Bertha Under Repair – Viaduct Status Update

99 tunnel access pit

Photo Courtesy of Washington State Department of Transportation

The 99 tunnel-boring machine dubbed big “Bertha” has experienced a few set backs since getting stuck last winter, but the WSDOT wants Seattle to know that work is still underway on the project. According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, Bertha may be out of commission until March, but over 230 construction workers are currently on site near the South end of the tunnel, and 58 of those workers are busily working to repair Bertha.

Seattle Tunnel Partners are working around schedules to ensure as much work as possible is getting completed while the machine is under repair, and noted that new infrastructure is getting built much sooner than originally scheduled. Electrical and fire suppression systems are being installed at this time, and the roadway South of the tunnel is also underway. The benefits of completing work before Bertha is ready will be evident when Seattle Tunnel Partners make up for the significant time lost while Bertha has been under repair. There has been a lot of negative coverage on the status of this project and seemingly lack of progression, but WSDOT would like tax payers to know construction is moving forward, and progression is evident. For more information on Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today!

Nine Office Buildings For Sale Around the Sound

This just in: Chicago based private equity real estate firm Walton Street Capital has listed 9 office buildings in the Puget Sound area, according to the Daily Journal of Commerce.Two of the buildings that hit the market are located in downtown Seattle, one at 1111 3rd Ave, and the other (just kitty corner to it), at 2nd & Spring. Six of the other apartmentsbuildings listed are located in Bellevue, and the other is the Island Corporate Center on Mercer Island. The portfolio for sale totals over 2 million sf of office space, a large slice of inventory for the firm to place on the market at one time. Walton Street Capital bought 11 offices in the surrounding Seattle area after a previous owner defaulted on a $900 million dollar loan. Seeing a win-win opportunity, Walton, along with several bankers bought some of that heavily discounted debt, and set themselves up for success to take control of the buildings once the owner defaulted. If you’re in the market to purchase or sell commercial real estate in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today.

Is SLU Too Expensive For Seattle Startups?

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Chris DeVore of Techstars and Founder Co-op predicts that South Lake Union is becoming too expensive for Seattle startups. Startups innately need inexpensive office space to get their company up and running, and the combination of the new Amazon towers and other large scale office buildings in South Lake Union are beginning to push startups out. So where will these new businesses flock? DeVore predicts the University District is the next big up and coming neighborhood to become popular for startups, and he is so confident that he’s moving both of his businesses in at the end of the year.

Photo by Wikimedia

                   Photo by Wikimedia

He lists several strong points – the light rail will soon service the area, and it would be convenient to have all that tech talent from the University right outside your office doorstep. The City of Seattle is also planning on updating the U District’s zoning regulations to allow taller buildings, an enhancement that would likely attract larger office tenants. If you’re office is looking for new scenery, contact your local commercial real estate office today.

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.

Will SCCC Gain Support to Move Into the Old PacMed Center?

According to the Seattle Times, Seattle Central Community College is interested in moving into a portion of the vacant space in the old Historic PacMed Center in Beacon Hill; and they’re running out of time to do so. The college must gain support from the state in a deal to occupy nearly half of the landmark, but since Amazon moved out, the building hasn’t been successful in finding tenants large enough to fill the 205,000 sf space. Seattle Central is interested in moving its health training program into the building, if the Pacific Tower receives $27 million in renovations from the state, but the Senate and House must reach a deal for this to happen, but the legislative session will end on Sunday. pacmed

A budget approved by a state house committee earlier this month would give $20 million for preparing the Pacific Tower for “community college health career training programs, offices for the department of commerce or other appropriate state agencies, and other nonprofit community uses.” However, there is no set measure in place with the Senate. Nothing is set in stone for the building, but we might have a better idea after Sunday’s session. For more information PacMed, visit the landmark’s website.

Bullitt Center Opens Today!

The much anticipated uber-green Bullitt Center Building will open today at 11am with a ceremony; how very green of them to coordinate the opening to happen on Earth Day! There will be guided tours happening this afternoon from noon-5pm, where the public is welcome to come check out the six story 50,000 sf space, which is designed to be one of the world’s greenest commercial buildings. Bullet Centter Exterior1

Governor Jay Inslee, and Mayor Mike McGinn will speak at the ceremony today.  According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, Dennis Hayes, president and CEO of the Bullit Center Foundation, was the coordinator of Seattle’s first Earth Day in 1970. What a wonderful day for Hayes and his colleagues to celebrate!

Ace Hardware to Move into the Securities Building Downtown

If you live in and around downtown, you’ll be thankful to hear that the city is finally getting a downtown hardware store. The Myers Group announced that they will be opening an Ace Hardware in the Securities building on 4th and Stewart in the first quarter of 2013. The store will be spread across 7,500 sf of retail space, catering to the ever growing population of city dwellers as well as businesses, creating a convenient place to grab your essentials such as hammers, fasteners and tools on the fly.

The Myers Group has said they’ve been looking for the right location for years, and they’re pleased a hardware store will now be able to assist the downtown population.  “The location adjacent to Bed, Bath & Beyond is a very complimentary fit for a hardware store and the Myers Group and Clise Properties were equally eager to make the terms of the lease work,” said Tom Graff, president of commercial at Ewing & Clark, who leased the space to the Myers Group. “When Richard Stevenson came to me to seek a quality retailer of the space, Tyler Myers was one of my first calls. His store will be a tremendous asset to the area and satisfy a steady request from downtown residential focus groups.” For more information and updates about the space, visit the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Harbor Urban Sells West Seattle Apartments

Seattle Real Estate developer Harbor Urban sold two new apartment buildings in the West Seattle junction area last week, with a total estimated sale of $105 million. Harbor Urban came to shape earlier last month as a collaboration between Urban Partners and Seattle developer Harbor Properties. The West Seattle properties were sold to a company affiliated with American Realty Advisors of Glendale, CA. The Link Apts, a 195 unit complex, were sold for $62.7 million and the 135 unit “Mural Project” was sold for $42.3 million. According to the West Seattle Blog, both buildings are almost entirely leased as well; please find the extended article from the Seattle Times here.

Smith Tower to be Auctioned off in Foreclosure Market Friday

The iconic 97 year old Smith Tower, Seattle’s first skyscraper, is set to be sold at a foreclosure market this Friday, March 23rd outside the King County Administration Building. The building’s owner, Walton Street Capital has fallen behind on loans totaling $42.5 million that they took our when they bought the building, as well as a building kitty-corner to Smith Tower in 2006. The building fell into the hands of CBRE Capital Markets of New York last fall, and began planning for foreclosure last week.

According to The Seattle Times, CBRE paid less than what Walton owed on the building, and is likely to regain ownership of the building by default if bidders fall short of the outstanding debt. Fancy owning the Smith Tower? Come prepared with a cashier’s check; all purchases at the auction must be paid in full at time of purchase.