Seattle Office Space News – February 2014

News

Below are comments and links to news articles and other topics relevant to the Seattle office space market from the month of February 2014.

OFFICE LEASES

There was a lot of leasing news in February 2014.  First, Rumors swirled in early February that Amazon.com is the tenant that will be leasing the 187,000 square foot building at 635 Elliott owned by Martin Selig.  The lease would be a huge relief for Selig who has been unable to fill it since it was built over 4 years ago.

Regional architecture firm MulvannyG2 announced plans to relocate their 200 employees from Bellevue to Seattle.  The company leased 63,000 square feet at 1101 2nd Ave, a building owned by Rockwood Capital, and will move in June of 2015.

Fast growing technology company Tableau Software added to their footprint in Seattle’s Fremont submarket by leasing 50,000 square feet at 437 N 34th Street.  The building, owned by Stephen C. Grey & Associates, was previously occupied by Sound Mind & Body Gym.

The Western Building, located at 619 Western Ave along Seattle’s waterfront, has landed a tenant for the top two floors.  Technology company Artefact will move their 50 employees into roughly 28,000 square feet once tunnel drilling machine Bertha passes under the building.  It was later reported that the building also has a tenant for floors 2-4 in the six story building.

Online insurance company AssureStart leased 8,400 square feet at Merrill Place.  Merrill Place is a 191,000 square foot building located at 411 1st Ave S in Pioneer square and was recently purchased by Hudson Pacific Properties.

PROPOSED DEVELOPMENTS

Seattle Developer Touchstone Corp. announced more plans for development in Seattle’s Denny Triangle Neighborhood.  They plan to build an 11 story 300,000 square foot office building at 1812 Boren Ave, across the street from their Hill7 development that is already under way.  The development plans also call for a 37 story residential building with 372 units.

Touchstone also revealed that they will break ground without a tenant for their 214,000 office and lab NorthEdge project.  NorthEdge is located on the corner of N Northlake Way and Densmore Ave N in Seattle’s Wallingford submarket.

Additionally, life science developers BioMed and Alexandria Realty are gearing up to build a couple of buildings in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.

TUNNEL/VIADUCT

Seattle news in February was dominated by stories about the stall of tunnel boring machine Bertha.  Stalled for over 2 months, Bertha is supposed to be creating a tunnel that will eventually replace the Alaskan Way viaduct along Seattle’s waterfront.  Stories early in the month revealed that Bertha is broken because of clogged cutterhead and overheating which damaged the seal system necessary for lubricating the drive system that spins the cutter.  State officials said that they plan to hold the contractors, Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP), accountable for any repairs and cost overruns on the project.  However, it has been reported that potential problems with the seals were known prior to the project start date.

Meanwhile, STP worked with experts on studying ways to fix Bertha.  It looks as if the solution will involve digging a giant 120 foot deep shaft in front of the machine.  STP is looking at ways to try to stay on schedule by shifting crews to other projects associated with the tunnel as it looks like it will take 6 months before Bertha might start digging again.

ECONOMY

More support of the health of the regional economy was revealed when property tax valuations were released in February.  Both residential and commercial real estate values are approaching 2008 levels.

OTHER NEWS

Regardless of the stall of Bertha, design for Seattle’s waterfront after the viaduct is torn down is being refined and the design team is moving towards next steps.  The initial schematic phase of design should be complete in June.

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