Sixteen months after its acquisition, the revitalized former 720 Olive building boasts a dramatic community hall, attracts growing tech company Avvo and a pair of artisan eateries
SEATTLE (December 1, 2015) – Talon Private Capital, a Seattle-based real estate investment firm, announced today the completion of an $11 million makeover of the former 720 Olive office building downtown.
Anchor tenant Avvo – a rapidly-growing online legal marketplace with more than 300 employees – is moving into its new digs in December, leasing 110,000-square-feet of newly-renovated office space on floors 11-17.
Last week saw the official opening of café bar Mr. West, a new offering from the owners of Madrona’s Bottlehouse wine bar. Expertly-curated and paired food, wine, beer and coffee are served all day. Also open is Seattle’s third Juicy Cafe, serving made-from-scratch “slow food” and invigorating juices and smoothies. Talon courted both to reflect Seattle’s foodie ethos.
Situated at the nexus of the Central Business District and South Lake Union, the 20-story 8th+Olive – originally built in 1981 – is among a bevy of projects transforming the area, including the 45-story 8th & Howell hotel taking shape across the street and the apartment and office towers under construction nearby.
Counting Avvo, 8th+Olive is 96 percent leased, up from the 84-percent occupancy rate Talon inherited when it acquired the building in July 2014. Yet more office space is coming in January 2017 as 100,000 square feet of contiguous office space will be available with an opportunity for unique exterior branding and signage.
8th+Olive is among the handful of dated Seattle-area office buildings that Talon has recently purchased and modernized for new-economy tenants in locations attractive to young workers, including Seattle’s 1800 Ninth and Bellevue’s Bellefield Office Park.
“This revamp isn’t merely a cosmetic fix, but a transformation that brings vitality to the neighborhood and community to our street level from morning to night,” said Bill Pollard, Talon cofounder and managing principal. “We’re thrilled to welcome tenants that are as excited as we are about energizing this space.”
In a departure from the building’s original 1980s-era interior, 8th+Olive features a striking new glass entryway and canopy bearing the building’s new name. Its windows are set within dark anodized aluminum frames.
The ground-floor lobby area has been retrofitted and expanded into a modern, 7,000-square-foot market hall. Parquet-style flooring extends throughout, seamlessly blending two new retail spaces with a collaboration area.
Other amenities include an expansive conference facility, showers and lockers (with a fitness center coming soon) and expanded bike storage. All seven of the building’s elevator cabs were replaced, and the building’s upper elevator lobbies and restrooms are also being retrofitted floor by floor as new tenants move in.
Come summertime, patrons of both Mr. West and Juicy Cafe will be able to enjoy their food and drinks from a new sidewalk patio.
LMN Architects and Graham Baba Architects designed the building’s expanded community hall and retail space, while Burgess Design designed the improvements on the upper floors. Root | Culture Lab Design – the design firm of Mr. West owners Soni and Henri Schock – led the interior design of Mr. West’s retail space, as well as its branding, signing and graphics (the firm also designed Bottlehouse).
Foushee & Associates and DP Incorporated served as the general contractors. The building is leased by David Abbott, Greg Inglin and Connor McClain at Colliers International.
Avvo, an online legal marketplace connecting consumers with lawyers, has experienced accelerated growth and needed to bring its talent and resources together in a new Seattle office space. Ultimately, the company decided on the 8th+Olive location because “it’s in the center of the thriving business and tech community in Seattle, and it reflects the vibrant, and innovative culture of the company,” said Monica Williams, chief financial officer of Avvo.
Launched in 2007, Avvo is continuing to lease office space in both the Wells Fargo and Union Station buildings through December. Moving to 8th+Olive allows Avvo to unify its operations under one roof, accommodate its growing staff, and expand its research and development facilities.
Mr. West owners Soni and Henri Schock aren’t your average restauranteurs. As the owners of experience-marketing and branding company Root | Culture Lab Design, they’ve consulted for and designed various retail and bar spaces in Seattle and partnered with top creatives and restaurateurs in the Pacific Northwest.
“We liked the fact that Talon was going to remodel 8th+Olive and give it a chance,” said Soni Shock. “When I first saw plans for this brick, 1980s building, I fell in love with it. We are excited about the opportunity to bring an artisan, boutique space and concept to downtown workers and residents, and activate a sleepier corner in the Denny Triangle.”
On the morning of their recent soft opening, Mr. West owners Soni and Henri Schock were delighted to find that construction crews working on projects nearby took a liking to the restaurant’s Working Man’s Special – a breakfast sandwich and 12-ounce drip coffee for $7. By evening, the clientele shifted to downtown professionals, out-of-towners and shoppers drawn to its offering of craft drinks and food.
Juicy Cafe has come a long way since current owner Abigail Stansfield’s mother opened her first store in a since-defunct Washington State Convention Center gym 24 years ago, a location Stansfield likens to a cubby hole.
With a third location at 8th+Olive and a fourth coming soon to South Lake Union, Juicy Cafe has grown a loyal – and organic – following. But it’s not just another juice bar, Stansfield explains. The menu includes comfort foods made of all-natural ingredients that appeal to health-conscientious downtown professionals and shoppers. In its first week, lunches like Paleo shepherd’s pie and tacos sold out by 1 p.m., she said.
“A lot of high-rises have inquired about having us in their building,” Stansfield said. “We were attracted to the energy in this building. We wanted to keep our space neutral and fresh, and the outcome is better than I anticipated. It has a beautiful synergy with Mr. West.”
About Talon Private Capital
Talon is a privately-held real estate investment firm with deep experience in acquisition, disposition and investment management across a broad range of property types and within multiple U.S. markets. Talon seeks to provide superior risk-adjusted returns through excellent execution of carefully developed strategies. Talon Principals have engaged in real estate investment activities for over twenty five years (through numerous economic and real estate cycles) on behalf of partners, and for their own accounts, with a cumulative transaction volume exceeding $8.2 billion. www.talonprivate.com