As Seattle’s housing affordability hits another high point, so too does the interest in the region’s apartment communities. Last week saw another sale, and in this case the New York-based BlackRock sold the 150-unit apartment community in Seattle’s U District for $53,961,430, or roughly $359,742 per unit. The buyer of the Helix-Ellipse complex was the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Pillar Communities, which made this property its seventh in the region. The deal closed on August 10, 2017.
BlackRock had purchased the property between March and August of 2007, when it paid $38.9 million, or $259,254 per unit for the complex. BlackRock bought the buildings from Seattle-based Harbor Properties, which in 2012 announced its merger with Urban Partners into an entity called Harbor Urban. That company eventually became Mack Urban, now headquartered in Los Angeles with an office in Seattle.
The Helix-Ellipse apartment development is a two-building complex. 77 units are located in the Helix building at 4751 12Th Ave. NE, and another 73 units are across the street at the Ellipse building located at 4744 12th Ave. NE. Both buildings were constructed in 2006. The Ellipse features 7 stories, while the Helix is a 6-story property. The buildings are located in the city’s University District, home to the University of Washington. It is in close proximity to art galleries, theaters, restaurants, gyms and farmers’ markets, according to the building’s web site.
The buildings also feature a business center, a clubhouse, garage and a sun deck. There is a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units in the development. According to apartments.com, there are seven units available for rent, which implies a 4.6 percent vacancy in the building. The studios are advertised between $1,520 and $1,800, one-bedrooms for $1,750 to $2,300, while the two-bedroom apartment prices are not listed.
The city of Seattle is expected to add around 13,600 units to its inventory over the next two years. According to a recent, second quarter of 2017 Apartment Insights report, there are 23,572 units under construction in King and Snohomish counties, and nearly 60 percent of that number in Seattle alone. The impact of those units on the market will result in easing some of the current pressure, however rents in King and Snohomish counties have increased to $2.01 per square foot, which is a 4.6 percent increase over the first quarter and 7.6 percent increase over the second quarter of 2016.