Commercial Real Estate – Seattle market and recent sales

Bellevue site sells for $11.3M

Twenty-one condos there were destroyed in a fatal fire in 2016, and the homeowners decided to sell the land rather than rebuild.

The site where Chimney Condominiums once stood, at 115 100th Ave. N.E. in West Bellevue, has sold for $11.3 million, according to King County records.

The seller was the Chimney Homeowners Association.

The 21-unit complex was developed in 1965 on the almost one-acre site. It was destroyed by a catastrophic fire in October 2016. Two residents died of their injuries following the blaze, and 40 were rendered homeless. The buyer was Caymus Development Inc., which is associated with a Compton, California investor who runs a logistics company. That area of Bellevue has gained tremendously in value since the Chimney was built a half-century ago. It is walkable to Bellevue Square, Bellevue Downtown Park, the shops on old Main Street and Meydenbauer Beach Park. The park is now being given a $17.5 million makeover and expansion, and will be renamed Meydenbauer Bay Park. It’s also about a 20-minute walk to the Bellevue Transit Center, where light rail service will begin in 2023. Residential zoning for the property allows low-rise construction of up to 30 units per acre.


Gas station site sells for $7.5M

SEATTLE — Three properties at 622-648 Elliott Ave. W. have sold for $7.5 million, according to King County records. The seller was Pajoka LLC, which acquired the property in 2009 for $382,000.

The buyers were two LLCs, Dream Group Investment and One Dream Group Investment. Both are governed by the owner of a Taco Del Mar franchise in Ballard. The property totals 34,400 square feet and is currently home to a Shell gas station, mini-mart and brake shop. It is immediately north of the Canvas Apartments, on the triangle bounded by West Mercer Place. It is in an area of Lower Queen Anne that was recently upzoned to 55 feet. No new plans have been filed for the property.


Seattle rents now rank among top 5 most expensive in U.S 

Seattle is among the five most-expensive big cities for renters. The median amount paid by Seattle renters across all units reached $1,448 last year, an increase of $92 from 2015

Seattle leapfrogged Washington, D.C., to become one of the most expensive cities in the country for renters, according to new census data.

Data can sometimes reveal unexpected trends. This isn’t one of those times.

New numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that is Seattle is — for the first time — among the five most-expensive big cities for renters. The median amount paid by Seattle renters reached $1,448 last year, an increase of $92 from 2015.

The median is the midway point. Half the renters pay more, and half the renters pay less.

It’s certainly no surprise to anyone who’s at the whim of the local rental market, and that’s a lot of people. The data show about 331,000 people living in rental units in Seattle last year, a jump of close to 60,000 since the start of this decade.

Back in 2014 — a mere three years ago —  Seattle making its debut among the top 10 most-expensive rental cities. It seemed like big news at the time, but as it turns out, we were just warming up.

Since then, Seattle has climbed its way past Los Angeles, Virginia Beach, Honolulu, and even New York City, which we toppled in 2015. Then, last year, we leapfrogged Washington, D.C., into the No. 5 spot among the 50 biggest cities in the country. Look out, Boston, we’re right there in your rearview mirror.

The biggest rent increase — $162 — was in San Jose, Calif., which also has the highest median of any major city. Portland saw its median go up by more than $100 for the first time, ranking the Rose City fifth for rent increases last year. Even at $1,153, it’s significantly cheaper than Seattle.

Some of the dollar amounts for median rent in the census data might sound strangely low. For example, the median for San Francisco is less than $1,800, but good luck trying to find a place for that amount in the City by the Bay.

The reason is that census numbers are not based on the present market rate, like many rental estimates you’ll see. Rather, the Census Bureau surveys people who are renting, and asks them what they pay.

People living in market-rate apartments are counted, of course, but so are folks in older and less-expensive units, as well as those in subsidized housing who may pay little or no rent at all. Many renters who have been living in their apartment for a long time pay far less than market rate.

And in San Francisco and New York, a significant number of units are rent-controlled and rent-stabilized, further bringing down the medians in those two cities.

Census figures also includes the estimated average monthly cost of utilities, if these are paid by the renter. This is intended to eliminate differences that result from varying practices — in one apartment building, some or all utilities may be included in the rent, while at the next building, the tenants might be on the hook for everything.

As tough as things are in Seattle, consider the poor folks renting in Bellevue. The median there jumped by a whopping $153 last year, hitting $1,846.

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