SEATTLE, WA-October saw Martin Selig moving to sell-off three million square feet of Seattle offices. In November, Fisher Communications Inc. announced it intends to unload five office and four industrial properties anticipated to fetch $150 million. Now, in the height of the holiday-shopping season, Germany-based Rosche Finanz is opting out of Meridian West, a retail block in the heart of downtown.

The 165,768-sf complex on a 25,606-sf site takes up much of the block bounded by Pike and Pine Streets at the 1500 blocks of Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It sports such name-brand tenants as Nike Town and GameWorks.

According to documents provided by the Bellevue office of First American Title, Rosche Meridian paid $78 million in February 1977 for the new complex constructed by developer Told Development of Minnesota.

GlobeSt was unable to reach a Rosche Finanz spokesperson or the listing broker for comment on the decision to sell. Other news reports say Ted Gibbons of Investment Realty Advisors Inc. has been selected to act on behalf of the seller.

Andy Robinson, MAI and principal with Seattle-based Terra Property Analytics, appraised the property on behalf of Roche Meridian’s lender. (According to public records, Rosche Meridian executed a deed of trust on the property, securing a $47.5 million promissory note in favor of Common Retirement Fund.)

Robinson, restrained from discussing the 1997 transaction, tells GlobeSt he wouldn’t want to speculate on the reason for the sale or what the property might fetch in today’s economy. Of the downtown retail market, he says, “It’s stable, but seeing the same type of turnover in [weaker] stores that are occurring nationally.”

For the most recent data on Seattle’s retail market, Robinson refers to CB Richard Ellis’ 2001 mid-year report, (available at which says, “In the first half of 2001, the Downtown Seattle market witnessed the smallest [vacancy] increase, rising .16 of a percent to 1.70.”

At the moment, the only available space in the Meridian is the 17,500-sf vacated the now-defunct Planet Hollywood earlier this year. Since opening, Meridian’s high-profile restaurants have had a tough time. In 1999 Wolfgang Puck’s ObaChine was shuttered, but that space was re-tenanted last year. Robinson says, “There is even more pressure on restaurants than other retailers because of the declining numbers of office workers.”

Maria Royer with Blatteis Realty, leasing agent for the Planet Hollywood space, says there has been some interest, but no tenant has signed. As for an asking rate, Royer tells GlobeSt, “It depends on whether the tenant wants TIs—and other factors—so we aren’t discussing specific prices.”

Neither Rosche Finanz nor its broker has announced an asking price for Meridian West. GlobeSt sources, however, speculate that under the current economic conditions plaguing retailers, the seller would be fortunate to recoup what it paid.

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