Real Estate Steps into the 21st Century with Cloud Based Apps

Seattle, known as a progressive leader in information and technology, houses established companies and growing start-ups alike. As Amazon expands, Facebook moves in, and numerous start-ups take up stake in Seattle’s burgeoning technology hub, it is evident the commercial real estate industry, a sector some would say is lagging on the technological front,  is a major player in assisting these innovative companies set up shop.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, in 2014, high-tech tenants accounted for 45 percent of leasing activity in Seattle. That’s a good chuck of business coming from a client base who appreciates system innovation – it would be wise if the real estate sector jumped aboard the techie train and geared their marketing strategy towards their forward thinking client base.

That is exactly what co-founder of Hightower, Brandon Weber and Floored CEO, Dave Eisenberg are monopolizing on. Seattle based, Hightower, takes commercial leasing to that magical place everyone seems to love – the cloud. Allowing for full business execution in the palm of your hand, Hightower allows commercial owners and brokers to manage their entire portfolio, leasing documents, and collaborate with their leasing team all in real time. Joining forces with New York City based company, Floored, a fully interactive 3D visual tool for the real estate industry, Weber and Eisenberg have created a full-bodied leasing platform like no other.

“Tenants struggle to visualize how space might look, landlords spend billions of dollars on speculative space construction,” Brandon Weber, explained to Commercial Observer. “Floored greatly reduces this need by delivering a virtual tour experience showing the tenant exactly how their space will look once built out. We believe this can save Landlords billions in spec build out costs.”

Between Hightower’s mobile app technology and Floored’s 3D visual sophistication, brokers and building owners have the ability to virtually walk clients through available properties that provide such robust example of what the space could look like, that the platform is unmatched with anything else out there. What a refreshing game changer – but it is changing the game?

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Weber says Hightower is tracking more than 10,000 vacant office spaces, and that figure is growing 20 percent a month. Hoping to streamline his business for bi-coastal clients, Weber is excited at the prospect of assisting a Los Angeles tenant find property in New York via the Hightower application.

Thanks to new kids on the block, infusing life into the real estate industry, like Hightower and Floored, maybe some of the biggest names in the business will step into the 21st century.

New Amazon Building Sale Breaks Seattle Price Record

Amazon is expanding – and they’re paying top dollar to do it! According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, on Tuesday the new 202 Westlake office building sold for a record breaking $749 per square foot, shelling out a total of $97.4 million. GLL Westlake 202 LLC bought the building which is leased by Amazon. Seattle based companies First Western Development Services and Stephen C. Grey & Associates and San Francisco’s Spear Street Capital developed the building. john st westlake

The previous record was the sale of the City Center Plaza in downtown Bellevue, which sold for $642 per square foot in 2011. For more information on commercial real estate sales, visit the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Queen Anne Market Place Sold for $31.7 Million

QueenAnnemarket place

Photo Courtesy of Benaroya

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Benaroya Capital Co. sold the Queen Anne Marketplace, a full block retail center for $31.7 Million. Public Records have indicated that the buyer  is WRI Western Queen Anne Limited Liability Co.

The Marketplace currently includes a Metropolitan Market grocery, Bartell Drug store, and a Fedex among others along Roy and Mercer Streets. The Marketplace is at the base of Queen Anne Hill, bordered by First and Warren Avenues N. For more information on Commercial Sales & leasing, visit the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Longshore Union Files Suit Against the Sodo Arena Site

Yesterday afternoon the Longshore Union who depend on the the Port of Seattle cargo traffic filed a suit against plans to build the new sports arena a few blocks from the main shipping terminal. The suit states that the city and county officials approved the agreement with Chris Hansen before completing an environmental review, which is required by state law.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union workers have announced that they plan to challenge the Memorandum of Understanding that was approved on Monday by Seattle and King County councils. The lawsuit suggests that the court should invalidate the MOU and ensure that  environmental process doesn’t secure the Sodo location. A city Attorney has stated that in the MOU, the location of the arena is not set in stone in Sodo, and it also mandates an environmental review of the area. For updates on the suit filed, 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.

New Arena Buzz: How Seattle Stacks Up Among Others

There is new buzz going around town on the proposed Seattle arena deal, and according to the Seattle Times, economists are suggesting that Seattle fits in with others around the Nation in terms of lower public financing, but the downfall might be that we’re not guaranteed to generate substantial funds to benefit the local economy.

Key Arena, photo courtesy of coachdollar.com

Economists have agreed that $200 Million from public funding for the arena is a great deal, and in line with new nationwide projects requesting less money from taxpayers. But they’re also concerned that the arena won’t generate much new revenue for the city itself. The cost of a pro basketball team for Seattle will obviously be more prominent than a college team, or smaller event center, and it’s unclear if Chris Hansen will be able to lock down an NHL team, which would be crucial to booking out the stadium year-round. For the full scoop on how economists think Seattle stacks up among the Nation, visit the Seattle Times.

Seattle May Day Protesters Leave Their Mark on the City

When you stepped outside for lunch and saw the sun peeking out of the clouds on this lovely 1st day of May, you probably didn’t think you’d be tuning into NPR and hearing about how the “Black Bloc” protesters were already tearing apart the Seattle City limits. Around 11:50am peaceful protesters migrated from Seattle Central

Photo of areas affected by the Protestors of May Day in Seattle, Courtesy of the Seattle Times

Community College to Westlake Center to join the demonstrations taking place in the square such as a concert put on by Hiphop Occupy Seattle. Less than an hour later approximately 300 people  including the “Black Bloc” folks armed with sticks, wooden riot batons and other makeshift weapons marched from the park west on  Pike Street then south on Third Avenue. They began jumping on cars and sprawling out across the streets and causing significant property damage to retail spaces like Starbucks, Nordstrom, Niketown, and many other businesses. They did extensive damage to the 9th district court house and Wells Fargo Bank on 3rd Avenue. Officers were able to get to the crowds and an unknown number of arrests were made after these damages.

According to the Seattle Times, Nike has release a statement: “Nike supports free and peaceful protests. We do not condone violence. Fortunately, no one was injured at Niketown Seattle. We will re-open the store as quickly as possible.”

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.

Century Link Sells Qwest Tower, Nordstrom Scores Huge Lease

Century Link, the Northwest telecommunications hot shot has sold downtown Seattle’s Qwest tower, it’s previous corporate building, and Nordstrom is all set to lease over half of the building’s office space. The building was sold to Clarion  Partners last week, a New York Real Estate firm, for $137 Million according to the Seattle Times. This marks the 2nd largest commercial sale in King County this year.

Photo Courtesy of blumbergblog.com

The property has held several different names over the years, including 1600 Bell Plaza, Qwest Plaza and Bell’s headquarters. Clarion plans to complete several renovations to the building, including redesigning the lobby and adding underground parking stalls and ground floor retail. Nordstrom is leasing over 300,000 sf in the tower and plans to move in this fall, while Century link also plans to stay and lease some of the space as a tenant. Nordstrom’s 20 year lease is yet another indication of the company’s broad expansion and even before the signing of this particular lease, the NW retail giant occupied over 1 Million sf in downtown Seattle. For more information on Qwest Tower plans, visit the Seattle Times.

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.