By Jack Stubbs
As the Puget Sound region continues to expand, vacant land continues to be viewed by developers and investors with interest, with several transactions over the last few months indicative of demand for vacant land parcels.
And on January 29th and February 4th, approximately 210 acres of vacant land in Marysville and Bonney Lake sold—as part of two separate transactions—for a combined $18.5 million, Snohomish and Pierce County records show.
In the first transaction, the buyer, listed as Tulalip Tribes of Washington, acquired four parcels of vacant land in Marysville for $9.4 million from Security State Bank based in Centralia, Washington.
The four parcels, located at 2925 and 3328 128th St. NE in Marysville—a city in Snohomish County that is roughly 35 miles north of Seattle—total just over 210 acres of vacant land, according to Snohomish County records. The parcels are described as “land and improvements.”
The four parcels are approximately ten miles north of Everett via I-5 and about twenty miles north of Mill Creek.
In the second transaction, Texas-based residential and mixed-use development company Forestar Group Inc. acquired two parcels of land in Bonney Lake, Washington—a city in Pierce County that is approximately 40 miles southeast of Seattle—for $9.1 million from Highland Ridge Property LLC, an entity based in Phoenix, Arizona.
The two parcels, located near 210th Ave. E in Bonney Lake, are both listed as “land and improvements” and total just under half an acre. One of the parcels includes a 1,156 square foot single-family dwelling built in 1931, according to public documents.
The Bonney Lake property is approximately seven miles east of Sumner via State Route 410 and about 17 miles southeast of Federal Way.
Over the last several months, Forestar Group Inc. has made a number of land acquisitions in the Puget Sound region, with the purchase in Bonney the company’s latest foray in the market. In mid-August 2018, the company acquired nearly 80 acres of undeveloped vacant land in the Snohomish County city of Monroe for $14.2 million from LSA Engineering based in Lynnwood.
On January 2nd, 2019, Forestar acquired 57 parcels of vacant land in Mill Creek—which is roughly 22 miles north of downtown Seattle—for $11.6 million from Kirkland-based Westcott Homes.
Founded in 1955, Forestar Group conducts a wide range of project planning and management activities relating to the acquisition, entitlement, development and sale of single-family and mixed-use communities, according to the company’s web site. As of September 2018, Forestar developed communities in 24 markets across 14 states. The company is primarily focused on developing single-family single-family residential communities for entry-level, first-time and first-time move-up homebuyers, the largest segments of the new home market.
The recent land sales in Marysville and Bonney Lake come at a time when developers and investors alike are showing continued interest in the acquisition of vacant land throughout the Puget Sound region, with several transactions indicating that demand remains.
In early November 2018, LPC Frederickson 1 LLC based in Chicago spent $43.9 million to acquire approximately 250 acres of vacant industrial land in Frederick, Washington—which is several miles south of Tacoma—from California-based Sierra Pacific Industries. After acquiring the property in 2014 with plans to build a new sawmill and develop warehousing space, Sierra Pacific decided to build the new sawmill in Mason County. The Frederickson property is now being sold for warehousing and light industrial use.
In mid-December 2018, Georgia-based Timberland Investment Group (TIG) spent $45 million to acquire 45 parcels of vacant forest land roughly 25 miles southeast of Black Diamond from Green River Timberlands LLC based in New Hampshire.
Interest continues to come from homebuilders, as well: on December 21st, Shoreline Apartments Owner LLC, which shares the same address as Texas-based multifamily real estate company Trammell Crow Residential (TCR), purchased four parcels of vacant commercial land totaling two acres for $11.5 million from The Grassmueck Group based in Oregon.
According to an industry source with knowledge of the transaction, the recently-acquired parcels are part of Trammell Crow Residential’s Alexander Shoreline 324 Apartments located at 15560 Westminster Way N. in Shoreline, which is a project that is already approved.
Since 1977, Dallas-based TCR has developed more than 250,000 units in major markets (some of which include Washington, California and Oregon), according to the company’s web site. TCR looks to develop and construct market-leading rental communities that offer residents a comfortable and convenient lifestyle.
On December 27th, Westridge-Issaquah II LP, an entity affiliated with California-based William Lyon Homes, acquired nine acres of vacant land in Issaquah for $24.4 million from Issaquah Highlands Investment Fund LLC. According to William Lyon Homes’ web site, Westridge at Issaquah Highlands—located at 597 NE Discovery Drive—is a planned single-family property that offers a variety of four- and five-bedroom homes. The asset also offers access to various outdoor recreation opportunities including parks, soccer fields and walking trails. The development is also located in close proximity to Interstate-90, allowing easy access to Bellevue and Seattle.
William Lyon Homes is one of the largest regional homebuilders in the Western U.S. and is primarily focused on the design, construction, marketing and sale of single-family homes, according to the company’s web site. The company operates in California, Nevada, Washington and Oregon, among other locations. Some of the Polygon Northwest’s homes throughout the Puget Sound region include Luxe36 at Bryant Heights in Seattle; Brightview in Kent; Overlook at Riverfront in Everett; and Providence Ridge in Issaquah.