Seattle Commercial Real Estate News of the Day

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Seattle Times Daily Journal of Commerce Headline
Mastro’s lawyers say his whereabouts are unknown Real Estate Buzz: Ballard eyesore gets a whole new look
Fisher Plaza for sale, could fetch $142 million Hey, commercial real estate students! How about this for a summer internship: Oversee the renovation and marketing of a historic building in a trendy Seattle neighborhood.

That’s what Randi Suetens is doing in Ballard, where her dad, Phil, got a master lease for the Henry Whyte Building at 5309 22nd Ave. N.W. He’s spending up to $750,000 to turn the 8,000-square foot building into retail, restaurant and possibly offices.

Phil Suetens leased the Henry Whyte Building at 5309 22nd Ave. N.W., and is spending up to $750,000 to turn it into retail, restaurant and possibly offices.

The 1927 building is irregularly shaped and sits on a sloped, triangular lot. Over the years it has housed a handful of businesses. Ballard Millworks was the initial occupant, followed by Union Wines. Until recently, Olsen Furniture used it as a warehouse.

Broker Bob Meyer of Ewing & Clark negotiated the long-term lease for the Suetens. He noticed the building when he moved to Ballard nearly 30 years ago, but not because of its charm.

“It was like an eyesore,” he said. It had been covered in graffiti so Meyer said it’s refreshing that the building is being saved.

But it hasn’t been easy getting to this point. Meyer spent more than year representing the Suetens in lease negotiations with the owners, who were represented by John Speirs of KG Investment Management.

“Finally it will be cleaned up and join the party in historic Ballard,” he said. The idea is to “pull energy from Ballard Avenue,” the quaint corridor that’s lined with independent businesses.

This is the latest in a string of such investments for the Suetens, who own other Ballard buildings occupied by The Other Coast Cafe, a clothing store called Ketch, Rudy’s Barbershop and a bar called King’s Hardware. The pulse of Ballard is the draw for her family, said Randi Suetens. “It can be the middle of the day on a Monday and you still see people walking through there.”

Real estate investing is a side business for Phil Suetens, who owns Filco, a regional company that decommissions and removes home heating oil tanks. Filco recycles the oil and sells it, donating the proceeds to charity. The family also has holdings in the commercial center of Fremont.

Work on the Henry Whyte should be done in three to six months, said Randi Suetens, who is a finance and marketing student at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. The goal is to maintain the character because it fits the Ballard scene, she said.

Retail is important for the Henry Whyte because “we don’t want Ballard to be just nightlife,” she said. Asking rents are $35 to $40 a square foot, including expenses.

The project team includes architect Richartz Studios, I.L. Gross Structural Engineers and general contractor Black Ball Enterprises.

Randi Suetens is disappointed she won’t be able to watch the progress when she heads back to college. “I definitely feel some sort of attachments to the building,” she said.

New office building for Westlake

The word this week is that the developer of a new building at 202 Westlake Ave. N. in South Lake Union has an office tenant who wants all of the space.

Michael Hess, general partner with First Western Development Services, said that’s not quite right but “we’re getting close.”

First Western is developing the 129,000-square-foot building with Stephen C. Grey & Associates. They are planning a building with one level of retail and five levels of office over a 218-stall underground garage. Donahue Design Group is the architect.

The listing agent, Lisa Stewart of Urbis Partners, is talking to a few tenants. Hess said some could be full-building users and others could take most of the space.

The developers got the construction permit last fall. The application lists the cost at nearly $22.4 million. Hess said no contractor has been selected but the developers are working with one, though he wouldn’t name the firm. The developers also are talking to equity partners and construction lenders.

Hess said he might have something to announce in a couple of weeks.

This shows — once again — the power of the South Lake Union neighborhood, where 4.25 million square feet of commercial real estate development occurred between 2004 and 2010.

Holland having a busy summer

Holland Residential has been extremely active this summer, starting construction of some big apartment projects and buying up others. The grand total? Nearly 2,900 units are being built or bought by the developer.

Holland expects to start building seven projects on the West Coast this year for a total of 1,842 units.

On the investment side, Holland Acquisition COO Eli Hanacek has been busy. The company bought a 512-unit project in Mountlake Terrace called Creekside Village and renamed it Taluswood. The company bought two projects in Beaverton, Ore. The new name of the 288-unit Country Club Gables is MonteVista Murrayhill, and the 254-unit Club at the Green’s new name is Cedar Crest. The total investment for all three is nearly $116 million.

“The snapback of the Portland and Seattle markets in addition to the quality, amenities, finishes and achievable rent at each asset were the driving forces behind our pursuit of the deals,” Hanacek said in a press release.

Wrestling with alligators

How bad is the residential market? A press release from a Florida company gives a rich description: “If the housing market were human, it would look like it just wrestled a few alligators, after running an obstacle course through a snake pit.”

First Hill apartments sell for $64 million
Puget Sound Business Journal
Fisher Plaza is on the market
Washington state has nation’s 10th ‘cleanest’ economy
More Puget Sound roads may be tolled
Washington foreclosures down, but ‘ominous shadow’ ahead
PHOTOS: Boeing’s new Renton paint hangar
Seattle then & now: The Ave
Other News
LoopNet Stockholders Approve Combination With CoStar
Rising Sales Volume, Deal Value Show Continued Investor Faith In CRE
Marriott Declines Most in a Year as Growth in Room Revenue Trails Industry
Amazon will add 4th center in Valley
Sellers Who Bought Post-Bubble Guilty of Overpricing Homes
First Hill’s scrapers: One apartment tower sells, another wants your ideas


About CRE Northwest

Specialist in office & investment real estate in Seattle & the Eastside
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