Here’s what eight years and several million dollars will get you. Nearly a decade after its emergence as the early 2000s poster child for ugly mixed-use on Capitol Hill, the 700 Broadway apartment complex has been sold to a real estate investment company for $20.25 million.
“As the most densely populated neighborhood in Seattle, we expect Capitol Hill will be one of Seattle’s premier neighborhoods over the next decade and our property will definitely be a focal point given its highly visible location,” said Security Properties chief investment officer David Dufenhorst in a statement released by the Seattle-based investment firm.
In 2004 when the building was completed, the reaction to the mixed-use mass was, at best, mixed. The Stranger documented this dispute over one critic’s attack on the building and the design by Weber + Thompson:
“A prime example of how mediocre architecture can drain Seattle’s vitality and saps our soul… a cacophony of shapes, details, and cheap materials… [a] debacle.” The development, Olson proclaimed, “blindly mimics but does not grasp the lessons of the past…. It’s squandered opportunities like this that erode everyday life.”
More recently, the site Fucked Architect let it rip on 700 Broadway: “… to celebrate the neighborhood’s culture and this property’s incredible potential, the architects at Weber Thompson totally dropped trouser and left behind one of Seattle’s biggest turds.”
The announcement refers to the building as “iconic” and says the company was drawn to 700 Broadway “because of the quality construction and its location, which boasts some of the highest rents and lowest vacancy in Seattle.”
The property is also prominently located at the north end of Broadway, five blocks from the future Capitol Hill Light Rail which, when complete in 2016, will provide light rail access to and from the airport, as well as downtown Seattle and the University of Washington. The property’s retail space is especially desirable, given the visibility down the pedestrian-friendly Broadway corridor.
700 Broadway includes 59 residential units and 10,673 square feet of retail. It is home to the Starbucks Roy Street Coffee location as well as a busy FedEx Kinko’s and the Russian-spirited cafe Kanape. A retail swath facing Broadway that was once home to a pizza joint and most recently a tanning salon has sat empty for months.
The new owners say they plan to spend $430,000 to make improvements to the building. Perhaps they can put some of that to use lobbying for a streetcar extension to connect north Broadway to the currently planned terminus at Denny.
The sale is a payoff on a longterm investment by partners Terrance Lien and Martin Nelson. Records show they bought the property in 2000 from Union Oil Company for $1,050,000.
While there appears to be a trend of investment companies buying area apartment buildings over the past 12 months, most of the activity near this area has happened on First Hill. CHS did report on this $4.3 million sale of the Winston Apartment building on E Pike earlier this year. Seattle area vacancy rates have reportedly dipped into the 4% range in recent months.
Meanwhile, the apartment stock on Broadway will see a major boost early next year as the 230 Broadway building is expected to be completed. The project will add more than 200 apartment units to the street — and another 11,000 square feet of commercial space.