By Jack Stubbs
In one of this year’s largest commercial sales, the 22-story Exchange Building sold Tuesday for $156.5 million, or just over $407 per square foot, according to public records filed with King County. The buyer was The Blackstone Group, one of the world’s leading investment firms based in New York City. The seller was Boston-based Beacon Capital Partners, a tenant-based privately-owned real estate investment firm.
Four years ago, Beacon acquired the 384,302 square foot commercial property for $66 million. At the time, the property was only 56 percent leased, due to the recent relocation of its largest tenants, according to the property’s web site. Beacon had intended to strategically reposition the property through a significant capital improvement plan—including facade improvements, seismic retrofits and elevator modernizations—to attract potential tenants.
There is currently 37,011 square feet of office space available and 6,125 square feet of retail space available—43,136 square feet total—according to the property’s web site.
Located at 821 2nd Ave., the space was built in 1929, and was originally intended to be occupied by the Seattle Stock Exchange. In 1990, the building was granted Landmark status by the Seattle Landmark Preservation Board. Set at the intersection of Seattle’s Pioneer Square, the CBD and the waterfront, the Exchange building occupies an what some may deem an ideal location. Some of the property’s most prominent amenities include a tenant fitness center, a tenant-specific designated bike share program, and a designated conference center.
Founded in 1985, Blackstone has since become a preeminent investment firm, emphasizing their aim to “create positive economic impact and long-term value for our investors, the companies we invest in, and the communities in which we work,” according to their web site. After roughly 30 years of operation, the firm has grown considerably, with over 2,200 employees across 20 offices worldwide.
Beacon Capital Partners was founded in 1946 and since 1988 has raised eight investment vehicles in equity—totaling over $12 billion—from a wide array of investors including foundations, endowments and financial institutions. Beacon has invested in more than 150 high-quality office properties with a projected total value of $30 billion, according to their website. The company specializes in the enhancement and transformation of historic properties built between 1917-1930, of which the Exchange Building is one of the most recent examples.