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.

For more information on Seattle Real Estate, contact your local real estate agent today.



UW Planning 50-Story Tower In Prime Downtown Location

rainier tower

The Columbia Center tower could have some competition as the dominating presence in Seattle’s skyline in near future, as the University of Washington’s Board of Regents has approved plans for a 50-story office/apartment/retail/hotel complex that would share a block with the iconic Rainier Tower on the UW-owned Metropolitan Tract of land downtown, according to The Seattle Times.

UW is working with developer Wright Runstad & Co. to develop the complex, which would rise to 795 feet, making it the second tallest tower in the city behind the Columbia Center tower at 937 feet. The tower will house 30,000 square feet of street-level retail, 750,000 square feet of office space and at least 182 apartments, while a 15-story luxury hotel will sit beside it in a separate building. The unique shape of the tower, which consists of a wide base of 33,000 square feet and tapers to just 15,000 square feet at the top, was conceived so it wouldn’t block views of and from the Rainier Tower, which has occupied its precarious-looking pedestal since 1978. The complex will replace the Rainier Square retail mall.

The university has owned the 10.7-acre Metropolitan Tract, which comprises most of the blocks bordered by Union and Seneca streets and 3rd and 5th avenues (where its original campus was located before moving to its current location in 1895) for more than a century, and is hoping a new 80-year ground lease will increase its earnings from the tract to about $4 million per year, up from the $1.5 million it’s making from the current lease on the Rainier Square property.

While the university’s deadline for beginning construction on the complex is 2021, Wright Runstad is hoping to begin as soon as the second half of 2015.


Stanford Hotels Bought Downtown Lot for $16.75M

1903 5th ave

San Francisco’s Stanford Hotels Corp. is buying a downtown Seattle development site for a whopping $16.75 million dollars! According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the price that the Hotel folks are forking over is significantly less than the $30 million that the previous New York Group had paid for it back in 2007 (and has since lost in foreclosure) but is also almost twice the offer another company previously offered for the lot. The lot is located at 1903 Fifth Avenue, across from the Westin Seattle, and Stanford has declined to comment on any future plans for the lot at this time. According to the PSBJ, Stanford is also planning a 15 story hotel at 300 Terry Ave N in South Lake Union. There were a number of offers for the property which was originally listed in 2012 at $7.5M, but the finally selling price clearly indicated that Seattle is a highly sought after marketplace for development sites.

DSA Density Report Shows Spike in Downtown Residential Growth

The DSA has released a detailed report of all of the benefits of the density of Downtown Seattle, and their findings examine everything from employment and residential density, to the effect on transportation and farm growth. Downtown residents only make up 4% of the city’s total land mass, but you might be surprised by some of the impressive stats showed compared to the rest of Seattle. By encouraging growth in residential and employment density, the benefits may finally  outweigh the challenges. seattle now

They’ve documented that the efficient use of space should contribute to our area’s jobs, salaries, and revenue. Downtown density also increases transportation efficiency through increased public transit, and a more efficient system. The DSA’s report also indicated that there are environmental benefits to downtown density, a direct result from a decrease in carbon emissions from downtown workers and residents. You can view the full DSA report online, check it out for more information. You might be surprised to find that the downtown area is 4 times as dense as the rest of Seattle!

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.

West Seattle Home For Sale: $2,250,000

This West Seattle Estate has breathtaking bluff views of the Olympics and the Northwest Islands! The beautiful grounds, including the garden out front have been well maintained and the deck out back practically sells the estate itself. This 5 bed, 3.25 bath has old world charm, with all of the amenities, a wonderful sun room, and the grace of a by-gone era. The living room and kitchen have huge bay windows looking out across the Sound, as do the majority of other rooms in this massive 6,350 sf space. For more information on this luxury home, or other properties in the surrounding Seattle area, visit Ewing & Clark Inc.

Status: For Sale
Bed/Bath: 5/3.25
Price: $2,250,000

Plaza 600 in South Lake Union Sells for $54.9 Million

Joshua Green Corp partnered with the Urban Renaissance Group to purchase the Plaza 600 in the Central District for $54.9 million. The  20-story office tower was bought from private investor Vance Corp this week, and sold for roughly $262 per square foot. This property is currently 85% leased, and because there is significant short term rollover, the new owner will now have the opportunity to take advantage of the the potential rent growth Seattle has continued to experience. According to the CoStar Group, “noting a shortage of value-add opportunities in major CBD’s in the Western US, Shannon said this was perfect timing for the buyer given the accelerating rents in the market.” At the time of sale, almost 70% of the leases were below market value, and scheduled to roll over within the next four years. For more information on Plaza 600, the Puget Sound Business Journal.

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.

Underwater Homeowners Promised Relief

There is now hope for homeowners who  have been left with a bigger mortgage than their home is valued; they might get the chance to refinance at a lower rate this year. The help aid the foreclosure surge, and complaints of foreclosure abuse, 4 of the top Banks in America – Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo have have reached an agreement of over $3 billion dollars worth of refis for customers with underwater mortgages still held by the banks. Qualifications for relief are still unclear, but two of the banks have released a list of criteria they’ll use in consideration.

If your mortgage is at least 5.25% and the balance is more than 100% of your home’s value, or the principal is less that $730,000 and closed before January 1, 2009, you might be eligible for a refi. For more information on the $25 billion dollar mortgage agreement, visit CNN Money.

Rent Keeps Rising as Home Prices Plateau

Remember the days when renting was cheaper than buying? While rental rates continue to soar, in many states across the country, home prices are starting to level off. According to CNN Money, home prices have declined 0.7% over the past 12 months, and the median rent for all types of homes was set at $1,350/mo in March. Several metro areas are raising their rents into the double digits across the nation. For example, in Sarasota, FL the average rent rose 12.9% year-over-year,  making it the largest jump out of the 100 largest metro areas according to real estate site, Trulia.

Metro neighborhoods where prices skyrocketed were able to do so because of a few similar factors, including a rising demand for a limited supply of rental units. The overall national vacancy rate for apartment complexes, fell 0.3% during the first quarter, dropping to it’s lowest rate since 2001. In contrast, the cost of buying a home has decreased  in several areas over the past 12 months, and mortgage rates are at an all-time low. If you’re looking to buy in the Seattle area, here is a list of exceptional homes in the area.  Many are still skeptical of the optimistic outlook, because there is a high percentage of Americans who aren’t able to look into buying a home at this time, due to unemployment, low credit scores, etc and rental rates could continue to climb because of this factor. For an extended article, please visit CNN Money