Seattle Commercial Real Estate News of the Day

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Seattle Times Daily Journal of Commerce Headline
Giant apartment complex in Redmond sold Real Estate Buzz: Sites to check out for post-tunnel projects
Developer breaks ground on Ballard apartment complex Several pieces of property will be available for development after the new tunnel is built to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

From a layman’s perspective, one that appears very desirable is a triangular piece wedged between what will be the tunnel’s north portal and the Gates Foundation campus. Records indicate it’s part of a 1.7-acre parcel that Washington State Department of Transportation bought from the city DOT in June for $19.8 million.

A WSDOT official outlined the development opportunities at a Commercial Real Estate Women’s lunch earlier this month. In case you missed it, we’re publishing maps created from the presentation slides.

The parcels shown in red will be available for redevelopment. WSDOT plans to sell the sites when construction of the tunnel is done in about five years.

Looking for more regularly shaped sites? Check out the area near the south portal. The plan there is to punch through some short new east-west streets, letting northbound travelers who won’t want to enter the tunnel get onto First Avenue South. The new streets will create four development sites west of CenturyLink Field.

State officials are using the properties for staging and other activities related to the $4.2 billion project and probably won’t sell them until that work wraps up in five years.

Planting seeds for an eco district

We’ve been wondering about eco districts since earlier this month when we reported on Greenfire Campus, a highly sustainable, two-building project planned for Ballard.

The Greenfire site is near 20th Avenue Northwest and Northwest 56th Street, east of the Ballard library. The project team hopes to inspire neighboring developments. The result would be the city’s first eco district.

It’s not surprising that Portland is out in front of Seattle on the concept. The idea is that it makes more sense to build sustainable neighborhoods rather than just randomly putting up individual green buildings.

In 2009, the Portland Sustainability Institute and the city of Portland launched eco districts, which are led by master developers. The institute’s website says Portland has five pilot districts. You can learn about those as well as the group’s third-annual EcoDistrict Summit Oct. 26-28 at

Greenfire is starting small, or as campus architect Ray Johnston puts it, “We are doing the right things on a two-building scale.”

Greenfire will have a ground source heat pump, well-insulated buildings with a lot of natural ventilation, green roofs, solar energy and hot water, and rainwater collection and gray-water recycling. The systems could be expanded to new developments on neighboring parcels, many of which are surface parking lots today.

To Johnston, creating an eco district means more than just expanding green systems. It entails expanding the social aspects of projects. He wants to create something that is unique, say a gathering space that draws people to Greenfire and to its neighbors. That way people who live and work in the district will be less compelled to travel to other areas “because your neighborhood is equally compelling.”

Johnston wants to grow the eco district concept organically and then talk with city officials about how agencies such as DOT and the Department of Planning and Development could help support a more formal district.

$1.2M discount on high-rise condo

Apparently no one is immune when it comes to falling housing values, not even high rollers.

Earlier this month, high-tech entrepreneur and investor Peter van Oppen sold a 15th floor condo at Millennium Tower, the office and condo development in Seattle at 715 Second Ave. Records indicate he sold the unit to Jay and Debra Platt for nearly $2.7 million, about $1.2 million less than what he paid for it in 2007.

Van Oppen must not be doing too bad. He owns two condos near the top of the Four Seasons. King County assesses those at a total of more than $8 million.

Musical PR chairs

Public relations veteran Natalie Price made news this spring when she stepped down as the long-time president of the Fearey Group, which represents developers among other clients. Price started her own firm, but now has landed as a VP at another PR and public affairs company that is active in commercial real estate: Frause.

Meanwhile, Fearey announced this week it snagged sustainable real estate expert Josh Chaitin from Frause.

Three cheers for Susie!

Who knew real estate types were such hot hoofers?

This spring several from the industry — Lynn Beck of Pacific Place, Dean Jones of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty and Marcelo Garces of Colliers International — participated in Seattle Dances! It is a fundraiser for low-income housing developer and operator Plymouth Housing Group, and a takeoff on the TV show “Dancing With the Stars.” (The Buzz knows way too much about the show because he must sit in total silence at home when it airs.)

This week we learned that another broker, Susie Detmer of Commerce Real Estate Solutions/Cushman & Wakefield, has been asked to participate in an upcoming competition. She thinks the invitation came when the Plymouth people learned about her cheerleader past.

“I am so excited!” said Detmer, who made her mark with pompoms at Orion High School in Illinois many, many moons ago.

Biotech drug factory cultivates new business
Puget Sound Business Journal
Redmond apartments sold for $150.1M
Developer to raze Kent parking garage, build apartments
Clark County has Washington’s newest housing
Fear about world economy sends markets lower
Leading indicators rise 0.3 pct. in August
Northbound I-405 through Bellevue to close this weekend
Other News
7-11 Expanding at Fastest Rate in 25 Years
Sep-11 Commercial Repeat Sales Analysis Available
Home Prices Decline 3.3% in U.S.
CRE Prices in U.S. Increased 5% in July, Moody’s Says
Getting Cash in Exchange for a Short Sale
All the News You Want, When You Want It


About CRE Northwest

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