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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Interesting New Building at 2nd & PIke

When you compare the two to three block radius of buildings around this proposed building, you’ll find about 24 Class A and B buildings of which could technically compete for tenants.  However, the proposed plan includes tall ceilings that many tenants these days find very attractive, yet in short supply.  This should make this building stand out from its competitors and be very appealing from a tenant’s perspective.   
Frequently, my client’s criteria include having multiple amenities nearby by for the employee’s as well as places for both formal and informal meetings.  Beyond the obvious reasons for these amenities are strategic plans to achieve more productivity out of their employee’s, attract new talent and retain the existing talent. 
Instead of going home at a 5pm, why not meet your co-worker for a meal or beverage to discuss the latest project? Or if you are a software programmer, maybe you prefer to start work at noon and leave at midnight. On your break you may want some entertainment or even walk to your condo down the street or in one of the 50 residential units in the building. 
From an office user perspective, I can see this being a home-run.  I’ll be curious to see how the mix of both residential, office and retail plays out.  It is a concept that has worked well in other markets, however this is uncommon for Seattle. Given the location, the odds are favor of this working quite well.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Smith Tower Comeback from King 5 News

So I made it on the news! Great story on Smith Tower's come back, here is a link to the video:

Coming up on its 100th anniversary, the Smith Tower is getting new life. In foreclosure and nearly vacant a year ago, it's now nearly two-thirds full.

"It really is coming back to life. Many people familiar with Smith Tower history know it's had its ups and downs," said Smith Tower marketer, Cate Chase.

Ups and downs are a draw at the tower, with historic elevators still manned by uniformed operators. And the old mail drop is still in use.

The second floor office, which had been empty for five years, will be the new home of Pacific Telecom.

Taking over the 4th and 5th floors last month is Projectline, a marketing and social media firm. The CEO picked Smith Tower over high-tech hub, South Lake Union.

"It's got character. It's an impressive space and everybody appreciates the look, style and feel," said Projectline CEO Mike Kichline.

The geek boom is spreading from the tower through Pioneer Square.

With lower rents than South Lake Union, there is a tech renaissance in Pioneer Square.

Commercial realtor Bryan Rush with Colliers International developed a tech map of Pioneer Square, showing dozens of start-ups dotting the historic area.

"Architectural firms, digital marketing firms, media firms. Not necessarily tech, but they are creative," said Rush.

Pioneer Square now has a 14 percent vacancy rate compared to a 5 percent vacancy rate in South Lake Union.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Seattle Skyline Review

Here is an interesting profile looking at which floors have vacancies in some notable Seattle Class A CBD  high-rise buildings:

These buildings make up some of the most expensive downtown office spaces available in Seattle's CBD. Every quarter, our research department at Colliers puts this report together and what is consistently interesting is that floors toward to the top of the building tend to stay occupied. Keep mind that the top floors are much more expensive than the lower floors. Even during the 'great recession', these top high-rise spaces continued to stay in high-demand.
The two largest chunks of vacant spaces can be found at the Columbia Center and 1111 3rd Ave. The majority Columbia Center's vacancy is left over space from's recent departure to their current HQ in South Lake Union.  1111 3rd is still reeling from from both Washington Mutual's collapse and then the relatively new ownership going into receivership.
There are quite a few stories here. Some items of note that I may write more about when time permits: The northern CBD buildings tend to perform better than the southern CBD buildings. The 'newer' buildings in this group filled up quicker than the 'older' buildings between 2008 to present.  The buying & selling, combined with the timing of the recession impacted the flexibility of some of these landlords.  Some of these buildings will continue to have a tough time for the foreseeable future despite our improving economy.  'Technology' tenants are some of the largest tenants in these high performing newer, expensive get the idea. But for now, I must post and continue with my day. If you'd ever like to discuss these buildings specifically, or just listen to commercial real estate stories of Seattle please don't hesitate to contact me.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pioneer Square Tech Map

If you are interested in rubbing shoulders with venture capitalists, software engineers, tech executives then I recommend taking a stroll along First Avenue South, hang a left on South Jackson then grab a cup of coffee at Zietgeist. You probably passed dozens along the way. But if you just want to take a stroll in the neighborhood to see what technology firms occupy these buildings, then I recommend taking this Pioneer Square Tech Map along with you:

Map Updated December 2013: