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Originally published October 5, 2012 at 3:16 PM | Page modified October 5, 2012 at 3:29 PM

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Filson doubling its Sodo footprint

Seattle outdoor-gear maker buys Sodo building near proposed arena

Seattle Times business reporter

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Venerable Seattle outdoor-clothing manufacturer Filson bought a four-story Sodo office building this week and plans to move its headquarters there by spring.

Filson also plans to keep the two-story building a few blocks away that now houses its flagship store, offices and most of its manufacturing, marketing manager Amy Terai said Friday.

That means the company is more than doubling its Sodo real-estate footprint. “It’s definitely an expansion,” Terai said of the new building.

She said she couldn’t say whether the expansion will generate more jobs.

Filson’s parent company paid $7.45 million for the Star Building, across First Avenue South from investor Chris Hansen’s proposed basketball and hockey arena. Terai said she didn’t know if the arena was a factor in Filson’s decision.

But Jason Rosauer, a senior vice president at brokerage Kidder Mathews who represented the Star Building’s seller, said the 91-year-old building attracted five offers, and the arena was a draw for several bidders.

Terai said Filson plans to occupy all 52,000 square feet in the new building, moving its corporate offices and perhaps some manufacturing there. Plans still are in flux, she added.

But there are no plans now to relocate Filson’s retail store from its current location on Fourth Avenue South, Terai said: “Our store here is such a destination. It’s been very successful for us.”

Filson began making outdoor wear in Seattle in 1897 for prospectors bound for the Klondike Gold Rush. It moved to Fourth South in the late 1990s after its longtime headquarters and factory was razed to make way for Safeco Field.

The company got in a new owner in June when Texas-based Bedrock Manufacturing, an investment firm based in Plano, Tex., acquired Filson from Brentwood Associates of Los Angeles for an undisclosed price.

Brentwood had purchased Filson from its local owners in 2005.

A Bedrock executive did not return a call seeking comment.

Lenders represented by Key Bank foreclosed on the Star Building this April after the previous owner defaulted on a $10 million loan. The empty building went on the market this summer, with the sellers asking $7.95 million.

They accepted Filson’s offer for $500,000 less because it was all cash and promised to close quickly, Rosauer said.

Eric Pryne: epryne@seattletimes.com or 206-464-2231

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