BELLEVUE, WA-Hines and Washington Capital Management have tapped Buchanan Street Partners to arrange $110 million in construction financing for Tower 333, a 465,244-sf 20-story Downtown office development that will fill a five-year-old hole in the ground. Buchanan Street EVP Tim Hawthorne tells it expects to secure speculative financing, which is to say there will be no pre-leasing hurdle to clear before the loan is funded.

A pre-leasing requirement is typical, but given the tight Bellevue market and a development team that could develop the building without any financing, arranging the loan shouldn’t be difficult. “For the right deal with the right sponsorship and the right capital structure, the banking community is more than willing to make construction loans into a good market on a speculative basis,” Hawthorne says. “We’re seeking both floating and fixed rate construction financing options and expect a very favorable response.”

Washington Capital Management is a Seattle-based employee-owned investment advisory firm that invests pension fund monies in union-built developments. It acquired the Tower 333 development site at a foreclosure auction in a 2002. Hines is an international developer whose most recent Puget Sound projects include the 40-story, 845,000-sf IDX Tower at Fourth & Madison in Downtown Seattle, completed in 2002, and the five-story, 100,000-sf Evergreen Plaza in Kirkland that was completed in 2003.

Having acquired the development already excavated and built back up with three levels of parking, Tower 333 is set to come out of the ground several months ahead of three other Downtown office developments, all being built in response to a market that in the past 24 months has seen vacancy fall from more than 20% to the mid single digits. The first office project to get out of the ground in response to the demand–Kemper Development’s 540,000-sf Lincoln Tower–is fully leased 12 months prior to completion to Eddie Bauer and Microsoft.

The Tower 333 development site is on the southwest corner of the intersection of 108th Avenue NE and NE 4th Street in Downtown Bellevue. Below-grade construction work was scheduled to recommence this month, with above-grade work to begin in August, he says. The project was designed by LMN Architects. LCL is the general contractor.

The tower will be clad in transparent glass to maximize views. Tenant spaces will have full-height windows and 10-foot ceilings. Floor plates will be 23,000 sf. A half-acre outdoor plaza is planned for the project, as well as eight levels of below-grade parking that will allow a ratio of 2 space per 1,000 sf of leased space.

Leasing competition for Tower 333 includes City Center Plaza, a 550,000-sf development for which Equity Office Properties is scheduled to break ground in July and complete in mid-2008; Bentall’s third Summit Building, a 550,000 sf project across the street from Tower 333 that also is scheduled for a mid-2008 completion; and Schnitzer Northwest’s Bravern Building, the largest of the group at 745,000 sf, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2008.

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