By Jack Stubbs
New York-based Clarion Partners has been active in the Puget Sound marketplace over the last several months, acquiring several office and industrial assets throughout the region. And as the company looks to further expand its Pacific Northwest portfolio, it has recently made another statement of intent.
On June 3rd, the company spent $81.1 million, or close to $147 per square foot, to acquire three warehouse/distribution buildings in Des Moines totaling 551,988 square feet—and part of the Des Moines Creek Business Park—from Cava Des Moines Industrial LLC, an entity affiliated with LaSalle Investment Management of Chicago.
The buyer did not respond to calls for comment about the recent sale in time for the publishing of this story.
The sale was for four parcels located at 2021, 2231 and 2341 S. 208th St., including three separate buildings which share the same address as the Des Moines Creek Business Park and were all built in 2016, according to public documents. The first parcel includes a two-story warehouse/distribution facility that totals 245,520 square feet, while the second parcel includes a one-story,144,856 square foot warehouse/distribution building. The third parcel includes a 161,612 square foot distribution warehouse, while the fourth parcel is a four-acre plot listed as utility/public land.
The Des Moines Creek Business Park is roughly two miles northeast of Des Moines and just under five miles south of Sea-Tac Airport. The property is also roughly eight miles southwest of Renton—where Clarion in mid-April acquired a roughly 100,500 square foot distribution warehouse—and also offers easy access to Interstate-5.
The Des Moines Creek Business Park is a master-planned business park that covers 87 acres; and the property was in the news earlier this year. In late January 2019, California-based Panattoni Development Company sold a 281,800 square foot building—located at 2200 S. 216th St.—to Des Moines Creek Business Park Phase II LLC for $14.7 million.
Construction began on Des Moines Creek Business Park in March 2016 and was completed in March 2017, according to Panattoni Development’s web site. Built in three phases, the property—located on Port of Seattle-owned land—could eventually comprise about 1.3 million square feet, with a total investment that The Port estimates at $100 million to $125 million.
Clarion Partners’ most recent acquisition of the three Moines Creek Business Park buildings reflects the fact that present interest in the complex remains, though the site of the property has a long-standing history in the region as well. Beginning in the 1980s, the land was gradually bought and cleared by the Port of Seattle to mitigate noise complaints in a mostly residential area, and the land became vacant by the 1990s, according to Panattoni’s web site. Planning for a business park or technology center began in 2005, and the Port selected Panattoni as its development partner in 2013—the developer’s ground lease began in 2014, with a 55-year initial term and two 10-year options to extend.
Over the last several quarters, Clarion Partners has spent just over $200 million on various other properties throughout the Puget Sound region across three different transactions. In November 2018, the company acquired the the four-building Plaza Yarrow Bay office property located at 3933 Lake Washington Blvd. NE in Kirkland for $134.5 million, or approximately $480 per square foot, from Los Angeles-based Kilroy Realty.
In December 2018, the company purchased the 74,853 square foot 500 Yale Avenue North office building in Seattle’s ever-active South Lake Union neighborhood for $52.3 million, or close to $699 per square foot, from Seattle-based Urban Renaissance Group and its capital source from Chile.
Most recently, in late April 2019, Clarion Partners spent $15 million, or $756 per square foot, to acquire a 100,520 square foot distribution warehouse in Renton, a city where increased demand for housing, a growing technology sector and expanding industrial market are making it an increasingly appealing investment opportunity for developers and investors throughout the Puget Sound region.