By Meghan Hall
Investors continue to bet on Seattle’s office market, closing on sizable deals and contributing to the health of the industry. In a transaction that was finalized today, November 18th, an entity affiliated with Hines acquired Seattle’s Norton Building for $147.25 million, or about $596 per square foot. Public records indicate that the seller is associated with Will Godwin-Austen and Joe Kenny of Northwest Building LLC.
The Norton Building, located at 801 1st Ave., totals 247,161 square feet. The asset serves 27 tenants and is also Northwest Building’s headquarters, according to the firm’s website. The asset is about 94 percent leased. This is the first time the building has traded hands; Northwest Building has owned the property for more than 60 years.
“Hines is excited to acquire the historic Norton Building as its first new owner in over 60 years,” said Andy Albrecht, managing director at Hines. “The building was exceptionally well built, and we look forward to completing improvements, including modern amenities and increased energy efficiency, to this iconic, centrally located asset ”
The Norton Building has a storied history in Seattle and is considered a landmark. Named for Weyerhaeuser co-founder Matthew G. Norton, the building was constructed just several years prior to the Century 21 Exposition and the World’s Fair. At the time, it was revered for its modern architecture and glass curtain walls–the project was Seattle’s first to use composite structural systems and evoke a more global aesthetic. The building was Northwest Building’s only office property.
Today, the building sits blocks from the Puget Sound within proximity of the Seattle Art Museum, Smith Tower and the Seattle Public Library. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park is nearby, while Pike Place market is several minutes to the North. Lumen Field and T-Mobile Park are located not far south, as well.
Hines intends to renovate the building beginning in the second quarter of 2022. Work will include adding modern amenities, increasing energy efficiency, and renovations to common areas and the lobby.
Hines has been one of the biggest investors in the Puget Sound. In August, the firm secured $750 million in investment commitments at the first closing of its new U.S. flagship, core-plus, open-ended fund. Called U.S. Property Partners (HUSPP), the commingled fund has $750 million in equity and a $1.2 billion in immediate investment capacity. With the fund, Hines intends to invest across all asset classes: office, industrial, self-storage, life sciences, mixed-use and more.
Founded in 1957, Hines has steadily grown its presence not just in Seattle, but around the world. Currently, the firm has offices in 240 cities and 27 countries. The company has assets under management valued at about $160.9 million, according to a recent company statement. Additionally, Hines has redeveloped 1,450 properties totaling 485 million square feet.