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Walton Street Places Symetra Financial Center in Bellevue on the Market for Sale

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By Jon Peterson

Chicago-based Walton Street Capital has decided to put for sale the 450,089 square foot Symetra Financial Center located at 777 108th Avenue Northeast in Bellevue. The potential sales price could be somewhere around $425 per square foot or $191 million, according to sources that track this information in the Seattle market.

“We have owned this property for a while, and we have done a great deal of work on the asset to improve it over time. We think now is a good time to be a seller. There is a great deal of demand for both from tenants looking for space and for capital looking to buy assets in the greater Seattle marketplace,” says Eric Mogentale, a managing principal with Walton Street.

Walton Street has seen the occupancy of the property shift quite a bit since it has owned the asset, which goes back to late in 2013. When it took over ownership of the property, the asset was 60 percent occupied at a time when the overall market in Bellevue was seeing occupancy around 90 percent.

Symetra Financial Center is now around 90 percent occupied. Symetra Financial Corporation is a main tenant in the property. This financial services company takes up around 51 percent of the building with a lease that runs until 2025. It uses this location as its corporate headquarters. The property is a 1986-vintage asset and has been improved by Walton Street since it has owned the property.

In August, the financial services company had announced that it was entering a definitive merger agreement with Tokyo-based Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. to sell itself for $3.73 billion. A special meeting had been set for November 5th in Naples, Florida, where Symetra’s shareholders will have an opportunity to vote on the merger.

Walton Street took over ownership of the Symetra property along with 10 other Seattle area assets when a Goldman Sachs-sponsored commingled fund defaulted on a mezzanine loan. Walton Street has already sold off some the assets. One of these was the One Bellevue Center located at 411 108th Street Northeast in Bellevue. This asset was sold for $418 per square foot, according to sources that track this information. The buyer was a partnership of California State Teachers Retirement System and Chicago-based LaSalle Investment Management.

Walton Street declined to comment for which of its opportunity funds it had made the investment in Symetra Financial Center. The real estate manager has hired the San Francisco office of Eastdil Secured as the leasing agent on the sale. The office market in Bellevue remains tight with an overall vacancy of around 5 percent.