A Capitol Hill land deal so large it takes multiple real estate industry rags to track down all the details has gone down, putting a block of commercial buildings and the home to a popular neighborhood event space along E Olive Way on the road to redevelopment.
The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce and Puget Sound real estate industry chronicler The Registry have both reported portions of the deal that will put “half an acre” of Capitol Hill commercial property under the control of “Vancouver, Canada-based real estate investment and management company” Low Tide Properties. The registry tallies a price tag of $16.9 million for two of the “office buildings” while the DJC puts the complete deal at $21 million.
The “Capitol Hill Development Site” has been a prime target for investors after the large block of properties just off E Olive Way was brought to market for its longtime owners by the Jones Lang LaSalle firm.
Included in the buildings is the space previously home to the longtime studio of legendary Seattle photographer Fred Milkie, the official photographer of the Seattle World’s Fair. The Milkie family now benefits from the longtime holdings.
Today, that studio is known as event and arts space Fred Wildlife Refuge which opened its doors at 128 Belmont Ave E early this decade under owner Chris Snell. On the E Olive Way end of the parcels in the transaction, 1661 E Olive Way is the current home of Coldwell Banker Bain’s Capitol Hill offices.
Low Tide Properties has not yet responded to CHS’s inquiry about the deal but sales materials tout the package of property as prime land for redevelopment:
CHDS represents a rare opportunity to invest in Seattle’s iconic development cycle and to take advantage of nation leading demographics, population and job growth. Seattle has an overabundance of renters seeking high-end living options that continues to bring employees to the downtown core at unprecedented rates. New apartment construction rents in the city’s core average $3.50 per foot for mid-rise and $4.00 per foot for high-rise buildings and the vacancy rate is 3.8 percent in Capitol Hill.
JLL also brags that this area has the “highest concentration of millennials.”
“Due to the strong tech job market, relative affordability compared to other major cities, and high quality of living, the Seattle metro area continues to attract workers, particularly millennials, at a faster rate than every other major U.S. city,” they write. “The census data for the city of Seattle, shows that 65 percent of apartment units constructed this decade have a resident under the age of 35. Portland is 52 percent and San Francisco is only 39 percent.”
Graphics in the sales packet show a city covered in high tech labels while another section of the packet outlines a brief overview of the city’s expanded Mandatory Housing Affordability requirements.
Early April is apparently prime time for news to break on massive Capitol Hill development deals. In 2012, CHS reported on the acquisition of the “Bauhaus block” of E Pine, and the $10.3 million deal to acquire the Piecora’s block went down in April 2013.