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SEATTLE-Skanska USA Building Inc. has pre-leased 25,000 sf at 223 Yale, a 383,000-sf office, retail and residential development just west of REI’s flagship retail store. The mixed-use project scheduled to break ground this summer and be ready for occupancy in early 2006.The developers are Vulcan Inc. and Pemco Insurance, both of which are based in Seattle. The project includes 180 residential units and 165,000 sf of office space. With this latest commitment, the office space is now 57.5% preleased. New Jersey-based Skanska, the project’s general contractor, will relocate its 175-person local office to the development from an 18,000-sf building at 900 Poplar Place S. that it developed and occupied in the early 1980s. NBBJ, the project architect, signed on for 70,000 sf last year. NBBJ’s 430 Seattle employees are currently located in two buildings in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, including 111 S. Jackson St.A Vulcan spokesman declined comment on the specifics of either lease, both of which were direct deals that did not include brokers. Garth Olsen, Mike Dash and Scotta Ashcraft with Cushman & Wakefield have the leasing assignment for the remaining office space. CB Richard Ellis has the retail leasing assignment. None of the brokers involved were available for comment regarding the asking lease rate for space in the project. Details of the project itself are also being held close to the vest, though some details have leaked out. According to local sources, the office and residential will be in separate low-rise buildings. The boundaries of the project are John and Thomas streets and Yale and Pontius avenues. The residential units will be located in the former Richmond Laundry facility on the site. The office building will reportedly be five or six stories with ground-floor retail space. The plan is to have 223 Yale be Seattle’s first mixed-use project that is LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). LEED is an industry measurement tool created by the US Green Building Council to define green, environmentally and community-conscious projects. Environmentally speaking, the project will feature increased natural daylight, significant access to fresh air through operable windows, accessible green rooftops, reuse of rainwater, low energy and water fixtures, and the use of environmentally sensitive building materials.Seattle-based Harbor Properties, which navigated the project through the design and permitting phases, last month sold its one-third stake to Vulcan for an undisclosed price, giving Vulcan two-thirds ownership of the project and lead developer status. Harbor Properties president Denny Onslow told GlobeSt.com at that time that the transaction frees up cash for its other projects. Onslow said a major reason why all parties signed off on the deal is that Vulcan has greatly expanded its in-house development services team to 25 real estate professionals in recent months and now has the capability to handle the lead developer role. “I hate to leave a good project, but with our need to diversify and Vulcan’s ability to pick up the slack, it seemed like a good time to do it,” said Onslow. “We’re trading one big project for the ability to do a couple of smaller ones.” The projects are two low- to mid-rise multifamily developments on First Hill and Capitol Hill. Onslow says he has a 75-unit project in its early stages along Pine Street on Capitol Hill, the second phase of the Press Apartments, for which he has started the permitting process. The other project, at 8th Avenue and Marion Street on First Hill, is still in the design stage. It also will be about 75 units. Both properties have existing structures that still have to be demolished. Onslow says he plans to incorporate an affordable component into the projects in order to take advantage of the city’s recent reinstatement of a special tax credit for real estate companies that develop apartments affordable to people making $35,000 to $40,000 a year. Meanwhile, Harbor Properties will remain in partnership with Vulcan on other joint South Lake Union development projects that are further along, including Alcyone, a 200,000-sf residential project located on Thomas Street and Minor Avenue North. The project, which will open in May, includes 162 apartments, ground-floor retail and underground parking. Harbor and Vulcan also partnered on the recently opened Seattle Biomedical Research Institute building located at 307 Westlake Avenue.As well as developing, Harbor Properties currently owns and manages several downtown real estate properties including Harbor Steps, Press Apartments, Site 17, and the Logan and 1411 office buildings, among others. All told, the company manages 300,000 sf of office, about 1,300 apartments and about 130,000 sf of retail within the Seattle city limits.

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