Smith Tower Gets Five New Leases on Life

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor A few months after coming under the ownership of CBRE Capital Partners, the historic Smith Tower in Downtown Seattle is taking the first small steps toward rebounding from years of decline. A CBRE leasing team  of first vice president Christian Shevchenko, vice president Cavan O’Keefe, senior associate Nick Carkonen and [...]

A few months after coming under the ownership of CBRE Capital Partners, the historic Smith Tower in Downtown Seattle is taking the first small steps toward rebounding from years of decline.

A CBRE leasing team  of first vice president Christian Shevchenko, vice president Cavan O’Keefe, senior associate Nick Carkonen and associate Nate Fliflet has arranged leases with five small companies totaling 25,000 square feet.

The new arrivals at Smith Tower include Portent Inc., an internet marketing company, Aukema & Associates, which specializes in strategic marketing and consulting; graphic design company Push Design, as well as Rialto Communications, a marketing and public relations firm focused on health care and technology companies.

Those transactions leave about three-quarters of the building’s 250,000 square feet still available, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

CBRE Capital, which acquired the property earlier this year in a $36.8 million foreclosure sale, is trying to remedy a situation that dates back to at least 2006. That year, Walton Street Capital acquired the property with plans to convert it to condominiums.

But when the condo market went south, Walton Street cut back the residential redevelopment to only the top 12 floors of the 42-story building. Office tenants headed for the exits, and today the office portion of the building is only about 20 percent occupied.

If the new ownership can ride Seattle’s improving office market and boost occupancy, it will mark a turnaround for the 522-foot-tall building, which was the fourth tallest in the world when it opened in 1914. It also was the tallest building west of the Mississippi for 20 years as well as the tallest on the West Coast until completion of Seattle’s Space Needle in 1962.

Photo Credit: user X-Weinzar via Wikimedia Commons