Safeco Plaza in downtown Seattle for sale for $ 465 million

The 50-story downtown Seattle office building that some call “the box the Space Needle entered” will soon be sold to a Boston-based developer for nearly half a billion dollars.

Boston Properties on Tuesday announced plans to acquire the nearly 800,000 square foot Safeco Plaza through a joint venture, with a gross purchase price of approximately $ 465 million. The sale has not yet been registered online by King County.

While pandemic-spawned remote working has fueled an existential debate over the future of downtown, Boston Properties CEO Owen Thomas on Tuesday called Seattle “one of the strongest office markets in the world. United States”. The company cited job growth in the tech and life sciences sectors.

The Seattle office market was hit hard during the pandemic. While many employers are still considering how they will force employees back into cubicles, these effects persist.

Vacancy rates are on the rise and sales stagnate in area office buildings, according to commercial real estate company Kidder Mathews. Demand continues for new office buildings in Seattle and the Eastside, mainly driven by tech companies, according to the report.

Another company, CBRE, found that office rents in downtown Seattle were increasing. “Listing agents are reporting higher asking rents and the wave of sublet space has likely peaked,” CBRE wrote.

Mayor Jenny Durkan, meanwhile, was on a tour of events trying to bring people back downtown as some candidates vied to replace her urge to focus more on neighborhoods outside of the city center.

Boston Properties describes itself as the largest developer, owner and manager of listed Class A office buildings in the country.

The company said the deal for Safeco Plaza will be with “one of the participants in its recently announced co-investment program.” Boston Properties plans to own up to 51% of the interest.

Built in 1969, Safeco Plaza includes shops on the ground floor and an underground garage for 576 cars. The tower was Seattle’s tallest from 1969 to 1985, when the Columbia Tower was built, according to History Link.

Safeco Plaza is 90% leased with an average term of 17 years among the largest tenants, according to Boston Properties.

The latest sale price is $ 78 million more than the last time the building changed hands, bought by Korean investors in 2016.