By Jack Stubbs
Just a few days after spending $23.5 to acquire the Marmoor Technology Center in Redmond, Seattle-based Unico Properties recently bought another property in downtown Seattle. On May 15th, the company spent $37 million, or approximately $249 per square foot, to acquire a historic office property in Downton Seattle, King County records show. The seller of the property was Goodman Real Estate, a multifamily and commercial real estate company also based in Seattle.
The subject property is the Colman Building, a historic six-story building located at 811 First Ave. that totals 148,209 square feet and offers a mix of office, retail and storage space, according to the property’s web site. The property includes a number of different on-site amenities including conference room with audio-visual equipment, bike room and after-hours security services.
Located just two blocks north of Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood, the original Colman Building first opened in 1904 and was named for James Murray Colman, an early Seattle pioneer and entrepreneur. Over the years, the building’s historic character has been preserved, and the property now represents an important piece of history in an evolving city.
“The Colman Building now stands as a piece of history and an example of Seattle’s growth. The property benefits from a close physical proximity to Pioneer Square, Pike Place Market, and the Seattle Waterfront,” the web site states.
It is not entirely clear how much space is currently available in the building. According to a loopnet.com report, there were 3,083 square feet available for lease as of late January 2019. According to Google Maps, some of the building’s current tenants include PPC Management Seattle, Colman Building Barbershop, Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates, and a number of other dining options.
Sitting in the heart of Seattle’s downtown core between Marion St. and Columbia St., the property is less than half a mile from the Washington State Convention Center and is proximate to access to I-5. The Colman Building is also just a few blocks south of various local attractions in the Central Business District such as the Seattle Art Museum, Benaroya Hall and the historic Occidental Square.
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 addition to the recent acquisition of the Colman Building, Unico Properties has been active in Seattle and the Puget Sound region over the last few months. In late January, 2019, the company made a large-scale disposition that included various properties in Seattle and Denver. The company sold two properties in Pioneer Square—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.