Historical Seattle Retail Building – For SALE?

What has historical Seattle significance and yet offers 80,000 s.f. of space? More to the point, why WOULD a company do it?

Seattle Historical Retail Building

An historical Seattle retail building might be for sale.  In a recent article in the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce discussed a number of interesting points pertaining to one of Seattle’s historical retail buildings, presently owned by Macys.  The upper floors of the building haven’t been well used in recent years, so there is discussion about how best to reconfigure the space or sell it off to “a major” who can take on all that footage.

What does 80,000 s.f. per floor look like?  Well, the average Seattle Safeway stores today are at 40,000 s.f.  SMALL grocery stores were at 20k before they got their remodels.

Rumour was that Facebook had expressed interest in this Seattle real estate, but when a deal didn’t come together quickly enough, they opted for some new space further north toward Lake Union.

What company is likely to want to share space in the elegant, historical building?  Do you remember what used to be on the 7th and 8th floors when the building was The Bon Marche?  I seem to remember eating very tasty egg sandwiches in the cafeteria. With that amount of square footage, a company could even go retro and have their own cafeteria to serve their employees.  No more leaving the building to go find lunch!

So is selling the top floors a good thing?  Maaaaybe.  Personally I’d rather see it on a long term lease for offices, so that the space doesn’t become victim to even MORE apartments or condos.

In Seattle’s big push for living spaces, I think we’ve turned enough churches and other beautiful buildings, originally intended for other purposes, into housing.  What do you think?

SuperSonics Reign Man Throws a Party!

Yes it’s true.  SuperSonics Shawn Kemp came back to Seattle to throw a whopper of a party to celebrate the Thunder’s attempts to go to the finals.  Hard fought year, I gathered.  Kemp wanted to celebrate that they just missed out on the inclusion, so he held a party here in Seattle at Neumos, the live music venue.

Several people who’d LOVE to have our basketball team back, were in attendance.

Tell me – Would you have gone?  Do you want a new SuperSonics team here?  Thoughts?

Here are the deets:

Lynnwood – New housing planned!

If you thought, “Lynnwood?  Isn’t that a town waaay up north of Seattle?”  You’d be in for a surprise these days!

Lynnwood’s building a City Center.  The city is rolling out plans for the development of two large apartment complexes and a hotel (beginning already this year), right at the intersection of 196th and I-5.  This is a  hot spot because it will also welcome Light Rail in the not too distant future.  Work on the Light Rail begins in 2018 and will have a transit center around the 200th SW block.  One of the structures is to be a 300 unit senior housing project, while the other is to be “affordable workforce housing,” whatever that is going to cost.


All of this development is creating a “walkable downtown core” – meaning shorter blocks, wider sidewalks, taller buildings, and so forth.  With the new flurry of improvements, 196th is also going to be widened.  The long-promised Costco is going to open just north of Alderwood Mall.

A section of 198th SW is slated to become a “main street-style” area.  There are rumours of a tentatively planned new park too.

Some of the height boundaries are being upzoned to 30 stories, while a 35 FOOT height limit would be set for buildings that are adjacent to residential structures.  (Do you see a canyon in the making here, folks?)  If a 30-story building WERE constructed in the new hood, that would turn out to be the highest building in Snohomish County.

What is the purpose of all this construction?  Frankly?  Lynnwood is positioning itself to be an affordable housing target as they are located midway between Seattle and Everett.  They seem to think that within the next 20 years, they will see a growth of 35-55,000 households.  Wanna bet it’ll happen sooner than 20 years?

If you want “in” on the excitement of this growing and forward-thinking community, while prices are still affordable, call Rita!  She and her team will help you find a terrific investment, guide you through your options, and help sort out all the details of a purchase.

Photo courtesy City of Lynnwood

New Homes – Want to live close to Factoria Mall?


Talk about location, location, location!  Back in 2004, the New York based Kimco Realty Corp had purchased Factoria Mall with the intention of updating the mall and adding up to 685 residential units nearby.  Then the downturn of 2008 happened and the concept was scaled way back.

Good new though!  There will be 24 luxury townhomes built with ground breaking happening late in 2015.  No one has mentioned pricing just yet, so it’s anyone’s guess just how high they may go by the time of “roll out” to the public.

Are you interested?  Then you’ll want to contact the Condominium Specialist, Joan Furlong (206.999.1814) or contact Rita Harris, Broker for more info.

Real Estate & Technology

Squeeeeeee!  In case you live on one of our many hills, or you work for Amazon or Nordstrom, we have a REALLY good news about a retailer popping into our midst!

That dear reader, is the giant Best Buy.  No longer will we be forced to drive to Northgate or Southcenter to pick up the electronic gadget of choice.  Naaaay, we have merely to saunter over to the old Seattle Times building and visit with the 50-100 employees they plan to hire for their Seattle store.

Can’t wait.  Truly it’s like having the icecream truck come down your street.  But this one offers electronics to geeks like me.  #Can’tWait

Who is Buying Seattle Commercial Properties?

It’s not who you expected.  Nope, not Amazon or Microsoft.  Not even a few of the major real estate developers you’ve recognized on T.V.

This time, it’s an interest combo.

I’ve been in real estate for years.  Literally.  Years.  Worked in residential, then honed skills over in commercial for CB Richard Ellis (yes, CBRE, the world’s largest and most prestigious real estate company!), and back to residential real estate.  While I worked for one such company on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, I would exit off the I-5 freeway at the Olive Way Exit to merge with local surface traffic.  I’d smile at the two goofy buildings just off the freeway which locals call “Twin Toasters.”
Seattle Homes for Sale - Twin Toasters

Well, today (Friday 3/27/2015) marked the closing of a sale of the Twin Toasters.  I fondly remember a great Jewish deli across the street for sandwiches and visiting Group Health Cooperative offices in that building.  Wow, what a view over to Lake Union too!  I digress….

Twin Toasters (a.k.a Metropolitan Park East & West) were sold for $139.2 m and $133.6m respectively, to a Los Angeles-based fund that appears to have a similar address with CBRE’s Strategic Partners.  At least so says the Seattle Times.

What will become of the unique structures?  Gosh, I hope there aren’t plans for tearing THEM down too, like much of that area of downtown is experiencing.  Their architectural style, though not my specific Victorian flavored favorite, IS an icon here in our fair Emerald City and losing them would be a shame.  Let’s hold a hope that instead, the interiors might get a face lift which the tenants will appreciate. It’s kinda like going out to a high school dance and bringing a corsage. At least the tenants should get something pretty, before their leases are raised upon renewals.  Just sayin’…..

Photo credit: http://www.pilderwasser.com/cgi-bin/blog

Goats Loose on Seattle’s Beacon Hill

Approximately 10 Bovidae went on the prowl and were suspected of chasing some children in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Seattle Police reported that the goats were loose in the 5000 block of S. Wallace.  Now, that’s not what I would personally call Beacon Hill, it’s more like the west side of Skyway, but hey….

As it turns out, SPD managed to wrangle or round up this unruly bunch, turning them over to Animal Control who promised to catch up with the owner.  Ouch.  I’d hate to be part of THAT conversation!

All in all, I’m pretty sure that this was a fun and lively interaction for our police department.  Like, how many times in your life do YOU have reason to round up some Bovidae?  LOL

The image above, was found out on the SPD Newsblotter.  I can’t take credit.  Someone was really clever!  Check it out.  It’s “Steve BaaaQueen.”

West Seattle Homeowners & Renters

Here’s your opportunity to have your voice heard regarding parking in your neighborhood!

West Seattle Homes - Seattle Area Homes for Sale

Much discussion has been going on about West Seattle parking, in general, as well as in the Fauntleroy area.  If you’d like to take a brief survey and provide your opinion and feedback before the end of business day on Thursday, March 26, 2015, do it!

The survey asks if you are a homeowner or tenant. It would like answers regarding parking, your public transit use, whether you favor more parking enforcement or the establishment of RPZ (restricted parking zone for the neighbors).

I entered my own information and offered how I use West Seattle.  I pick up dog food at Petco.  My husband and I eat at restaurants.  We buy antiques, clothing and home decorating items.  We are NOT going to take the bus to get there. But that’s just us.

My input included suggestions for either parking garages which could be obscured to make neighbors happy, or the construction of garages at SODO with a shuttle service that could take people to the Junction or to Fauntleroy to hop a ferry.  Fewer cars parking on the street?  Maybe they’d consider it, especially during the summer season.

What are YOUR ideas?  You’ve got a day or so to speak up.  IF you want to know the results, you can offer your email.  Otherwise, you are submitting the info anonymously.

Do you own a West Seattle home?  Are you a tenant looking to buy something in West Seattle?  Each of you have specific set of needs that someone with knowledge of the area and real estate experience can offer.  Call Rita Harris, Broker.  She’s an original Seattleite and will have answers for your questions. Don’t waste time.  Just call her…

#WestSeattleParking, #WestSeattleHomes, #WestSeattleTenant, #RitaHarrisBroker

Solar Panels on Seattle Homes?

Crikey – With all the rain we have, you’d think people wouldn’t install them, but what happens when you go to sell that charming Seattle home?

Seattle Homes 4 Sale - Solar House Seattle

(Photo credit: ReStore.org)

I read an article in the Seattle Times wherein the writer was commenting about the fact there is a growing trend here with Seattle Homeowners to go more “green” and recapture those dollars lost to power consumption.  The solar panel companies are springing up everywhere and they offer these super deals with no up-front costs to you.  You have a 15 year payment plan that is affordable in your eyes.

Then someone in your family gets a job promotion and you go to the sell house.  Whoops!

Many buyers are wary about the solar panels with reason – How long are they warrantied? What if there is newer and better technology in the next couple of years and these panels are obsolete?  What if the panels DON’T save as much as you/the solar company said? What if I don’t want to pay on YOUR panels for the remaining 12 years?  These buyers are now asking sellers to do a lump sum payoff of the solar contract (that could run you $12-$30k), so they don’t have to incorporate that into their monthly expenses.  After all, the buyer is likely paying far more for the house than you did and will have a higher mortgage payment overall.  Adding the cost of solar panel payments may not be in the budget.

Apparently, these issues are popping up all over So Cal.  Several transactions or real estate sales are falling apart because the terms and qualifications to assume the lease of the solar panels was prohibitive to the next buyer.  Over-all, it would’ve been smarter to just buy the panels, rather than lease. Wait… didn’t my dad tell me that about cars too?

Here’s the closing feedback from the Seattle Times reporter, Ken Harney:
“Take-aways from all this? Top on the list: Be aware of the potential complexities that can occur when you lease, rather than buy, solar panels. If you opt for a lease, understand your long-term obligations, and talk to your current utility company about the savings claimed. Most important, if you’ve got a leased system and plan to sell, contact the leasing company well in advance to learn about their lease transfer and buyout options. That way you’ll be ready if prospective buyers have problems with your panels.”

Do YOU already have solar panels on your house and now you’re thinking of selling?
Are you trying to decide if it’s worth the investment?
Call me and let’s chat further.  With the contacts I have, I might be able to provide you with the information you need to have options and make a smart decision.

Sunny Smiles from SeattleAreaHomes4Sale!