By Jack Stubbs
Late last week on June 1st, three parcels in downtown Seattle, which include the approximately 197,000 square foot Amazon-occupied 5th and Bell building and 25,440 square feet of vacant commercial space, traded for $95 million, according to public documents filed with King County.
The buyer was Pasadena, California-based Alexandria Real Estate Equities, a company that owns, operates and develops life science and technology campuses across the country and currently operates nearly 1 million square feet of office/laboratory space in South Lake Union. The seller was an entity affiliated with New York-based Blackstone Group, one of the world’s leading investment firms.
Blackstone is making a slight profit on the asset, which it acquired from Hines in November 2016 for $92.9 million (or approximately $468 square feet) as part of a larger seven-property, $297 million office transaction.
Alexandria Real Estate declined to comment about the transaction and Blackstone did not respond to calls for comment in time for the publishing of this story.
The sale was for three parcels, the first of which is located at 2301 5th Ave. in Belltown. It includes the 5th and Bell office building, a 6-story, 197,135 square-foot Class A property built in 2002 and located between Bell and Battery Streets. According to the web site for the property, the asset includes street-level retail space, a fifth-floor roof deck that provides views of Lake Union and Elliott Bay, and three-story underground parking garage that contains 200 parking spaces. 5th and Bell is a LEED Gold and ENERGY Star property.
Neither the leasing contact for the property—Manuel Garibay, director of portfolio management with Equity Office—or the property contact—Andrea Lachmann, associate director at CBRE—responded to calls or emails about the transaction.
According to Google Maps, the property is currently occupied by a number of companies, including Amazon. The asset is also home to Notkin Mechanical Engineers, Phillips Design, Zipcar and the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Located in Seattle’s bustling Belltown neighborhood, the three parcels are just four blocks from Denny Park and approximately one mile from the Convention Center and Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. The 5th and Bell building is also roughly one mile from access to Washington State Route 99 and Interstate 5.
The other two parcels included in the transaction, located at 2319 5th Ave., comprise 25,440 square feet of vacant commercial space. It is not yet clear what plans Alexandria Real Estate Equities has for the three parcels, although the company has a focus on managing, operating and developing life science and technology campuses across the country.
Founded in 1994, Alexandria Real Estate Equities has an active presence in Seattle, with nearly one million square feet of Class A office and laboratory space primarily in South Lake Union. On January 17th, the company saw its plans for an 11-story office building located at 1150 Eastlake Ave. E., approved by the city’s design review board.
Founded in 1985, Blackstone Group seeks to create positive economic impact and long-term value for its investors and the company it invests in, according to the company’s web site. As of March 31st, 2018, the company had $450 billion worth of assets under management worldwide.
The company has been active in the Puget Sound region in recent months. In September 2017, the company acquired the 22-story, 384,302 square foot Exchange Building in downtown Seattle for $156.5 million, or approximately $407 per square foot, from Boston-based Beacon Capital Partners. On November 3rd 2017, Blackstone acquired three apartment properties—in Tukwila, Burien and Kent—from MG Properties Group for a combined $79.5 million. Most recently, on February 28th, 2018, Blackstone sold the two-story, 43,800 square foot Canyon Park Office Center near Bothell for $9 million.