WSP USA, a global engineering giant, has secured a lease for nearly 10,000 square feet of space at 1201 Pacific, Tacoma’s tallest office tower. The 25-story building, owned by Seattle-based Unico Properties, boasts an area of 308,000 square feet, and with this lease, it brings its occupancy to roughly 85 percent, according to a report by the Puget Sound Business Journal.
The leasing deal was brokered by Kidder Mathews’ Will Frame, Drew Frame, and Samantha Baxley on behalf of Unico, while Charlie Farra of Newmark represented WSP. The engineering firm will utilize the new space as an expansion and is expected to relocate by the end of 2023. Currently, the company operates from four offices in the Puget Sound area.
This leasing agreement marks a positive development in Tacoma’s office market, which has struggled since a number of high-profile employers left the city. Kidder Mathews’ Will Frame attributes the recent trend towards “right-sizing” and moving to Class A office buildings to the desire to create an office environment that’s worth returning to. This, he believes, will continue to be the case as employee retention and recruitment are critical to a company’s success.
Tacoma’s office vacancy rate was approximately 8.6 percent in the first quarter of 2023, according to an industry analysis by Kidder Mathews, up slightly from the previous quarter. Tacoma also had the lowest office lease rates in the region at $27.32 per square foot. Meanwhile, the Puget Sound region’s office vacancy rate was 11.2 percent in the same period, up from 10.5 percent in the previous quarter and 10 percent a year ago.
WSP Global Inc., based in Montreal, Canada, the parent company of WSP USA, is a publicly-traded firm with 500 offices worldwide and around 49,000 employees. WSP has contributed to numerous projects in the Puget Sound area, including Sound Transit’s Link light rail system, Amazon’s Spheres, and the state Route 520 floating bridge replacement project.