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Jobs Fuel Accelerated SLU Multifamily Project

26 Jun 2015, 8:27 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

A recently completed land deal indicates that multifamily developer Shea Properties is fast-tracking its first Seattle project. The company just acquired a one-acre site at 1319 Dexter Ave. N. in South Lake Union for a reported $12 million. The transaction was completed with help from Kidder Matthews, the company working on behalf of both Shea Properties and seller Dexter Building LLC.

1319 Dexter Ave. N.

1319 Dexter Ave. N. rendering by Ankrom Moisan Architects

The look of the residential project was revealed back in March, when Shea submitted the Ankrom Moisan-designed development proposal for the seven-story building.

A major catalyst in the progress of the development initiative was Facebook’s announced move to the neighborhood. The Puget Sound Business Journal points out that the social network is taking over enough space to house more than 1,500 employees at the nearby Dexter Station office building. This presents great opportunity for well-paid young professionals to move to the area, which may lead other developers to act quickly and populate the vicinity with other multifamily projects.

To further cement that idea, a nearby office building will become the home of around 350 employees when Pemco Insurance moves its operations there. The insurer is relocating from a property it sold to Unico Properties on the last day of 2014. With around 2,000 jobs flooding the area soon, Shea’s 282 rental units sound like a slam dunk.

Historic YMCA Building Gets New Lease on Life

24 Jun 2015, 11:19 am

By Ioana Neamt, Associate Editor

514 12th St

514 12th St

A 101-year-old YMCA building in downtown Astoria is about to hit a new milestone. A businessman from Boise, Id. has taken upon himself the task of renovating the 11,500-square-foot asset and turning it into a creative design agency and art center, according to the Daily Astorian.

The now-vacant building at 514 12th St. hides a long and rich history within its walls. Built in 1914, the building first served as a school, then it became the city’s main youth and activity center, and later it was turned into an art gallery, the Portland Business Journal reports. The old building currently incorporates three main levels and a 4,000-square-foot gymnasium.

Noel Weber, who runs the Classic Design Studio in Boise, purchased the building in May 2015 from owner James Russell, with plans to breathe new life into the dormant gallery. Once fully renovated, the building will include a screen printing shop, ceramics studio, letterpress and mold-making and model facility. The new space will also include teaching workshops meant to bring together artists from all around the country to Astoria. According to Weber, the project will take about two years to complete.

The historic building had been listed on the market by Myriad Commercial Properties for $350,000. The final price of the purchase has not been disclosed.

Image courtesy of Myriad Commercial Properties

Non-Profit Health Plan Leases Large Chunk of Downtown Office Tower

23 Jun 2015, 6:28 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Community Health Plan of Washington has just signed an agreement that will relocate the not-for-profit organization to 1111 Third Avenue, one of Seattle’s tallest skyscrapers. It will take over 16 percent of the building’s space when it moves from its current location late next year.

1111 Third Ave.

1111 Third Avenue

Owned by Ivanhoe Cambridge and its local partner, Callahan Capital Properties, the 34-story tower was acquired last fall along with the nearby Second & Spring building for a combined $280 million from Chicago-based Walton Street Capital.

The new tenant will be assuming 91,816 square feet of space on the six lower floors. The asset’s new owners acted quickly in attracting a new tenant to the building at a time when downtown Seattle’s office market could not be hotter.  The owners worked with Urbis Partners, while Washington Partners represented the tenant.

The Class A office asset was substantially renovated before last year’s sale, with upgrades to the common areas, new building systems and an expansive new fitness center. Located in the city’s rapidly developing downtown core, the 572,500-square-foot tower offers tenants access to important transit lines and a wide array of shopping and dining options.

GIX Move to Spring District Cements Puget Sound as Tech Hotspot

21 Jun 2015, 3:09 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

The Microsoft-backed Global Innovation Exchange is officially moving to Bellevue, in the under-development Spring District. What a difference a few months makes. Back in April, Bellevue’s position as one of the tech reference points in the Puget Sound area was waning in the wake of Expedia’s announcement that it will move to a Seattle office campus. Now Bellevue has been announced as the future home of the GIX, a venture between the University of Washington and China-based Tsinghua University.

The announcement validates Wright Runstad & Co.’s ambitious Spring District development project, an initiative aiming to turn an industrial area into a vibrant mixed-use community. When completed, the 36-acre Spring District would include office space, multifamily buildings, outdoor areas and a light-rail stop, in the vein of Portland’s Pearl District.

The $2.3 billion development project is now confirmed to house the The Spring District Global Innovation Exchange, which will be moving into a Spring District tower some time in 2017. GIX will take up roughly 100,000 square feet of space, and within a decade is projected to house as many as 3,000 students. GIX will become an important tech development spot in the Puget Sound area, one that will lend the area even more credibility as a tech market. The area doesn’t currently benefit from the same level of educational support as other tech meccas, such as Boston and San Francisco.

Microsoft support was essential in the selection of GIX’s new home. The fact that the Spring District will have a light-rail stop on a line that also stops in the vicinity of Microsoft’s Richmond headquarters played a major part in the decision.

Image courtesy of thespringdistrict.com.

Core Seattle Retail Starts Pricing Out Investors

16 Jun 2015, 2:43 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

As the core of the Seattle MSA is slowly being suffocated by investor interest, focus is slightly shifting to areas with less pressure from flowing capital. A case in point is the recent sale of Woodinville Plaza, on the Eastern end of the Puget Sound area. Its location in an affluent neighborhood of the Seattle metro, combined with a large population, makes the retail asset almost perfectly fit the profile of the new hot commodity in the area.

The property was acquired by Retail Property of America for a price of $35.3 million. This is the buyer’s latest purchase in the Seattle MSA, which has grown by 350,000 square feet over the past 18 months.

The shopping center totals 171,000 square feet of retail space, and currently has a vacancy rate of around 9 percent, still over the Seattle metro’s average rate by almost 400 basis points, and far higher than the vacancy rate recorded for Eastside submarkets. Its current anchor tenants are County Market, a SUPERVALU concept, T.J. Maxx and Rite Aid.

Woodinville Plaza is located in an area that boasts an average household income of more than $110,000 and a population of nearly 190,000. The per-square-foot price came in at around $206, well under the average price paid for multi-tenant properties in the Metro, according to Marcus & Millichap data. The current average price stands at $240 per square foot for comparable neighborhood retail properties.

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