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.



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.

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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.

Amazon Releases Design Proposal for Denny Triangle

Amazon has released a few ideas for the design of their new downtown office complex in Denny Triangle, and they’re pulling out all the stops to create the perfect working environment. The design proposal includes a large conference room that seats 2000 people, has more than 3,000 underground parking spots and three high rise towers than cover over 3.3 million square feet. So much for a quiet opening. Amazon released these details in paperwork filed on Tuesday this week with city planners and a design review board that will discuss the proposal late next week.

But the design isn’t the only thing gaining attention from the paperwork; Amazon is also considering hosting several “public benefits” in hopes of gaining permission to dramatically transform the three blocks in the Denny Triangle area. This design meeting will launch the beginning of months of a permitting process, while giving Amazon the time and opportunity to present their design ideas to the public, and gain much sought out feedback.

Seattle Commercial Property Market Improving

This past week, Seattle and the surrounding region has seen an improvement in the commercial real estate market, with the sales of three big properties.

First, Continental Properties, Inc. sold 131 apartment units at the Aqua View and Carillon Heights apartment complexes to Archstone. It sold for $47.46 million.

Arden Realty LP sold West Willows Technology Center to Griffin Capital New Lease REIT Inc. for $40 million. The office park is over 155,000 sq. ft and is located at 14500 and NE 87th St. in Redmond. AT&T is the current tenant and uses the space for network operation and R&D.

Finally, Redhill Realty Investments sold the Kent-located Hampton Bay Apartments to Hampton Bay located in Vancouver, WA. The 304 apartment units sold for  $31.4 million.

For more information, please read the original PSBJ article.

Seattle Roosevelt Neighborhood Will See Higher Buildings

Last month, I wrote about the Roosevelt neighborhood potentially seeing a commercial rezone. On Monday, the full Seattle City Council approved six-story building heights in the Roosevelt commercial area. According to the Seattle Times article, it spans about 40 blocks of the commercial core. The 85-feet high buildings are designed to add density. However, the buildings around Roosevelt High School are restricted to a 40-foot height restriction, so as to preserve views of the school. Final projects are still subject to the design review board. For more information, please visit the Seattle Times article.

Downtown Seattle Aspira Tower Will Wait to Sell

Magnolia ApartmentAccording to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, the owners of the 37-story Aspira Tower, located in downtown Seattle at 1823 Terry Avenue, will wait to sell. Investors are eager to bid on it, as Seattle has the third strongest apartment market in the country; however, the owners of the 325-unit tower will sell at the time when leasing and the capital markets are stronger.

Currently, the Aspira Tower has an occupancy rate of 82%, with 6-7 leases per week. The average price of a unit is $2.85/sq.ft.

South Lake Union Attracting Universities

WalkabilityAlong with attracting business headquarters, South Lake Union is attracting universities, due to its high-tech job growth. City University is moving its headquarters from Bellevue to South Lake Union at 6th and Wall. Boston-based Northeastern University is looking at South Lake Union as a place for its graduate program. Finally, University of Washington is already working on three buildings in the SLU neighborhood.

It makes sense that South Lake Union is attracting universities. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, South Lake Union has seen 6.35 million sq.ft in new development from 2004-2010, at an assessed value of $1.1 billion. It’s expected to generate $6 million in tax revenue, not including the added amount of property value increase. Unfortunately, South Lake Union is facing the problem of a lack of office space available over 10,000 sq. ft.

Washington Commercial Construction Firms Optimistic

According to a Seattle Times article, Washington commercial construction firms are more optimistic than the rest of the country. According to a survey, the Washington firms boasted more positive numbers on various levels. 40% of Washington firms plan to hire new workers, while only 32% nationwide feel the same way. 2% of Washington firms plan layoffs, while 9% plan nationwide plan layoffs. Finally, 57% of Washington firms believe construction market will grow again in 2013-2014 versus 39% nationwide who feel the same way.

Is Washington State in positive economic health and likely to rebound quickly in commercial construction or do the Washington State construction firms simply wear rose-colored glasses?

Seattle Commercial Real Estate: Small Office Spaces Filling Up

Three Pioneer Square Buildings Sold for $19MAccording to a Seattle Times real estate article, Seattle commercial real estate is experiencing lower vacancy rates and increasing rents. The expected decline in office vacancies is expected to continue, a good sign signaling an upturn in the economy. However, speculative office building isn’t expected to happen unless there is a big-name tenant, like Amazon, to commit to the space. So, if a company wants 50,000 square feet, there isn’t much in terms of current inventory. Currently, Class A office space is $32.98/sq.ft in Seattle, and $31.38/sq.ft in Bellevue. Read the article for more details.

Room & Board to Take U-Village Barnes & Noble’s Place

The modern furniture store, Room & Board, will occupy 27,000 sq.ft of space in University Village in Seattle, replacing part of the former Barnes & Noble. It is Room & Board’s first retail location in the Northwest. It will be competing against its top competitors in Seattle’s University Village, including Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and Restoration Hardware. For more information, please visit the Seattle Times article.