By Meghan Hall
Buildings in core locations and major credit tenants have proven their ability to still nab investors, even at the end of a slow year due to the coronavirus. In a transaction that closed at the beginning of the week, Unico sold its share of its Yale + Thomas Building and parking garage to San Francisco-based GI Partners for a combined $121 million. The asset is currently leased to Amazon.
The property is located at 301 and 325 Eastlake Ave. E., and 300 Yale Ave. N.—addresses all part of the same parcel. According to Unico’s website, the five-story, Class A office building totals 168,260 square feet. Built in 1981 and redesigned in 2016, the building features almost column-free floorplates and 13-foot slab heights on all floors. The parking garage, located at 300 Yale, stands ten stories and includes 116,178 square feet of space.
Unico purchased the asset in 2014 when it paid Pemco Insurance $52 million. In 2017, Amazon signed a 10-year lease for the property, taking 159,000 square feet.
In 2019, The Registry reported that Unico had sold part of its share of the Yale + Thomas Building to Goldman Sachs affiliate Broad Street Principal Investments. At the time, the sale was part of a $710 million portfolio transaction that included a number of buildings across both Seattle and Denver. Yale + Thomas traded in January of 2019 along with two other buildings for a combined $116 million, and Goldman Sachs now owns a majority stake in the property. Unico continued to operate and maintain the building on behalf of the new partnership. The transaction signaled the conclusion of Unico’s first institutional discretionary fund Unico Partners I, which closed in 2014 after raising $265 million in equity from U.S. and Canadian institutional investors.
The asset has been on the market since earlier this year. Initially, Blackstone was slated to purchase the property, but pulled out of the deal in April of this year. According to The Registry’s reporting, Blackstone walked away from a number of deals across the country. When Blackstone decided to forgo its acquisition of Yale + Thomas, the firm was not far along in the purchase of the property, and had not placed the property under contact nor had it provided a deposit.
GI Partners’ acquisition of Yale + Thomas adds to the list of sales that have closed in the last week across the Puget Sound—a welcome sign of movement in the commercial real estate industry. Skanska is slated to sell a 95 percent share of its 2+U Tower for around $669 million, while 1918 Eighth Ave., a trophy office asset, sold for $625 million. Together, the transactions show that investor appetite for core office assets remains strong, and investors are continuing to move ahead with major deals.