Martin Selig Real Estate Plans Office Project In Seattle’s Ballard Neighborhood

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By Kristin Bentley

Martin Selig Real Estate, the developer that built Columbia Center, the tallest building in Washington, is scheduled to move forward this fall with a $50 million office project in Ballard, a northwestern neighborhood of Seattle. The project will debut the developer’s northernmost outpost, and the only in Ballard, according to the firm’s Web site. The site was purchased for $6.6 million in December 2014, according to public records.

The five-story 195,000-square-foot project, located at 1448 Northwest Market Street, will also provide approximately 35,000 square feet of ground floor retail and two levels of underground parking. The floor plans allow for large footprints for businesses that need a large floor plate. Situated within walking distance to nearby transit, the building is already about 70 percent leased.

Unlike other portions of the city where there’s supply and no demand, Ballard has the demand but no supply

“It’s fair to say that there’s been very little office development in Ballard,” said Brad Hinthorne, a managing principal for Perkins + Will, the architecture firm on the project. “The community was quite excited during the design review board process that there’s office product coming to Ballard. There’s a real shortage.”

Hinthorne says the location of the site is at the gateway to the neighborhood, which is on the corner of 15th Avenue NW and NW Market Street. Heading west onto Market will lead into Ballard, while going south leads to downtown. “This parcel is unusual to find in Ballard, especially of that size zoned for an office with a reasonable floor plate and at a prominent intersection,” said Hinthorne. “I think there was a combination of things that led to the decision for the location, particularly in such an active economy.”

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According to Visit Seattle’s Web site, Ballard was once its own city, a blue-collar, maritime-centric enclave of fishers, millworkers and boatbuilders. While the historic neighborhood maintains its working waterfront, its trendy bars, shops, restaurants and pedestrian-friendly layout have helped to transform it into one of the city’s hippest hot spots, according to the same source. “Ballard has seen tremendous growth,” said Gil White, a vice president for Orion Commercial Partners, a brokerage firm based in Seattle. “It’s got a great vibe to it, people love it and there’s a lot to be said for that.”

Dan Seng, a principal on the project with Perkins + Will, says the office building will be one of the first things people see when they come into Ballard. Seng says it will bring the office component into the neighborhood, changing the current dynamic and bringing it into a new chapter. “Unlike other portions of the city where there’s supply and no demand, Ballard has the demand but no supply,” said Seng. “It’s growing like crazy and is a really great neighborhood. The fact that we can put a modern office building at a prominent intersection is a pretty unique opportunity. Our tenants are ones you’d never imagine would want to be in Ballard. The neighborhood is changing.”

Martin Selig owns approximately 26 other commercial properties in the Greater Seattle area, including Elliott Bay Office Park, a 250,000-square-foot campus located in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood. Along with the Ballard office project, it has four other new office developments, which includes the redevelopment of the Federal Reserve Building, located at 1015 Second Avenue in Seattle.