SEATTLE-Fisher Communications has agreements in place to sell several buildings here fronting Westlake Avenue, as well as a former milling property in Portland, Ore. and two television stations in Georgia.
The Seattle-based communication and media concern made the announcement this week, but did not reveal the names of the prospective buyers. The company says it plans to use the proceeds to pay down debt and to help fund the completion of Fisher Plaza, its new communications and media hub across from the Space Needle.
The company, through its real estate subsidiary, has entered into a purchase and sale agreement to sell its 1232, 1264, 1500, and 1530 Westlake Avenue N. properties, which total about 50,000 sf of office and retail space. The properties are on the southwest side of Lake Union facing Westlake Avenue North, and include the 1530 office property, the Rock Salt Restaurant and Marina Mart buildings, and the Marina Mart Moorages. The parties have agreed to a September 2002 closing. This transaction is expected to produce an after tax gain of approximately $3.7 million.
“Although we had begun considering the sale of our real estate portfolio in late 2001, market conditions were less than ideal,” says Fisher President and CEO William W. Krippaehne Jr. “Consequently, we are pursuing the sale of individual properties as opportunities arise, and the sale of the Westlake properties is consistent with that approach.”
On July 30, the company says it received notice of a buyer’s intent to proceed with the purchase of land and a building once operated by Fisher’s flour milling subsidiary, which was sold in 2001. No gain or loss is anticipated, since the property is included in the discontinued operations of the milling businesses.
The company also says it has entered into a non-binding letter of intent to sell WFXG-TV in Augusta and WXTX-TV in Columbus. The stations represent Fisher’s only broadcast properties outside Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. The transaction is subject to negotiation of a purchase and sale agreement, completion of due diligence, negotiation and execution of network affiliation agreements, and FCC consent and assignment of the licenses.
Fisher announced its intention to sell real estate assets in November 2001, saying it wanted to focus exclusively on its broadcasting and media business. The first phase of Fisher Plaza, the property it’s retaining, was completed in mid-2000 and currently houses a variety of complementary information technology providers and related ventures, as well as Fisher-owned KOMO TV and media businesses. The second phase, which involves an adjacent 100,000 sf high tech facility, was scheduled for completion this year.