Seven acres in the Duwamish industrial area recently sold for $18.3 million, so naturally I checked to see who the buyer was, and if any redevelopment plans might be afoot.
My call went to San Francisco, but the callee has Seattle roots. And — surprise! — a logistics center isn't planned for the site. Or not just yet.
First, the triangular 7.2-acre property at 4901 Airport Way S. is now mostly used for shipping container storage and truck parking. It's occupied by the freight and warehousing company MacMillan-Piper, and was previously home to Consolidated Freightways. Two principals with MacMillan-Piper were the sellers, using LLCs. They acquired the property for a total of $4.1 in two transactions in 1997 and 2002.
There's a one-story, 14,592-square-foot warehouse/office building at 655 S. Edmunds St. (a dead end), which dates to 1930. Otherwise, it's pavement.
Chris Freise of San Francisco-based Lift Partners says that MacMillan-Piper will lease back the property for a while.
“In a couple years we'll have a discussion,” says Freise. “Our plans are that it's an infill site with a lot of ways to create value. As a company, we haven't done any ground-up construction but plan to.”
That may change. But for now there's no imminent plan to redevelop the site, which is bounded on the west by the BNSF tracks.
The family-owned MacMillan-Piper also has three other warehouse properties in Seattle and Tacoma, so the 50-year-old firm could consolidate in the future. Or buy a new home.
Lift bought the property through an LLC, and public records indicate a loan from Prime Finance.
Freise says that Andrew Stark of CBRE and John Vernon of NAI Puget Sound Properties brokered the deal, which was worth about $58 per square foot for the land.
Three-year-old Lift has had other investments in the Northwest, including the historic Boeing Plant 1 building, at 200 S.W. Michigan St. With partners, it bought that Georgetown office-warehouse building in 2015 for $5.5 million and sold it last year for $14.6 million. With the same partners, Lift acquired a Tacoma industrial property at 1815 East D St. in 2016 for a little over $4.5 million, then sold it this summer for just over $7 million.
Lift announced a new $50 million investment fund in August that “concentrates primarily on value-add, infill opportunities and opportunistic development along the West Coast.”
The company says it has done deals worth $230 million in investment, $50 million in construction and totaling 1.2 million square feet. The size of its current portfolio isn't listed.
Freise says the firm focuses on adaptive reuse and repositioning of commercial, industrial and flex-office properties.
His partner Mike Murray led the effort to secure the Airport Way property, and Lift is looking to acquire more in this area.