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Pacific Northwest College of Art Secures Milestone Loan to Renovate Old Post Office

19 Nov 2013, 5:12 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

The Portland Development Commission approved one of the largest loans it has ever awarded, a financing package for the Pacific Northwest College of Art. The $20.3 million in financial aid will help the non-profit institution renovate an aging facility in the North Park Blocks and turn it into a new campus.   

PNCA will use the funds to turn the former post office at 511 N.W. Broadway in the Pearl District in Portland, a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, into its new campus. According to OregonLive, the development commission would take the building over from the federal government in order to better manage the use of historic preservation tax credits, and the school would support all ownership costs.

The loan includes $7.6 million in long-term debt and $12.7 million provided via a five-year bridge financing agreement. The local commission’s financing offer was deemed superior to what the institution could have obtained if it had pursued private lenders. The bridge financing will most likely be paid as soon as the college completes its move, as it expects to secure a total of around $12 million in federal New Markets Tax Credits and Historic Tax Credits.

According to the Portland Business Journal, the school will also use $6 million of its own cash in the moving process, due to be completed by 2015. The funds were sourced through the sale of PNCA’s Pearl District headquarters in a deal worth a total of $11.75 million.

Photo Credits: Author M.O. Stevens via Wikimedia Commons under GNU Free Documentation License

New Condo Building in First Hill Announces Construction Start Date; Hospitality Market Continues to Raise Interest

12 Nov 2013, 7:06 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

As Seattle’s multifamily market soars with a large number of projects currently going and a backed up development pipeline for the next five years, a new project has popped up in First Hill. Developer Lowe Enterprises Investors has announced the start of construction on its Seneca St. condominium project some time during the middle of 2014.

The 169-unit condo tower will be developed by a joint venture between L.A.-based Lowe and Swedish pension fund Alecta, an entity that has ramped up its activity in the area’s real estate market. The location for the 24-story residential tower is just two blocks away from the First Hill streetcar line, scheduled to open a few months from now.

In other news, following our report of the hospitality industry’s emergence in the Puget Sound area last week, another important hotel sale has taken place. The Residence Inn in Bellevue just traded hands for a large amount of money. Chatham Lodging, a Florida-based real estate investment trust, purchased the hotel for about $71.8 million, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports.

The 231-key facility was developed in 2008 near Interstate 405. The hotel has reportedly seen its per-room annual revenue for the year that just ended reach the $131 mark, PSBJ writes. Chatham Lodging has hailed the new acquisition as falling into line with its current strategy, being similar to the other properties that are part of its portfolio.

Seattle Set to Become More Hospitable as Kimpton Announces New Facility; Hedreen Hits Speedbump with Downtown Hotel Project

5 Nov 2013, 6:27 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

The Puget Sound area has been thriving in terms of new developments, due to massive increases in office space in the Denny Triangle, where Amazon is driving growth, as well as the rise of South Lake Union as one of the hottest development spots in the entire Pacific Northwest. Now, with office projects taking off left and right, and the multifamily development pipeline ready to go until 2015 and beyond, it’s now another sector’s turn to take the spotlight. Two new hospitality projects were announced recently, with an aging property in Belltown ready to be turned into a high-end property while a brand new project will take shape in Seattle’s downtown area.

The Puget Sound Business Journal recently wrote that operator Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants announced the opening of a new, four-star facility in Seattle’s Belltown. The location is the Palladian, a century-old building located at Second and Virginia that will be transformed by late 2014 into a high-end hospitality facility. The property will offer 97 rooms and 1,100 square feet of meeting and event space. San Francisco designer Nicole Hollis will be responsible for the design of the new building, while the conversion process is handled by Shemiran Trade.

The other hotel project in discussion recently is R.C. Hedreen Co.’s $450 million project at the core of Seattle. However, the company’s progress was recently hampered by local authorities. According to PSBJ, the developer will now have to review the project’s environmental impact in order to be able to continue its development process for Ninth & Stewart, as it was dubbed. The large project would feature a 41-story construction, offering 1,680 room and suites, as well as 160 units of affordable housing and 700 parking stalls.

One of the key points that made the city ask for more review is the impact that the new building would have on traffic. Also part of the controversy is a public alley, currently the home of a Greyhound bus terminal. That alley should be vacated and replaced by a new street that Hedreen offered to build through the site linking Eighth and Ninth avenues.

Development Slate: Amazon Makes Changes to Denny Triangle Spheres, GIS Rekindles Hotel-Condo Project and Belltown Site Trade Hands

28 Oct 2013, 4:13 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Recent news regarding a number of new or resurrected projects has energized an already exciting development scene, as Seattle continues to see large projects take the stage in its downtown area. As Amazon continues to modify its artsy spheres, two high-rise projects promise to make their mark on the city’s skyline.

In Amazon.com’s massive Denny Triangle office campus project in the downtown area, one of the architectural flourishes and one of the most contested features, the Spheres, has reportedly been modified in anticipation of a recent design review meeting for the project. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the design for the futuristic structure will have a more organic feel, and will be “visually lighter,” as the new plan states.

Also making headlines is the formerly defunct high-rise development project at the corner of Stewart Street and Minor Avenue, a GIS International Group initiative that was scrapped back in 2011 after four years of planning. The project has now been brought back, according to a press statement announcing the commencement of the development process on the site. The building will have a mixed-use designation, with both hospitality and residential space to occupy substantial chunks of the proposed structure. The hotel-condo combination was also part of an earlier form of the project: Back in 2007, the project had a 14-story hotel facility under 150 studio condo units, The Puget Sound Business Journal writes.

The previously mentioned Belltown development site deal was perfected recently for a total of $11.5 million after an LLC managed by Lobseng Dargey acquired the property from developer HAL Real Estate Investments. Located at 2116 Fourth Ave., the site has paperwork in place allowing the development of a 40-story residential tower, according to PSBJ.   

Skanska Rolls Out 400 Fairview Development Project with Brand-New Anchor Tenant

22 Oct 2013, 3:54 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

One of the most active foreign developers in the bustling Seattle market in recent years has undeniably been Stockholm-based Skanska. Operating through subsidiary Skanska USA, it now has a new investment going in the city. The company has announced a $150 million investment in a new office and retail development project in the meteoric South Lake Union neighborhood, one of the primary engines for growth in the Seattle real estate market.

The project will be developed between now and the fourth quarter of 2015, and will offer around 337,000 square feet of space. The new building will stand 13 stories tall on a plot of land located at 400 Fairview Ave. North and will offer around 320,000 square feet of office space, with the rest set for retail.

Skanska USA has a policy of developing LEED-certified properties in the Pacific Northwest, one of the country’s hotbeds of eco-friendly construction. The project in question will look for at least LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The property will need to achieve a minimum 25 percent reduction in energy use and 40 percent reduction in potable water use, while the development process will fit the building with chilled beams for heating and cooling, achieving 30 percent less energy for HVAC compared to regular office assets.

Skanska USA has already secured a leasing agreement for the upcoming property with clothing and lifestyle retailer Tommy Bahama, who will act as the anchor tenant. The company is set to move its headquarters from 428 Westlake Ave. N., where it holds 78,000 square feet, and will take on approximately 118,000 square feet of space, the Puget Sound Business Journal revealed.

 Rendering courtesy of  usa.skanska.com

New M-F Deal Completed in Seattle as Company Continues Shopping Spree

14 Oct 2013, 1:38 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

As Seattle continues to grow and its development pipeline keeps being populated, investors are eyeing the city’s multifamily assets. One company that has recently moved on the market is JB Matteson Inc., which announced the acquisition of Greenhouse Apartments in Columbia City, in a deal worth $32.1 million. The San Mateo, Calif.-based company has retained its regular property manager, E&S Ring Management Corp., for the new property.

Built in 2012, the five-story apartment complex is located at 3701 S. Hudson St. The building was particularly attractive due to its LEED Silver certification and energy efficiency characteristics. The property occupies a 0.85-acre parcel and offers 124 residential units, including both one- and two-bedroom floor plans and a controlled-access garage. The amenity package at the site includes a rooftop garden, a fire pit, individual garden plots, fitness facilities, bicycle parking, a community room, as well as 60 units of storage space.

The units offer renters washer/dryer units, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and large operable windows, while some apartments also feature private balconies/patios and walk-in closets. The acquisition marks JB Matteson’s application of a policy of acquiring newly completed multifamily assets in infill locations in major markets on the U.S. West Coast. The property falls in line with the January 2013 purchase of the Langara Apartments in Issaquah. According to a press statement from JB Matteson, the company is set to close on $200 million worth of multifamily deals in West Coast markets in the next year.

Pierce County Gives Go-Ahead to Pre-Design Measures for New Facility

8 Oct 2013, 8:32 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Tacoma’s office market might be about to take a hit, as reports claim that Pierce County is looking to consolidate its employees into one standalone office property. As county officials are currently occupying eight different office buildings throughout the city, a number of owners may soon be scrambling to line up new tenants to fill the space as Pierce County vacates it.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, a recent vote will allow Pierce County to dig into a local fund and take $1 million for use in the pre-design stages of development for a new office facility. The journal speculated that one of the best spots for a project of this kind is the former Puget Sound Hospital lot at 3580 Pacific Ave. Discussions about gathering county employees into a new facility has been going on for about a year.

Back in June, the Business Examiner wrote that Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy had commissioned a feasibility study on bringing together the 17 different departments that would be housed in the new property and had received a preliminary go-ahead. At that time, it was still unclear whether McCarthy would seek approval from the County Council’s design commission, and the Pierce County Annex was thought to be the site for the development before interest shifted to the hospital site.

Now, with approval to begin pre-design measures and the funding in place, the 2,950 employees included in the 17 departments might just need to start moving soon. The measure would also ease citizen access to records and to the involved departments, as PSBJ notes that only criminal records would not be stored at the proposed facility.

Bosa Development Proceeds with Second Condo Tower at Insignia

30 Sep 2013, 4:48 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Two of Seattle’s latest projects are Bosa Development Corp.’s Insignia and Stadium Place. Bosa is now set to double down on its Insignia initiative, thereby completing its original plan, while Stadium Place in Pioneer Square has recently lit the area up with its varied development projects. With a new mixed-use project in the pipeline for the area, it seems that the smallest of roadblocks might change the developer’s mind.

Bosa’s 41-story Insignia project was initially set to be a two-tower condo development, but insecurity regarding the residential market’s health caused the developer to scale back to only one tower with a view, with development of the second one depending on the success of the venture. Now, with construction well underway at the downtown tower and completion set for the spring of 2015, Bosa has decided it will double the odds in its favor and go ahead with the second, 41-story tower of the Insignia complex. The project will constitute a $450 million investment for Seattle and will add 707 new condo units to a sector of the market that is lacking in the area, The Puget Sound Business Journal writes. The project is the first downtown condo development to come to fruition in five years.

Meanwhile, Pioneer Square is seeing another developer tackle the area with a mixed-use development project. And developer Urban Visions is set to modify its vision for the project because of a $250,000 measure in the form of a public restroom. According to PSBJ, the developer intends on modifying its Seattle City Council-backed plan, and instead of the 130-foot tall office and residential building it had approved by local authorities, it will build a smaller office property. The scaled-down version of the project would not call for the purchase and installation of the restroom, as the measure was just a way of getting approval to build a taller-than-allowed construction.  

Rendering courtesy of Insignia Seattle on facebook

American Life Acquires Site North of CenturyLink Field

14 Sep 2013, 4:36 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Given that Seattle’s real estate market is supporting a rate of development that is among the highest in the entire U.S., it is not surprising that developers are taking every opportunity to cash in on the buzz. The latest company to ripple the waters of the Puget Sound is American Life, which has acquired a parking lot from Daniels Real Estate just north of CenturyLink Field, in Pioneer Square. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the investor paid a fee of $18 million for the property, on a site giving rise to Stadium Place, a mixed-use community.

The two local companies will partner on the development of a nine-story office building at the site, offering around 170,000 square feet of space. American Life is also planning to build a hotel that would bring around 297 guest rooms to the area. Daniels Real Estate is already working on developing the North Lot area with R.D. Merrill, with permits allowing for around 700 residential units, 50,000 square feet of retail and parking for about 750 vehicles.

The main development focus has been on three residential towers, two of them products of the Daniels-Merrill partnership and one of which has already opened its doors to residents. As the new hotel project takes shape, the partners are planning to break ground on the office facility in the spring of 2014, Stadium Place is expected to revitalize the Pioneer Square area.

Rendering courtesy of danielsdevelopmentcompany.com

UDub Debuts New, Improved Husky Stadium During Game Against Boise State

6 Sep 2013, 10:51 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

As autumn arrives, it is time to kick off every collegiate sport imaginable and throw on the war paint of your alma mater. But in order to do that, you need a venue, and the University of Washington has just unveiled its completely re-imagined Husky Stadium. The massive $280 million investment has already hosted its opening game, a 38-6 thrashing of the Boise State Broncos by the Washington Huskies. The newly re-opened football stadium has received very positive feedback from those participating at the event, The Seattle Times writes.

The 72,500 capacity that the venue had prior to its two-year renovation was slightly reduced to 70,138 seats, but the facility underwent a series of improvements. Developer Wright Runstad & Co. handled the massive project, in its first stadium project. According to The Puget Sound Business Journal, the company undertook such a gargantuan task because back in 2010, when the application process for Husky Stadium originally began, it promised a consistent revenue stream at a time when development was slow and allowed the office developer to carry on its side projects. Wright Runstad had the help of experienced general contractor Turner Construction, a seasoned veteran in developing collegiate athletic facilities, and architecture firm 360 Architects.

The process has modified a number of features at the stadium, beginning with the complete overhaul of the stands and lower bowl, all affected by years of wear and tear. The renovation process has turned Husky Stadium into UDub’s largest single capital project in the history of the institution. The venue is the new centerpiece of a wholly revised athletic district, which also includes the Husky Ballpark, a new soccer stadium, basketball operations and practice facility, and the new Husky Legends Center, as well as a series of other renovation projects.


First Hill Residential Tower Gets Approval from City’s East Design Review Board

3 Sep 2013, 2:21 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Seattle’s frantic pace of multifamily development is set to see another spike with the announcement of a brand-new residential tower project on First Hill. According to the Department of Planning and Development’s website, European pension fund Alecta will build the project at 800 Columbia St. And that is just one of three different multifamily developments it has in the pipeline for Seattle.

The proposed 30-story residential tower was designed by Weber-Thompson, a Seattle architectural firm responsible for a few entries on the city’s skyline. The design plans approved by the East Design Review Board include 287 units, with floor plans ranging from studio to two-bedroom units. Parking would be provided for a total of 234 vehicles, and about 9,000 square feet of space around the new structure would be turned into a new park for the community. According to an urbnlivn piece, the units might end up being marketed as condominiums, but nothing is official as of yet.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes that the purpose of the design review was because the developer wanted exemptions from design rules to allow a reduction in the size of building wall setbacks. It also wished to incorporate a garage door that would accommodate two-way traffic.   

For a more in-depth take on Seattle’s current multifamily growth, click here.

Rendering courtesy of weberthompson.com



Daly Sets Sights on Seven-Month Modular Construction for ‘N’ Habit

26 Aug 2013, 5:00 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

One of the hottest trends in building now is the use of prefabricated elements, banking on the effectiveness the medium offers. One of the first Seattle developers to jump on that bandwagon was Daly Partners. Normally, a mid-rise apartment community project rising in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood would take around a year construction-wise, but contractor Charter Construction has set itself a seven-month deadline.

The seven-and-a-half-story project, dubbed ‘N’ Habit by the developers, will be built on a lot at 2217 Third Ave., just three city blocks away from Amazon.com’s new headquarters in Denny Triangle. Apart from having a lightning-fast development schedule, the project will bear the legacy of being the city’s first modular apartment building, The Puget Sound Business Journal writes. The residential building will offer 49 units ranging from 422- to 452-square-foot studio units to two-story lofts ranging between 546 and 752 square feet and 672- to 727-square-foot lofts. According to the ‘N’ Habit Web site, rental rates at the building will range between $1,175 for the basic studio and $2,100 for the largest two-story lofts. There is no parking element to the project, with the focus put on the presence of a bike storage facility.

The modular components to be used in the development process are being provided by OneBuild. The company is producing the modules at its Klamath Falls facility in Oregon. The smooth production process, facilitated by the modular technology, will also help out by lessening the effects of the development of a midrise building in one of the most crowded areas of a large city. PSBJ writes that the use of modular construction units would reduce the impact on nearby traffic from a number of months to a couple of weekends, due to the ease with which the structure will be erected.

Image courtesy of nhabitseattle.com

MacFarlane Partners Sets Similar Development Plans for Two Multifamily Projects in South Lake Union

19 Aug 2013, 4:27 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

MacFarlane Partners has seriously ramped up its involvement in the Seattle area, specifically the booming neighborhood of South Lake Union, recently announcing serious progress in the development of two different apartment projects. The investment management firm announced a deal for a parcel at 201 Westlake Ave. North, where it intends to build one new apartment building, as well as the acquisition of the final parcel it required for its planned multifamily complex at 215 Eighth Ave.

The current single-story structure on the 0.29-acre site at 201 Westlake Ave. N. will be torn down to make way for a seven-story, 77-unit apartment building. The structure will be built following plans by Ankrom Moisan, a noted architectural firm. Floor plans will feature studios, as well as one- and two-bedroom rental apartments. The property will also include 4,500 square feet of leasable retail space. Resident amenities will include a rooftop terrace, views of the city’s growing downtown area and the Space Needle, as well as a resident lounge with fire pit and outdoor seating. A formal groundbreaking will be held during the first quarter of 2014, with summer 2015 completion set in the developer’s sights.

For its Eighth Avenue North project, MacFarlane acquired a number of properties, the last of them being 215 Eighth Ave. North for $2.7 million, from Haven Investments. The existing assets will be replaced with a seven-story, 174-unit multifamily property. That property, too, will follow a design by Ankrom Moisan, featuring a brick-and-glass aesthetic. The building will also feature studio, one- and two-bedroom floor plans and a street-level retail component of 5,047 square feet. The development schedule will mirror the plan for Westlake Avenue North, with the groundbreaking in the first quarter of next year and completion planned for the summer of 2015.

Yesler Terrace Redevelopment Finally Launches with Green Light for First Private Project

29 Jul 2013, 3:43 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

One of the most ambitious neighborhood revitalization projects in the city of Seattle is finally seeing plans come through, with the first private residential project in the community set to break ground. Spectrum Development Solutions, one of the companies tasked with repositioning Seattle’s Yesler Terrace, has been given the green light for its Anthem multifamily project.

Anthem will be a six-story, 120-unit apartment complex that, in keeping with the area’s history, will be targeted for low- and median-income housing. Construction at the project is set to start during the first quarter of 2014, with the investment expected to total approximately $23.5 million. The property will be developed on a 0.5-acre site at 12th Avenue and East Yesler Way.

The developer has been locked in since the fall of last year, when it acquired the property from the Seattle Housing Authority. According to an agreement with the agency, 25 percent of the available units will be for households earning 80 percent or less of the median income. Anthem will feature studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, with 4,000 of its total 118,000 square feet allocated for ground-floor commercial usage. Plans call for the project to seek LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Still dominated by its history as a public housing district built during World War II, Yesler Terrace is set to become a greatly updated and augmented community, with a billion-dollar redevelopment scheme promising to include a number of projects similar to Spectrum’s Anthem. The Seattle Housing Authority is heavily courting Vulcan Real Estate and trying to get the Paul Allen-led Seattle developer to take on the role of master developer.

Image courtesy of spectrumdevsolutions.com

Bellevue’s Spring District Kickstarts Development with Two Office Buildings

22 Jul 2013, 3:19 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

The city of Bellevue approved permits for two new office buildings to be part of the Spring District project in Bellevue. Developed by Wright Runstad & Co., the the mixed-use Spring District will constitute a 36-acre, environmentally sustainable urban area that will replace the old Safeway Distribution Center in the Bel-Red Corridor. The development comes in response to the area’s rising technology market and growing interest in the Puget Sound area overall. An appeal deadline was set for July 25th.  

The two office buildings will be situated at 1227 124th Ave., N.E., and will total nine and 11 stories, respectively, with both featuring a ground-floor retail component. According to the city of Bellevue’s “Weekly Permit Bulletin,” the combined area of the two buildings will stand at around 525,140 square feet, excluding the space taken up by parking facilities. The development plan also features five levels of underground parking, with 1,272 parking stalls.

For the two buildings to take shape, the developer will need to conduct a demolition process on existing buildings totaling 358,310 square feet. Site and street improvements will be made to the area before the actual construction can begin. Approval has been given for a 14.75-acre site, with other projects to follow.

According to the developer’s Web site, the Spring District will total around 5.3 million square feet and will include a hotel, 1,000 residential units, street-level retail, green areas and plazas. The area is being developed to meet LEED-Neighborhood Development standards. Surroundings offer views of the Cascade Mountains, downtown Bellevue, Lake Washington, Seattle, the Olympic Mountains and Mt. Rainier. Security Properties is under contract to build 316 apartment units on a 2.5-acre site, while 1.8 acres will probably go under contract for another 239 residential units.

Corporate Park in Kent Fetches $170M, in Northwest’s Largest Industrial Sale

9 Jul 2013, 8:30 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

The Pacific Northwest’s largest industrial property finally traded hands — and for quite a fee. The Northwest Corporate Park in Kent was acquired by an affiliate of New York-based private equity fund manager KTR Capital Partners. The deal cost the buyer a staggering $170 million, a price tag that makes the transaction the largest of its kind in the entire Northwest, and one of the reference points of the West Coast real estate market in 2013.

The industrial asset is located on a 125-acre site in Kent, and offers 2.8 million square feet of space, divided among 19 buildings. The wide variety of building heights and features was clearly a big selling point, with the park offering clear heights between 22 and 30 feet, excellent access, freeway visibility and generous parking accommodations. It also features active BNSF rail service, thereby offering access to the country’s second-largest freight-railroad network. The property’s vacancy rate at the time of the transaction stood at 20 percent.

According to KTR Senior Vice President of Investments Phil Prassas, the purchase of Northwest Corporate Park “was a rare opportunity to acquire a well-established business park in the heart of the highly desirable Kent Valley submarket.” The official added that acquiring the property at an attractive basis below replacement cost factored in highly in the purchase decision.

Sound Transit Breaks Ground on Permanent Facility in Tukwila

1 Jul 2013, 4:39 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Development has begun on a new Tukwila station, with the Sound Transit transportation system breaking ground on a $46 million structure to replace the temporary facility at 7301 Longacres Way, built back in 2000. The 1,300-boardings-a-day line is used by commuters going to and from Seattle.

The Puget Sound Business Journal writes that although plans for the station have been approved by voters for 17 years, proceedings were delayed at the request of the cities of Tukwila and Renton as they sought to align their own transportation plans with the station project. Then, two years ago, as the project seemed right on track to begin development, it was again delayed by efforts at a new design. With plans adapted for a more modern take, Sound Transit is now under construction at the Tukwila site. The plan calls for 390 parking spaces–182 more than currently available–and a bus transfer facility serving three routes, as well as the forthcoming RapiRoute F line when that takes over for Route 140.

KPFF Consulting Engineers is the company responsible for the new station’s design, while general contracting duties will be handled by Absher Construction. The station will feature an “imaginary landscape,” a concept that will feature blue “sky” panels and rows of twig dogwood shrubs to complete the décor. Integrated lighting, mirrored panels in the marquee and a number of other features will enhance the new facility.

Rendering courtesy of soundtransit.org.

Major Office High-Rise Trades Hands for $390M in City’s Financial District

11 Jun 2013, 5:49 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

As Seattle’s office market soared over the past year, a number of major office building transactions have been completed. The Russell Investments Center, at 1201 Third Ave., and Vulcan’s Amazon campus have drawn massive amounts of money as investment companies are focusing on Seattle real estate. Continuing that trend is the recent sale of the Wells Fargo Center to Canadian real estate company Ivanhoé Cambridge for a fee of $390 million. According to a press release issued by the buyer, the acquisition brings the total amount of office space in Seattle’s financial district that is owned by Ivanhoé to 8 percent.

Wells Fargo Center is a 47-story, Class A office tower that offers around 983,600 square feet of leasable space. The building, located at 999 Third Ave., is one of the mainstays of the city’s skyline and has joined the ranks of major office assets in the Pacific Northwest that feature energy-efficient fixtures and environmental systems. It boasts a high Energy Star rating and LEED Gold certification. The skyscraper offers great views of the neighboring area, as well as Elliott Bay and the city.

According to Ivanhoé Cambridge CEO Daniel Fournier, the move for Wells Fargo Center is “an excellent investment opportunity brought to our attention through our partner, Callahan Capital Properties, and contributes to our strategy aimed at building a national platform of assets comprising superior-quality office buildings.”

The company also owns a 50 percent stake in another major Seattle office building. The U.S. Bank Centre offers around 943,600 square feet of office space in the city’s financial district. Ivanhoé Cambridge handles a variety of activities, including investment, development, asset management, leasing and operations for a portfolio of assets located in around 20 countries and worth almost $34 billion.  

Photo courtesy of  users Rahula59 and Mrwojo via Wikimedia Commons

Hobby Lobby Set for First Oregon Location

3 Jun 2013, 8:27 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

A retail giant is setting its sights on new opportunities in the state of Oregon, as Hobby Lobby has announced expansion of its Pacific Northwest operations with a brand-new store in the Portland area. The retailer has selected the Heritage Mall in Albany, Ore., to house its first location. Hobby Lobby currently operates three stores in the Seattle metro area, as well as two other locations in the state of Washington.

The retailer will join the tenant roster at the 408,878-square-foot shopping center in late 2014. Offering arts and crafts products, the Oklahoma City-based retail chain is reportedly under contract for around 61,000 square feet at 1871-2255 SE 14th Ave.

 The new Hobby Lobby store will be occupying a spot held by a Gottschalks until 2009, as well as Old Navy’s current spot. The clothing retailer will reportedly move to the interior mall. According to CoStar Group, Heritage Mall was the subject of an $11 million REO sale in December 2012, when it was acquired by Vintage Real Estate. The shopping center’s list of 52 tenants includes names such as Target, Sears, Ross, Old Navy, Famous Footwear, GameStop, rue21 and Bath & Body Works.

The company currently has 531 stores across 44 states. The Portland Business Journal pointed out that the retail chain is best known for its corporate minimum wage standard of $14 an hour for its full-time employees, while part-time employees have their hourly rate set at the $9.50 mark. By comparison, Oregon’s minimum wage stands at $8.95 per hour.

Logo courtesy of facebook.com/heritagemall

Bellevue Collection Set for Massive Expansion as Kemper Looks to Continue 65-Year Legacy

29 May 2013, 1:14 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Kemper Development recently announced one of the largest development projects in the Seattle metro area: its expansion of its Bellevue Collection. The existing property is currently one of Bellevue’s focal points, including spots such as the Bellevue Square shopping mall; Bellevue Place with its Hyatt Regency; and Lincoln Square, which features a cinema, dining spots and a Westin hotel.

Now, Kemper Development is set to add $1.2 billion worth of mixed-use space to the Bellevue Collection, or around 2 million square feet of space. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the expansion would mean an additional 350,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space; a 250-key high-end hotel; a boutique hospitality venue; a 500-unit residential component 700,000 square feet of office space; as well as two six-level parking facilities that would improve the existing parking options by a reported 3,700 new spaces. An expansion of the Bellevue Collection has been in the works for quite a while, PSBJ writes, and the new additions to the commercial hub would enrich a legacy of almost 65 years.

Expansion plans were revealed recently, with a report that Kemper Development had manifested its interest in acquiring a one-acre property in the immediate vicinity of Bellevue Square. The underdeveloped lot would secure Kemper the four corners of the intersection of Northeast Eighth Street and Bellevue Way, thereby facilitating the expansion and creating a comprehensive mixed-use hub at the core of the Bellevue community.

Image courtesy of bellevuecollection.com

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