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SEATTLE, WA-Pioneer Square, Seattle’s first residential district, is benefiting from the city’s need for more office space. Many of the buildings now standing were constructed more than 100 years ago, but it has only been in the last few years that developers have viewed the area as a new hot spot for office space.

One of the first developers to begin transforming historic buildings into modern offices was Nitze-Stagen. In 1997, the Seattle property management firm renovated the Merrill Building at 411 First Ave. S. Since, its rents have jumped from near $17/sf to the mid-$30s. Now things are picking up. Seattle developer Martin Smith Real Estate is participating significantly in projects anticipated to add approximately 1.5 million sf of office space into Pioneer Square over the next few years. Most recently, the Seattle developer retrofitted the 90-year-old Provident Building at 568 First Ave. S. for office space, which will be occupied by Acadio.com when tenant improvements are completed this month.

Another upcoming renovation is the Washington Shoe Building built in 1890 at the corner of First Ave. South and South Jackson St. When upgrades are complete, including fiber optics, elevators, new heating and air conditioning, the refurbished building will contain 63,000 sf of Class A office space, ground-level retail stores and underground parking.

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