By Meghan Hall
The Bel-Red corridor is quickly emerging as the next Eastside development hub as available land in downtown Bellevue becomes increasingly scarce. In a move that will allow for future development, Clarion Partners has paid $16.65 million for an existing autobody shop. The seller, according to public documents, affiliated with Arctic Holdings LLC and James B. Curry of Kirkland.
The site is located at 1422 and 1424 130th Ave. NE. Currently, the property is home to AutoNation Collision Center, a vehicle body repair company. Public documents indicate that the property is about two acres in size. Curry founded the autobody shop in 1974.
Currently, Clarion is in the process of pursuing entitlements for a project dubbed Bel Red 130. Designed by Jackson Main Architecture, plans are underway to build a seven-story, 408-unit apartment building. 2814 square feet of ground floor retail and 413 parking stalls are planned. The building would also be anchored by a central courtyard. In all, the project size is about 463,630 square feet.
According to City documents, only a pre-application conference has been held for the project, meaning that approvals and build-out will happen in the coming years. In the meantime, Clarion has a number of projects in the works throughout the Puget Sound. Clarion is also pursuing the development of 400 108th Ave. in downtown Bellevue, also known as the former Washington Federal Center. Clarion plans to transform the 76,000 square foot office building into a 400,000 square foot, 19-story office project. The property is not yet leased.
The Eastside’s expansion, where Clarion is developing, has been driven by tech company growth. As of the end of the first quarter of 2021, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Google had leased over 12 million square feet of space. According to Broderick Group, the Eastside’s office market is close to 42 million square feet.
Demand for office space has also driven demand for housing. At the end of the year, the local multifamily market was also largely holding onto its fundamentals, particularly in the suburbs. Occupancy did dip in the final quarter of 2020 to 92.6 percent and rents dropped 3.1 percent to $2.19 per square foot. In King County, there are currently 14,665 apartment units under construction, based on data from Colliers International. In total, King County makes up the bulk of the region’s housing stock, with more than 223,000 of the region’s 318,000 units located in the county. However, Colliers notes that investment activity remains strong and interest in the multifamily market remains, even with the potential for short-term, downward pressure on fundamentals.