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$14M deal for Elliott Bay Book Company building

A prime piece of Pike/Pine’s commercial past and present has a new owner. A company associated with the Keeler Investment Group, an investor in “Pacific Northwest-based, early stage, private equity and real estate opportunities,” for $14 million, according to King County records.

Longtime owner Capitol Hill-based Hunters Capital announced the sale Monday of the Ford Building, the 97-year-old former auto row warehouse now home to Elliott Bay Book Company, the Little Oddfellows cafe, and upscale fashion retailer Totokaelo

In March, Hunters officials told CHS they had a letter of intent with a local buyer.  “It’s not some big, national conglomerate,” Mike Oaksmith, director of development at Hunters said at the time. Elliott Bay owner Peter Aaron told CHS that the bookstore is well positioned for any change of building ownership. Aaron said Elliott Bay is in the midst of a “long term” lease — “more than 10 years is what I’m comfortable saying,” Aaron told CHS.

While the building is expected to retain its current retail makeup for the near-term, the building’s long-term development potential was part of its attraction to investors.  “This offering represents a unique opportunity to invest in a 100% leased property with a stable retail income stream and future development potential located in one of Seattle’s hottest and growing neighborhoods,” read the pitch from the Jones Lang LaSalle real estate firm. If and when it is redeveloped, the building is eligible for Pike/Pine’s preservation incentives which provide potentially lucrative extra height and bulk bonuses for saving building facades of character structures.

Word spread in February that the Ford Building, the 97-year-old former auto row warehouse had been put on the market touting its “100% leased” status, its place as a “prime Capitol Hill retail creative space,” and its hosting of an “iconic master tenant.”

Earlier in February, CHS reported on plans from Midby Companies to purchase and overhaul the 1908-built Odd Fellows building next door.

Hunters Capital still owns a collection of major properties across the Hill and is currently at work on a seismic upgrade and overhaul to add a restaurant and rooftop bar project to the Colman Automotive Building at Pine and Bellevue. “Contemporary furniture” retailer Blu Dot will also open its first Seattle showroom in the overhauled building.

Hunters founder Michael Malone purchased the 10th Ave Ford Building in 1987 for $551,000, according to King County records. Along 10th Ave, Hunters also owns the masonry 1000 E Pike Building home to Poquitos.

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