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RENTON, WA-Scott Alan, a Kent Valley industrial specialist with the Seattle office of Colliers International, says it is no surprise that Webvan is going out of business, or that its hundreds of thousands of sf of space is coming back into the market.

“The only surprise is that it (the bankruptcy) happened so quickly,” says Alan. “The market has believed for at least the last six months that the space would be coming back, and Webvan has been advertising it for a good three months.”

The Foster City, CA-based company’s last-active warehouse/distribution facility is approximately 312,000 sf in Building 2 of the Park 405 complex in Renton—200,000 sf of which has been marketed at an asking rate of $0.35 per sf for the shell.

Alan remarks that Webvan’s protection under tChapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code, has property owners not asking just, “What will I do with that space?” but more importantly, “What now? What’s it going to take to get these guys out?” Having utilized it for the distribution of groceries, Webvan’s spaces in the Kent Valley have been fitted with lots of refrigeration and other specialty equipment that is currently loaded with plenty of perishable items.

Alan surmises that much of that equipment will have to go back to the original sellers or to the auction block before it can be removed—putting landlords in the precarious position of having non-income-producing assets and a morass of red tape in the way of replacement leases.

Colliers’ Seattle research department posts the present vacancy rate of the Kent Valley’s 74 million sf of industrial space at 7.86%–with direct-lease space at 3.8 million, and the balance attributed to subleases. A research analyst at Colliers estimates average asking rates here are in the range of $0.34 to $0.35/sf for shell.

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