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February 20, 2018

Lindal sells I-5 site to Mutual Materials

Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce

Brian Miller

Lindal Cedar Homes has sold its highly visible Tukwila property, right next to Interstate 5, to Mutual Materials for almost $2.7 million.

King County recorded the sale last week for the property at 10411 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S.

Notes filed with the city of Tukwila shows that Mutual Materials intends to build something on the site, but the company didn't respond to DJC queries as to what. Tukwila lists the property address as 4302 S. 104th Pl.

Kraig Heeter and Patricia Loveall of Kidder Mathews represented Lindal. They will find a new location for Lindal, which will lease back the site for a year.

Tony Rona and Brian Kelly of Washington Partners represented Mutual Materials.

The 1.53-acre property was on the market for about a year. The deal was worth about $40 per square foot, excluding the value of the three buildings.

Mutual Materials is a family-owned business based in Bellevue, with a dozen branch locations around the Northwest.

The Lindal site is a few miles south of Mutual Materials' original brick manufacturing plant on West Beacon Hill, were the company was established in 1900 as Builders Brick Co. The company is now in its fifth generation of family leadership.

City of Tukwila meeting notes for the Lindal site list the team as architect Tahoma Design Group, Barghausen Engineers and Vector Real Estate.

Lindal bought the property in 1970, according to CEO Bob Lindal, the son of the company founder.

It has long been an iconic presence at Exit 158, near Boeing Field, with model homes acting as billboards for Lindal's premade kit homes - many with distinctive A-frame roofs.

"In an ideal world, we would've preferred to stay there," said Lindal of the prominent location. "That's why we're there. In 1970, that was a fairly barren piece of dirt next to the new freeway."

Back then, said Lindal, it was convenient to have the company's main office and sales center there, and fairly easy to build, sell and move model homes, which were rotated through the decades.

Today the area is more congested, with the light rail tracks now just west of the property. "We need to build new models and move them, and you can't build new models on the side of the freeway."

Over the past 70 years, said Lindal, "We've had a dozen properties [in King County] that we've had for various business purposes." The same is true statewide and in Canada, where model homes are assembled, displayed and sold. Those properties are often short-term investments.

Lindal previously owned the 4.5-acre industrial park just east of its headquarters, but sold that in 2000. It's still called Lindal Corporate Park, and Lindal rents space there.

"Land is too expensive. The world changes, and you change with it." But Lindal Cedar Homes isn't going far. "We'll rent a suitable space in the area. We have a year. We've got lots of time."

The company, now in its third generation of family management, was founded in 1945 by Canadian-born Sir Walter Lindal. (Sir is the transliteration of his Icelandic first name, Skuli, not an honorific.) He died in 2011 at age 92.

Lindal bills itself as the world's largest maker of prefab custom cedar homes.

How's the company faring today?

"It is a cyclical business," said Lindal. "We're back, but it's nothing like it was before the recession. Canada's down. Japan's down."

For the full story, go to Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.

©Copyright 2018 Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce

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