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July 14, 2017

California investor buys old Boeing HQ building on the Duwamish

Puget Sound Business Journal

Marc Stiles

A privately held real estate investment company based in Santa Monica, California has entered the Seattle market by buying an historic brick building that housed Boeing's first headquarters.

Vista Investment Group paid $14.6 million for the stout, 1929-built property at 200 S.W. Michigan St., according to commercial real estate company Kidder Mathews, which listed the property for San Francisco-based seller Lift Partners.

The Seattle Mart occupies the 82,200-square-foot building on the site of Boeing Plant 1 on the Duwamish Waterway. Made up of wholesalers, the mart is a collection of showrooms where companies sell products ranging from gifts to stationery. The mart previously operated as Pacific Market Center at a different location.

The value of the property has yo-yoed over the last 11 years, selling for $11.65 million in 2006. That buyer lost it in during a foreclosure, according to public records that also show that Lift Partners acquired it for nearly $5.5 million in 2015, when it undertook a top-to-bottom renovation. The value of the work was listed at $2 million on the city building permit application.

Today the building has open spaces with polished concrete floors, exposed brick and steel I-beams. The building is 90 percent occupied, according to Kidder Mathews brokers Andy Miller and Evan Lugar.

Vista President Jonathan Barach on Friday said Vista will continue to operate it as showroom and will add some creative office tenants to complement the existing occupants. He added that the building is leased to more than 20 individual tenants with one to six years remaining on their leases.

The property totals nearly 3.6 acres. Vista is not considering developing the land at this time, said Barach, who added he hopes this is the first of many acquisitions in the greater Seattle area. Vista owns and manages around 1,100 apartment units and 500,000 square feet of commercial space in California and now the Northwest.

According to research by Barach and Kidder Mathews, Boeing founder Bill Boeing bought the Plant 1 site in 1909 for $10 from a bankrupt shipbuilder. Bill Boeing's office was in the building, which Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower visited. The Seattle Mart is one of two remaining buildings from the original Plant 1.

A Boeing official said the structure is the oldest Boeing building still standing in its original location.

For the full story, go to Puget Sound Business Journal.

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