Bell Partners Acquires 4th Seattle-Area Asset

The 202-unit apartment community is the initial acquisition made on behalf of Bell Core Fund I.
Bell Totem Lake. Image courtesy of Bell Partners

Bell Partners Inc. has acquired Aura Totem Lake in Kirkland, Wash., a Seattle suburb. The 202-unit apartment community is the initial acquisition made on behalf of Bell Core Fund I, a recently announced vehicle. The property, the fourth in Washington State for Bell, will be renamed Bell Totem Lake.

Constructed last year, Bell Totem Lake features a number of upscale amenities, most notably a trio of elevated courtyards with a covered outdoor entertaining kitchen. Features and finishes of apartment homes include wood-like flooring, under-cabinet lighting, flat panel kitchen cabinets and gas ranges with Smart features.

Strong job hub

“We view our investment in Bell Totem Lake as a bet on favorable demand fundamentals on the east side of Seattle,” Nickolay Bochilo, Bell Partners’ executive vice president of investments, told Multi-Housing News.

It is “fueled by one of the strongest employment centers in the nation, while also benefiting from stable performance in the Kirkland market,” he added. “The immediate location went through significant transformation led by several experienced national developers, creating an attractive place to live (for) residents seeking walkable neighborhoods with high-quality retail and entertainment options.”

Valuation challenges

Bell Partners faced valuation challenges that resulted from pandemic-related disruptions in demand. That made it more difficult to anticipate the stabilized rent levels Bell Totem Lake and other area properties stand to generate post pandemic. 

“We leaned heavily on our experience owning and operating properties in the Seattle area, and our knowledgeable local operations team to navigate these challenges,” Bochilo said.

Dubbed the “Innovation Triangle,” Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland formed a coalition to promote economic development on the Eastside.

That area is a base for 3,700 tech firms and 135,000 technology-related jobs such as Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Google. Last month, Bell Partners formed a venture to acquire properties in 14 fast-growing U.S. markets