Seattle Commercial Real Estate News of the Day

Monday, November 7, 2011

Seattle Times Daily Journal of Commerce Headline
Facebook finally moves into its own digs Washington Holdings seeks permits for Fairview building
Lab building proposed near Lake Union Washington Holdings has filed plans with the city of Seattle to construct a 200,000-square-foot life science building at 1818 Fairview Ave. E. on Lake Union.

The building could also accommodate traditional office use, said Ric Anderson, the Seattle firm’s chief operating officer.

The four-story complex is being designed by Perkins+Will. It will have 3,000 square feet of retail space and 200 parking stalls above and below grade.

The developer expects to spend a year getting permits and then decide whether to build on spec, if it hasn’t landed a tenant. “We’ll have to just test the waters when we get there,” said Anderson.

Washington Holdings wants tenants to know it’s serious about moving forward, he said. “I think what we recognize is you’ve got to be really ready and able to build for tenants to be interested.”

The firm had planned to start construction on the building in late 2009, but held off because of the poor economy.

It is one of a number of developers that have proposed office buildings in Seattle lately. The others include Vulcan Real Estate, Skanska USA Commercial Development, Touchstone Corp. and Spear Street Capital.

Anderson said the life science market is tightening in South Lake Union and Eastlake, and Amazon.com continues to consume office space. “We certainly like what’s happening in that neck of the woods.”

The project will cost an estimated $50 million to build. The firm could finance it itself, but likely will get a construction loan, Anderson said. “We won’t be looking for partners.”

Washington Holdings has had success before building on spec at 1616 Eastlake Ave. E. and 1551 Eastlake Ave. E. (the old Gates Foundation headquarters), he said.

Matt Christian, a senior director with Cushman & Wakefield-Commerce, said the Seattle life science market has traditionally been tight, but is tightening.

“There are only a couple options in the city right now,” he said. “There are a few sublease spaces out there but other than that there is very little product.”

A handful of firms, including Alexandria Real Estate Equities and BioMed Realty Trust, are getting ready to go into permitting for new life science buildings, apparently spurred by a recovering economy, Christian said.

The 200,000-square-foot building at 1818 Fairview Ave. E. on Lake Union could accommodate life science space or traditional office users.

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About CRE Northwest

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