, Selig said, “When I see this many apartments getting developed, it scares me.” There have been more than 6,000 apartments currently being built in the King & Snohomish counties, with thousands more planned. In the past 20 years, there hasn’t been much multifamily building, and some researchers are starting to think the market for apartments could be overconstructed.

Martin Selig’s property near the sculpture park on 3031 Western Avenue is currently a two story garage. Selig has toyed with several plans for reconstruction for the past 30 years, including a luxury apartment complex, a 7 story office building, and an 8 story apartment building. Selig said his current plans to opt out of the apartment plans were based entirely on the market; and neighboring tenants did not want a high rise blocking their view of the Sculpture Park.

Second & Seneca Building Sold at a Fraction of the Cost

The signature blue domed 2nd and Seneca building  in Downtown Seattle, has been sold for 19% less than what it cost five years ago. According to county records, A San Francisco based Real Estate investment company picked up the building from Tishman Speyer of New York for $186 million. Tishman had payed $230 million for the building in 2007, just around the peak of the commercial real estate boom. Washington Mutual had occupied roughly 16% of the building previously, and when they failed to make ends meet, the cost of rent went up and vacancies went way down.

The building’s value was once way lower than Tishman’s $175 mortgage, but they were able to modify the debt in 2010. Despite the low price tag, the sale was actually King county’s biggest real estate transaction since 1918 8th Ave. last August, another downtown office building sold for $350 million. At this time, the Second & Seneca building currently has vacancies available.

JC Penny Coming Back To Seattle

According to a recent article in the Seattle Times, JC Penny is coming back to Downtown Seattle.  Reports place the new store on 3rd and Pike.  JC Penny has not confirmed the reports but real estate sources confirm the news.  Click the link for more information.