By Jack Stubbs
With commercial and industrial real estate development in Seattle continuing on an upward trajectory, cities like Bellevue and Redmond across Lake Washington are also seeing increasing interest from investors, who are looking to make their mark in the local real estate market.
Seattle-based Unico Properties, a private real estate firm that offers investment, development and management services across office, mixed-use, and multifamily markets across the U.S., recently made an acquisition in Redmond.
On Friday, May 10th, the company spent $23.5 million, or approximately $296 per square foot, to acquire the Marymoor Technology Center, according to public records filed with King County. The seller of the property was Mercer Island-based Keeler Investments Group, a company that invests in office, retail, mixed-use and industrial properties throughout the Puget Sound region.
Unico Properties did not respond to emailed requests for comment about the transaction in time for the publishing of this story.
The Marymoor Technology Center, located at 17275 NE 67th Court, is a three-story office/warehouse building that totals 79,197 square feet, according to a property listing written by Broderick Group. Sitting on a 3.4-acre site and built in 1984, the property includes 144 parking stalls and Class A office space spread across a variety of private offices, open work space, and conference rooms.
It is not entirely clear how much space is currently available in the property. Broderick Group did not respond to emailed requests for comment about the recent transaction in time for the publishing of this story.
The property’s location—less than two miles south of downtown Redmond and roughly eight miles northeast of Bellevue—is one of its main assets. “The prime location of the building provides employees immediate access to a wide variety of outdoor recreation options among retail and daily service amenities,” Broderick Group’s property description states. The building is directly adjacent to Marymoor Park, a 640-acre park and event center that offers access to the Sammamish River Trail and the nearby lake Sammamish.
The property is also located in close proximity to the future Sound Transit SE Redmond light rail station, which is set to improve the city’s connectivity with the rest of the Puget Sound region: in an expansion of the light rail system which will provide connections into Bellevue and Seattle, among other cities, Redmond is preparing for the arrival of four light rail stations over the next few years, according to the city of Redmond’s web site.
The Overlake Village and Redmond Technology Stations will be operational by 2023 and the Southeast Redmond and Downtown Redmond stations will be operational in 2024. “Extension of Sound Transit’s light rail into Redmond will provide fast, frequent and reliable connections around town, Bellevue, Seattle and to the rest of the region,” the web site states.
Regional infrastructure initiatives like the Sound Transit Light Rail Expansion demonstrate that the city of Redmond—and the wider region—continues to expand, with a number of recent transactions indicating that Redmond, in particular, is a hotspot for industrial/commercial investment activity.
On April 30th, a three-parcel manufacturing/warehouse property in Redmond—which includes two light industrial buildings located at 19609 NE 70th St., less than a mile from the Marmoor Technology Center—sold for $26.4 million.
On May 10th, Newport Beach, Calif.-based KBS Commercial Real Estate Advisors, one of the largest owners of commercial real estate in the United States, spent $48.1 million, or roughly $453 per square foot, to acquire the 106,281 square foot Offices at Riverpark Property located at 15809 Bear Creek Parkway in Redmond.
Founded in 1953, Unico Properties currently invests in and manages a national portfolio—including office, mixed-use and multifamily properties—valued at over $3 billion, according to the company’s web site. Unico owns and manages nearly 17 million square feet of office, multi-family and mixed-use property across the western U.S., with more than a million square feet under development as well.
In late January, 2019, Unico Properties made a large-scale disposition that included properties in Seattle and Denver. The company sold two properties in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood—the iconic Smith Tower and the adjacent Florence Building—to an affiliate of Goldman Sachs for a combined $138 million in what was part of a larger 27-building, 1.8 million square foot portfolio worth a combined $710 million.