Schnitzer West sells Bravern apartment towers
Separately, Grosvenor Americas, a privately held real-estate investment manager, buys 11 buildings at the Schnitzer North Creek office park for $167.5 million.
Seattle Times business reporter
Seattle developer Schnitzer West sold Bellevue’s Bravern Signature Residences and a Bothell office park Tuesday in separate transactions totaling about $475 million, public records show.
The $307.8 million sale of the two 33-story Bravern apartment towers works out to more than $676,000 a unit, documents show, setting a new record for King County apartments.
“That definitely would be a record, by a longshot,” said Marty Leith, an associate partner at Hendricks-Berkadia, a Phoenix-based apartment real-estate advisory firm.
The highest previous record was last year’s sale of Aspira, a 325-unit high-rise apartment tower in Seattle, according to data from Dupre+Scott, an apartment-research firm. The buyer in that sale paid about $485,380 per unit, Dupre+Scott reports.
Schnitzer officials declined to disclose the buyer’s identity, citing a confidentiality agreement.
The buyer was Atlanta-based Invesco Ltd., a pension-fund adviser, according to real-estate industry sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Public records show the apartment towers were sold to two limited liability partnerships registered in Delaware. The address listed for the partnerships is linked to Invesco.
Separately Grosvenor Americas, a privately held real-estate investment manager, bought 11 buildings at the Schnitzer North Creek office park for $167.5 million, or about $235 a square foot, the company’s first office acquisition in the Puget Sound region, Schnitzer officials said.
Schnitzer West officials said they plan to invest the proceeds in buying “Class B” office buildings in the Seattle and Denver markets and repositioning those as premium office, or Class A, space.
For years, Schnitzer West has been seeking the right moment to unload those properties, part of larger complexes developed by the company.
The Bravern is a mixed-use project Schnitzer West built at the corner of Northeast Eighth and 112th Avenue Northeast in downtown Bellevue.
Bravern Office Commons, about 750,000 square feet in two towers fully leased to Microsoft, and the parking garage were sold in September 2010 to Principal Real Estate Investors in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Shops at The Bravern, a high-end shopping center anchored by Neiman Marcus and home to Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Ferragamo, was sold in March 2012 to the New York-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp.
The Bravern apartments, which were originally developed as luxury condominiums during the housing boom, opened in 2010 and have consistently maintained 94 percent occupancy and rents for a 15 percent premium over the downtown Bellevue apartment market, Schnitzer officials said.
The average Bravern apartment is roughly 1,300 square feet and rents for more than $3,000. The top floors of the towers, intended for penthouses, remain unfinished.
“This was the ideal time to transition the asset,” said Greg MacDiarmid, Schnitzer’s chief investment officer, in a statement. While there are apartments under construction in the area, luxury apartments like those at The Bravern are scarce, he said.
Strong job growth, soaring rents and continued demand for rental housing has drawn global investors’ interest in apartments in the Puget Sound region.
To the north, the Schnitzer North Creek office park is on 125 acres just east of Interstate 405 in Bothell and comprises 24 buildings. Schnitzer West acquired the property in 1997 from the Koll Co. and developed 16 Class A office buildings.
Schnitzer West sold four buildings in 2000. Then in February, the developer sold 10 buildings in two separate deals.
Tuesday, Schnitzer sold the remaining 11 Class A buildings, which total 712,460 square feet.
But Schnitzer West will remain the property manager, as it still does at The Bravern Office Commons and The Shops at The Bravern. (Riverstone Residential Group will continue to manage the apartments at The Bravern.)
Grosvenor Americas is part of a global-property group with assets in 17 countries, primarily in Britain and Ireland. In the Puget Sound region, the company owns nine apartment properties with nearly 2,000 units. The company also owns 195 apartments in the San Francisco Bay Area and 92 live-work apartments in Vancouver, B.C.
“This transaction significantly increases Grosvenor Americas’ investment holdings in the Puget Sound region and furthers our strategy of investing in gateway markets with highly educated and well-trained work forces,” said Michael Beattie, the group’s chief investment officer, in a statement. “We believe the area will experience higher growth than many parts of the U.S. over the next several years, and this acquisition provides the opportunity and exposure.”
Dan Ivanoff, managing investment partner at Schnitzer West, said the two properties came on the market during a resurgence in interest from domestic investors.
Investors, rattled recently by uncertainty from the government debt-ceiling debate and shutdown, want the faith and stability of well-leased commercial real-estate properties, he said.
AT&T and Puget Sound Energy are among the tenants at the Bothell office campus.
Schnitzer West officials say they are still developing four other projects: A downtown Seattle office tower, a downtown Bellevue office tower, an office project in South Lake Union and a 25-acre industrial park in Puyallup.
Sanjay Bhatt: 206-464-3103 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter @sbhatt. News researcher Gene Balk contributed to this story.
Information in this article, originally published Oct. 15, 2013, was corrected Oct. 17, 2013. A previous version of the map that runs with the story incorrectly identified Snohomish County as Pierce County.