Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has spent years revamping Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, first with the failed Commons project in the 1990s and most recently with a massive redevelopment of the area that now houses Amazon.com’s multi-building campus.
Now, Allen is looking to sell a portion of the jigsaw puzzle of buildings he’s helped assemble in the neighborhood, putting the 1.8 million square-foot Amazon.com campus on the market, a massive tract of real estate that could fetch hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Vulcan’s portfolio is heavily weighted in office and we need to rebalance that distribution,” Lori Mason Curran, Investment Strategy Director of Real Estate at Vulcan said in a statement. “With the current low interest rate environment and high values for core assets this feels like a good time to capitalize on market conditions.”
Mason Curran tells GeekWire that Amazon.com, which has grown its global workforce to nearly 70,000 people, could be a potential bidder for the campus.
“We expect there to be significant interest in the assets from a variety of potential purchasers that could include institutional investors, pension funds, high net worth individuals and Amazon.com,” she said.
Meanwhile, Vulcan Vice President of Real Estate Ada Healey tells The Seattle Times that Vulcan could continue to developing in the neighborhood. Allen’s real estate arm, which started building what became the Amazon headquarters in 2008, still holds about 30 acres in the neighborhood, according to the Times.
Amazon.com earlier this year entered into an agreement to buy a 12-acre parcel in Seattle’s Denny Triangle neighborhood, which sits between downtown Seattle and the company’s new headquarters in South Lake Union The company’s architects have been discussing the new 37-story high-rises with design planning officials, and is hoping to push ahead with the plans in the coming months.
It may indeed be a good time to sell in South Lake Union. A report out earlier this month indicated that the neighborhood is the No. 1 submarket in terms of overall demand for tech space.
Brian Hayden of Seattle real estate firm Flinn Ferguson tells GeekWire that the sale makes sense.
“I’m not surprised Vulcan is selling now. First of all, the Seattle market is one of the hottest in the country for commercial real estate investment,” he said. “Secondly, Vulcan spent years assembling contiguous real estate in South Lake Union so they could control the type of development that happened there when the market called for it.”