By Jack Stubbs
Construction recently began on the new mixed-use development in the works in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. Regency Centers is the developer for Ballard Blocks II, a 114,000 square foot shopping center slated for completion in the middle of 2019. Regency Centers entered into a 50/50 joint venture with Principal Financial, and Regency’s share of estimated development costs in Ballard II is $31.1 million, according to the company’s recently-released four quarter 2017 report. Weber Thompson is the architect for the project.
The planned development, located at 1451 N.W. 46th St., will be across the street from Regency Centers’ Ballard Blocks project, a 131,000 square foot shopping center that contains a Trader Joe’s, LA Fitness and Ross, among other tenants. The new project will include a 25,000 square foot PCC Community Markets store (the anchor tenant in the space), 25,000 square feet of space dedicated to retailer West Marine and a 12,000 square foot childhood Early Learning Center. Additionally, there will be two floors of office space on the fourth and fifth floors that total 25,000 square feet, which the Seattle office of JLL is helping to lease. The development will also include 310 parking spaces and a rooftop amenity area.
Ballard Blocks II is a unique project that has the potential to more fully activate the surrounding neighborhood, according to Craig Ramey, Regency Centers’ managing director for the Pacific Northwest, Northern California and Portland. “It’s a ground-up opportunity…we’re also working with a variety of shop and restaurant tenants to help activate the whole retail node there,” he said. “The idea is to add to the retail node that’s already there with Ballard Blocks I with exciting retail, services and office space to connect the buildings together.”
The planned uses for Ballard Blocks II are seen as an extension of the existing Ballard Blocks project, and the new development will also address a need not currently met within the community, according to Ramey. “This neighborhood has evolved over time. In this case, Ballard Blocks I is strictly retail use, and we feel that what’s lacking in this area were the daytime uses, like the office space, which is something the other stakeholders [in the project] really wanted to see,” he said. According to Ramey, the inclusion of office space in Ballard Blocks II, in particular, was seen as a community need. “The office space…[will] keep residents in Ballard and provide places for them to work…that was a big voice that we heard from the community and the city.”
And while all the tenants for Ballard Blocks II are not yet decided, Ramey is confident that the project’s uses will serve the surrounding community. “We’re also bringing in some speciality eateries and bakeries with some different kinds of uses that aren’t seen in the neighborhood that we think will do exceptionally well and be a draw for the community,” he said.
The multiple uses planned for Ballard Blocks—retail and office space, among others—is part of a growing necessity to fully take advantage of a mixed-use project, according to Ramey, which in this case will complement the already-existing development across the street. “In this particular location and in other locations, it’s very important to utilize the property with its highest and best uses,” he said. “The day-time office population [will go] great with Ballard Blocks I, which has the health and fitness emphasis. And the Early Learning Center is a mixed-use that really adds to the daily foot traffic and adds a valuable service to the area that’s really not there right now.” Ramey also hopes that the in-the-works project will take advantage of the Burke Gilman Trail, which runs adjacent to the development along 45th Street, by attracting bicyclists to the shopping center.
With the shopping center set to open towards the end of 2019, Ballard Blocks II will continue to take shape over the next few months. “We’ve started construction with the shoring and underground work and will eventually go vertical. We’ll deliver the shell building components to the tenants at various points throughout 2019, with the majority of the shopping center opening at that time,” Ramey said.