First Industrial Continues to Expand in Metro Seattle

Having entered the Seattle market only last year, Chicago-based First Industrial Realty Trust has grown its presence there steadily, its most recent transaction being the just-announced acquisition of a three-building distribution portfolio in the Kent Valley. The Class A buildings total 233,000 square feet and are 100 percent leased.The price was not disclosed. Andrew Harnish and Chris Spofford of Jones Lang LaSalle assisted with the transaction. First Industrial opened its Seattle/Tacoma office in the first quarter of 2007, and in July 2007 announced its first land acquisition, for the development of First Park Meridian Campus in Lacey. The project has two buildings under development totaling 328,500 square feet; the buildings are the first large spec distribution facilities in Washington being built to LEED standards, according to First Industrial. The initial building, of 198,000 square feet, is scheduled to be completed in October. First Industrial’s purchase of the land for First Park Meridian Campus was followed this past January by the purchase of a 261-acre site in Dupont for First Park Northwest Landing, a distribution/light industrial project to be developed in a joint venture with the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. An announcement at that time said that development plans would “accommodate build-to-suits for corporate customers and select land parcel sales to strategic customers.” Allen Safer, managing director of Integra Realty Resources, Seattle, told CPN that the Kent Valley, where First Industrial’s most recent acquisition is located, is a mature market, with “very stringent land-use regulations” and where land prices of $14–15 per square foot are not uncommon. With such barriers to new construction, he said, new industrial space is generally migrating south along I-5. In some cases in the Kent Valley, Safer continued, land prices are driving the addition of up to 25 to 30 percent office space (in two stories) to what had been industrial buildings with minimal office space. In other cases, he said, industrial properties in the Kent Valley are being bought so they can be demolished and redeveloped. First Industrial Realty Trust owns, manages and has under development nearly 100 million square feet of industrial space in more than 30 markets in the United States, Canada, The Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany.