Friday, June 26, 2009

Plenty of Condos, but No Buyers

This is a recent article in the PSBJ discussing the large amount of empty condominiums in the Seattle and Bellevue markets. Bellevue especially has quite a bit of product to clear.

Seattle, Bellevue Luxury Condominium Towers Are Slow to Fill Up - Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle) height="500" width="100%" > value="">

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Reuters: CRE Report with Philip Blumberg

(Tip to Sibdu)

ASHRAE to release new building energy quotient program

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers has announced the forthcoming release of a building energy monitoring program called Building EQ - a function of the markets' desire for more energy efficient properties, this program will allow building owners to rate their buildings' energy efficiency using an A-F rating system. The idea, as mentioned in the following article, is that property owners can easily identify properties which are perhaps costing more than they should due to energy inefficiencies.

height="500" width="100%" > value="">

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sears Tower to go for the Green

An exciting development on the national real estate front - Sears Tower has announced plans to invest over $350M in energy enhancements to the already LEED certified structure. Why is this good? From a macro standpoint, a massive investment like this in such an iconic structure symbolizes the growing movement towards more sustainable design (which Urban Visions likes to see). Aside from considerable cost savings, Sustainable buildings enhance productivity, increase marketability in terms of leasing and sales, reduce a building's impact on the environment, and all and all provide a unique competitive advantage over the competition.

The following article is from Argus Global Viewpoints, and outlines this huge capital investment in more detail:

height="500" width="100%" > value="">

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Look at The Viaduct's Successor

In May of this year, Governor Gregoire officially signed the Bored Tunnel Bill, SB 5768, into action. Construction on this mammoth project will start in 2011, and reports indicate that the tunnel will be open for drivers by 2015 or 2016. With that said, we wanted to post a video which answers a very common question: Where exactly will the tunnel go once underground?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Urban Visions Welcomes The Hardrock Cafe to Seattle

In October of 2006, Urban Visions acquired a 13,500 SF building located along Pike Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue. We felt the building's strategic location along Seattle's busiest pedestrian corridor (often referred to as Seattle's 'red carpet'), was an extremely attractive location for a variety of users.

In 2008, The Hardrock Cafe contacted us after seeing one of our For Lease signs on the building's exterior. After a period of negotiations, we proudly welcomed The Hardrock Cafe to Seattle.

Hardrock began construction on The Liberty Building last month, and currently anticipates a grand opening celebration in November of 2009. They have also announced that they are targeting some form of LEED Certification for the project. To kick off a series of periodic construction updates on the blog, I have posted a set of renderings which show off the "finished product".

Interesting View on Commercial RE by CNBC

Thursday, June 11, 2009

505 1st almost ready to 'Top Out'

Starbucks' 287,00 SF development at 505 1st Avenue South is swiftly approaching its 7-story cap. Upon completion, this new addition to Pioneer Square will feature ~269,000 RSF of Class-A office, 17,400 RSF of retail, and 445 below grade parking stalls. The project is currently slated for completion in March of 2010 and is targeting a LEED Silver designation. No tenants have been announced yet.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Urban Visions Welcomes Maximus Minimus to Seattle

If you haven't had a chance to walk down towards the Market lately, head over to the Urban Visions' parking lot at Second & Pike. If you're there between 11 AM and 3 PM, you will see a giant pig on wheels, "Maximum-Minimus", (and a huge line of people)...

Maximus-Minimus is basically a kitchen on wheels, cooking up some of the cities best BBQ sandwiches. Stop by and support our newest Tenant!

To check out the Maximus-Minimus site, click here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Green Auto Row's Newest Neighbor

From the BMW of Seattle Website:

BMW Seattle Breaks Ground On New Facility In SODO

As growth in Seattle?s downtown has driven up the cost of real estate, Seattle-ites have seen their options for purchasing and servicing their vehicles dwindle. BMW Seattle is breaking the trend. Making a significant investment in an important downtown neighborhood, BMW Seattle is breaking ground on their new store in the SODO district.

?We have experienced tremendous growth in recent years at our BMW Seattle store?, said Sid DeBoer, ?Our customer base has grown so large, that we have simply outgrown our current location. It is with great pride that we are building this new state of the art facility to better serve our customers. Through market research and analysis, we think we have found the perfect location to provide expanded options to people who live in the city, or who work downtown.? The new facility is being constructed at 1002 Airport Way South. The site formerly housed warehouse space.

With the increased size, BMW Seattle will be hiring additional technicians, service advisers, and customer service representatives. The larger facility will result in a wider selection of vehicles, and will provide customers with greater flexibility in scheduling their vehicle service and maintenance. The size of the new store, and its location represent a significant commitment to Seattle and to the downtown community.

The building will be over 300,000 square feet in size and have more than 40 Service Bays. Completion of the building is slated for 2009.

Green Auto Row also distributed on CNN Online

King 5's segment on Seattle Electric Vehicles is also receiving national attention on CNN Online: Click Here to Watch it on

Monday, June 8, 2009

Look for Greg on King5 News Tonight - June 8 2009

King 5 News interviewed Urban Visions' Founder & CEO Greg Smith earlier today regarding his vision for a "Green Auto Row" along 6th Avenue South, North of Royal Brougham. Watch King 5 news tonight for the segment. Note I will also try to post the interview online tomorrow.

Friday, June 5, 2009

WOSCA Demolition

WSDOT recently demolished a series of buildings on the "WOSCA" site - a parcel of Land they lease from Urban Visions. This activity is in preparation for the viaduct utility relocation, as well as staging for future viaduct work. If you drive by on 1st Avenue, you really get a feel now for this site's development potential.

Below is a 'before' photograph taken from the Roof of the Provident Building, and an after photograph taken today from the Reedo Building rooftop. I will work on getting a better quality photograph up next week.


(Current Photo - working obtaining better quality)

More Green Auto Dealerships Coming to Seattle

Tesla Motors has announced their new Seattle Dealership (coming soon) - click here for the full article.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Higher Buildings Sought on Qwest Field North Lot

More news about a future development on the Qwest Field North Lot is out today:

DSA seeks taller buildings on Qwest Field parking lot

Journal Staff Reporter

The Downtown Seattle Association is urging its members to support a land-use amendment that it says would help development move forward on the Qwest Field north parking lot.

The project was first unveiled in 2006. The latest version includes 645 housing units, 19,000 square feet of retail, 480,000 square feet of office space and about 950 above-grade parking stalls on a 3.85-acre site.

The development team, Opus Northwest and Daniels Development Co., sought a contract rezone last year with the Seattle Department of Planning and Development that would allow taller buildings on the site. They've since shelved the rezone plans and have been working with the city to pass a land-use amendment that would accomplish the same goal.

The Seattle Housing Authority is also a development partner, but was not part of the purchase-and-sale agreement for the site.

The developers have proposed building a 20-story office tower and three residential towers of 10, 20 and 25 stories. Current zoning only allows up to 85 feet for commercial buildings and 120 feet for residential or mixed-use, but the amendment would permit 240 feet for all of those uses.

The City Council's Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee held a public hearing about the amendment last week, and is scheduled to give the measure more thorough consideration on June 10.

Randy Hurlow, vice president of communications and marketing for the Downtown Seattle Association, said the group, which generally doesn't take positions on specific projects, has come out in support of the measure because this project “would provide a much-needed infusion of affordable housing, retail and jobs in the Puget Sound area.”

DSA President Kate Joncas, in a letter to the council committee sent last week, said “we felt compelled to express our strong support and join the many other community organization and leaders in urging swift adoption of the text amendment.”

Michael Jenkins, a legislative analyst for the City Council, said the amendment could take at least a couple of months to make its way through the review process.

“The site has a lot of issues,” he said, including environmental problems and a high water table. “We want to get it right the first time.”

Kevin Daniels, president of Daniels Development, said he is seeking the new zoning to provide more view corridors, open areas and “graceful building footprints.”

“The plan does a good job of preserving view corridors both from and towards downtown and picking up economic development where the historic Smith Tower and King Street Station left off nearly a century ago,” he said.

In a draft of a letter the development firm will send to the King County Council detailing its plans, Daniels cites a number of obstacles to the development.

Daniels writes there was an “unexpected discovery of a plume of petroleum product in the northwest corner” of the site “and a pool of creosote-like substance in the northeast corner” that has required the firm to work with the state Department of Ecology on a formal cleanup program.

“With the catastrophic national collapse of the real estate industry's financial markets, it is our opinion that we would have no chance of obtaining the necessary equity and lending required to start construction of this project” without a consent decree from the DOE.

The developers say they hope to receive necessary zoning approvals by early fall and move on to more design work.

“By this time next year we plan to be completed with the city entitlement process and with DOE, leaving the real estate market as the final hurdle,” Daniels writes.