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Puget Sound 3rd Quarter 2010 Office Highlights


The following report provided by Colliers International will inform you of what has occurred in the Greater Seattle office market during the past three months.

• The Seattle office market experienced a decline in vacancy in Q3 2010. Vacancy decreased by 45 basis points from 18.02% in Q2 2010 to 17.57% in Q3 2010 and absorption posted a net positive of 198,000 SF. Amazon is still misleading the decrease in vacancy due to the fact that they are occupying their new spaces without completely vacating their old spaces in Columbia Center, 605 Union Station, 705 Union Station and 1200 12th Ave. S (where Amazon signed an extension through May 2011).

• Vulcan delivered their third of five newly constructed buildings for Amazon in Q3 2010. Phase II of the Amazon buildings (500 Boren Ave. N) delivered 172,000 SF, bringing the year-to-date total of Amazon deliveries to 613,000 SF of occupied space. This contributed to even lower vacancy rates in the Lake Union submarket. The Lake Union submarket’s vacancy dipped for the second consecutive quarter; this time dropping 343 basis points in Q3 2010, down from over 2,000 basis points in Q2 2010. Expect the Lake Union submarket’s vacancy and Seattle’s overall vacancy to experience a moment of shock in Q1 and Q2 of 2011 as Amazon moves into Phase III and Phase IV, bringing the Amazon campus total to over 1.46 million SF by Q2 2011.

• Third quarter real estate movement included Nuance Communications, who took 46,000 SF at the newly completed 505 1st Ave. Building; while Real Networks left 54,000 SF at the Seattle Trade Center and Gilead Sciences, Inc. vacated 38,000 SF at Market Place Tower.

• The Seattle office market experienced an influx of signed Letters of Intent (LOI) and major deals signed this quarter, bringing hope that the Seattle office markets stabilization is here to stay. The Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) signed a 140,000 SF lease at 401 Terry Ave. N (occupancy spring 2011), Cobalt will be moving into 100,000 SF at 605 Union Station towards the end of the year, Russell Investments Center signed four new office leases totaling 75,000 SF at the end of Q3 2010, and KPMG signed a LOI to lease 55,000 SF in 1918 8th Ave. In addition, Dendreon signed a LOI to take 191,000 SF, and may need another 60,000 SF at 635 Elliott and 645 Elliott respectively.

• The Eastside office market during Q3 2010 saw a minimal decrease in vacancy of 81 basis points from 14.91% to 14.10%. With 357,000 SF of positive absorption for the quarter and around 471,000 SF of positive absorption year to date (YTD), the Eastside office market is showing a steady rebound from the difficult year of 2009.

• Within the Eastside office market, the I-90 Corridor, Kirkland, and Bellevue CBD submarkets saw 184,000 SF, 100,000 SF and 75,000 SF of net positive absorption respectively.

• The Eastside office market had a large amount of tenant activity during Q3. Digipen moved into 108,000 SF at Willows Commerce Park II - Building E (9931 Willows Rd. NE) after signing the lease during Q1 2010. Volt moved into 20,000 SF at the Willow Ridge Tech Center (12034 134th Ct. NE) and Pacific Partners moved into 17,500 SF at Carillon Point 5000 (5000 Carillon Point).

• The construction of the HighMark Medical Center in the Coal Creek/Issaquah submarket was completed during Q3 2010, adding an additional 46,000 SF of Office/Medical space to the market. The building came online with 20,000 SF already occupied by a number small tenants.

• During Q3 2010, the Eastside office market continued to show signs of recovery. The vacancy rate has declined over the year from 14.71% during Q3 2009 to 14.10% during Q3 2010. With tenant activity up and new construction practically extinct, vacancy is expected to decrease slowly over the next few quarters.

• The Northend office market vacancy for Q3 2010 ended at 17.02%, down 3 basis points from the 17.05% seen during Q2. There were 22,000 SF of positive absorption seen during Q3, leaving the YTD absorption at a net loss of 101,000 SF.

• Within the Northend office market, the submarkets that saw the most activity were Bothell/Kenmore and Greater Snohomish County with 39,000 SF of positive absorption and 25,000 SF of negative absorption respectively. The Everett CBD and the Mill Creek/Woodinville submarkets offset each other in regards to vacancy with 14,000 SF of negative absorption and 14,000 SF of positive absorption respectively.

• The positive absorption seen in the Northend office market during Q3 2010 can be attributed to a large number of small deals throughout the area. They include Sea Mark Clinic taking 5,000 SF at the Lake Tye Building (14090 Fryelands Blvd.) and AMO Recoveries taking 11,000 SF at the Lynnwood Corporate Center (19401 40th Ave. W).
• Despite relatively low activity within the Northend office market, in terms of absorption, Q3 was the first time during 2010 that positive absorption was seen in the area. Although the gain was minimal, the fact that there was positive absorption, rather than negative, is significant.
South King County

• The South King County office market had its vacancy decrease for the first time since 2Q 2009, dropping from 23.57% in 2Q 2010 to 22.92% in Q3 2010, a difference of 65 basis points. Absorption posted a net positive of 69,000 SF for Q3 2010.

• The Tukwila office submarket fared the worst this quarter with a net negative absorption of 38,000 SF, while the South Seattle office submarket posted a positive net absorption of 59,000 SF. Tenant activity in the other submarkets was in the form of minimal space being occupied or vacated in Q3 2010.

• In South King County, Integra Telecom leased 45,000 SF at the Time Square Complex in the 700 Building, Kiewit Construction leased 29,000 SF at Cedar Park @ West Campus (33433-33455 6th Ave. S) and Microscan vacated 30,000 SF at Blackriver Corporate Park (1201 SW 7th St.).

• Twin Development, who originally had until the end of September to close on the sale of 4 acres of city land for $6.15 million, was awarded a 60-day extension by the city of Federal Way enable to secure financing. Twin Development plans to build three skyscrapers on the land, which are proposed to be higher than any other building in Federal Way.

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