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SEATTLE-Schnitzer Northwest is preparing to develop 660,000 sf of office space in two towers that would sit on opposite corners of the Downtown block here bound by 8th and 9th avenues and Virginia and Stewart streets. The Bellevue-based division of Portland, OR-based Schnitzer Investment Corp. has submitted for development permits and tapped CB Richard Ellis brokers Tim O’Keefe, Jesse Ottele and Chris Koehler to source the early tenant commitments necessary to break ground on the first tower by next summer.The development sites are at the north end of Downtown, near the new Federal Courthouse. On the same block as the office towers, Claudio Guincher’s Continental Properties has broken ground for Manhattan West Condominiums, a 33-story, 250-unit project that includes is underway on the southwest corner of 9th Avenue and Virginia Street.Schnitzer Northwest’s office project is currently planned as twin 330,000-sf towers, but Ottele tells GlobeSt.com that the first tower could shrink and the second tower could grow if it helps get the project under way. The buildings are being designed to incorporate Guincher’s project such that the block has a campus feel. “It depends on tenant demand,” he says.Speaking of which, Ottele says he’s been in conversation with a number of tenants with large requirements that are anywhere from two years to four years out. “Whether they are willing to go to a new building or are just working everyone over to renew, who knows,” he says. By being willing to go to a new building, Ottele means willing to pay top-of-the-market rates. Given the rising cost of land and construction, the full service lease rate on a new building would need to be in the mid $30s per sf per year. “People looking for a deal aren’t people we’re targeting,” Ottele says. “We’re targeting the people who are looking for a more headquarters-type location in a new building, campus-like environment.”

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