By Meghan Hall
Assets in and around Bellevue are highly coveted by investors, and even assets outside the core of downtown are sought after. In a recent transaction, Bellevue retail center sold for $42 million, or about $727 per square foot, according to public records. The property–known as Northup Center–was sold by Tucson, Ariz.-based private investors to a limited liability company affiliated with Longwell Company.
The property is located at 12021, 12031 and 12121 Northup Way. According to CommercialCafe, the multi-tenant retail center was originally constructed in 1983 and totals 57,712 square feet. The center also sits on about 4.13 acres. Tenants at the property include Mike Lull Custom Guitars and Winners Sportswear.
The asset is located just off of State Route 520 and Interstate 405. King County Metro East Base is located nearby, as is a Safeway Milk Plant, CITC and Velo Sports Rehab Bellevue. While many retail properties in the area have been redeveloped, a search on the City of Bellevue’s website yielded no results for potential redevelopment plans at this time.
Longwell Company is a private real estate and investment company based in Bellevue. According to the company’s website, the firm has acquired, disposed and managed commercial real estate since 1992. Typically, the firm has focused on multifamily and targets housing complexes with potential upside through repositioning.
The retail sector continues to recover after COVID-19, buoyed by the Puget Sound’s strong economic fundamentals. Total employment is expected to increase in the region by six percent this year, adding 118,000 jobs. According to recent analysis by Marcus & Millichap, this is the fastest pace the region has added jobs since 1997. As of August, the unemployment rate sat at 4.8 percent, far below the pandemic’s peak of 16.9 percent.
Currently, vacancy for retail holds tight, at three percent, just slightly above the pre-pandemic vacancy rate. As a result, rents will continue to climb. In 2020, retail rents increased by 6.8 percent, and this year are expected to increase 4.2 percent to $23.40 per square foot. These fundamentals–especially in growing markets like Bellevue–continue to lure investors such as Longwell into the market and bode well for the industry’s future.