By Meghan Hall
New York-based private equity and investment firm Vanbarton Group (VBG) is diving into the Seattle market with the acquisition of 901 5th, a 41-story high-rise at the center of the Central Business District. According to a source familiar with VBG’s Seattle operations, VBG purchased the asset from Bellevue-based Schnitzer West and Bahrain-based Investcorp for $305 million, or about $564 per square foot.
The transaction was brokered by HFF and Newmark Knight Frank.
Schnitzer West will continue to perform property management services for the tower, which is currently 100 percent occupied and is home to tenants such as Pitchbook, a data analytics firm, and Cray Inc., a supercomputer manufacturer, as well as numerous service and technology companies. Together, Schnitzer West and Investcorp worked to update the lobby and conference facilities available to tenants in the building.
“Investcorp has been a great partner on 901 Fifth. Together we were able to update the building’s amenities to create a functional workspace for today’s modern workforce,” said Pam Hirsch, President and COO for Schnitzer West, in a statement. “We look forward to working with Vanbarton.”
According to public documents, Schnitzer West and Investcorp initially bought the property in June 2016 for $223.5 million, or about $413 per square foot, from DWS Real Estate.
Part of the 541,190 square foot tower has been marketed for lease by JLL brokers Lloyd Low and Joe Gowan. Marketing flyers indicated that the building currently has several availabilities, totaling more than 35,000 square feet of space. The four offices available range in size from 6,262 square feet to 11,006 square feet, and available throughout beginning around the third quarter of 2019 and into the summer of 2020. Pitchbook, Cray and Forterra call the building, originally constructed in 1973 home.
901 5th Ave. features several amenities including a high-tech conference center, new, state-of-the-art fitness center, bike storage, a coffee shop and deli, valet parking and a renovated lobby. The Class A building also features an outdoor landscaped terrace and high ceilings. The tower is also easily accessible via Interstate 5, and several of Seattle’s Light Rail and bus stops can be found within walking distance of the tower. Other notable developments surrounding the building include Seattle’s Exchange Building, Sky View Observatory and the Seattle Central Public Library. Pioneer Square, with numerous shops and restaurants, is also nearby.
VBG announced recently that it had named David Schore as senior managing director to oversee the opening of the firm’s Seattle office. The company’s focus in Seattle, according to a statement released by the company, will be on acquiring both Class A and B office and multifamily assets. VBG is also considering providing capital on transitional assets, such as those currently under construction. VBG currently has $5 billion of assets under management in major gateway markets such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City.