KIRKLAND, WA-Google is expanding in the Seattle area. The ubiquitous search engine company from Mountain View, CA, confirmed this morning for that it has preleased a 195,000-sf, three building campus here that is under construction near existing Google facilities. Located a few blocks from both the city’s Downtown core and its existing offices, Lakeview Plaza is expected to be ready for occupancy next summer.

The developer is SRM Development of Spokane, WA; Paul Sweeney and Jeff Watson of the Broderick Group had the listing assignment. The negotiated lease rate for Google’s “long-term” lease was not released by the parties involved. Prior to the deal, the asking net rental rate for the complex was $28.85 per sf per year, with operating expenses estimated at $8.25 per sf per year, putting the annual full-service asking rate at $37.10, according to Broderick Group.

The buildings are located at 747-787 Sixth St. S., which abuts a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad that runs between I-405 and Lake Washington. The concrete and steel buildings will give workers views of Lake Washington and the Olympic Mountains. Other campus amenities include exterior decks, plaza areas, water features and convenient access to both Interstate 405 and State Route 520. The largest of the three buildings is 68,892 sf; the other two buildings are each approximately 63,000 sf.

The lease comes on the heels of other large prelease commitments on the east side of Lake Washington by the region’s 800-pound gorillas as well as additional large leases by Google in the Bay Area. In June, Expedia Inc. signed a 10-year lease for 84% of Tower 333, a 414,000-sf, 20-story office building under construction next door to Kirkland in Downtown Bellevue. The online travel company will relocate its headquarters to the building from Sunset Corporate Campus along Interstate 90 in November 2008, approximately one year after the building is expected to be ready for tenant improvements. Expedia’s annual net rent will start at $25.85 per sf and end at $35.85, according to an SEC filing. Operating expenses will add about $10 per sf.

In April, Microsoft Corp. inked long-term leases for the entirety of two under-construction office developments in Bellevue totaling 1.3 million sf. Headquartered in the neighboring Redmond, the public software company leased the 740,000-sf Bravern Office Commons next to Meydenbauer Center in Downtown Bellevue and the 600,000-sf Advanta Office Commons adjacent to Interstate 90 in southeast Bellevue. The asking full-service rental rate for the Advanta development was approximately $35 per sf per year and the same for the Bravern was about $40 per sf.

In the Bay Area last month, Google leased Agilent’s former headquarters, a 224,000-sf building on Page Mill Road in Palo Alto, CA. In January, Google subleased 210,000 sf at 345 Spear St. in Downtown San Francisco’s South of Market area from Gap Inc.

SRM Development acquired the site for Lakeview Plaza in May 2005 after another development company that had tied up the site was unable to obtain a rezone to residential and sold its option to SRM. SRM says it closed on the former US Navy warehouse property in eight days.

As the office market improved and the supply of large office spaces declined, SRM engaged Lance Mueller Architects of Seattle to design an office project that would maximize the large, urban setting and views of Lake Washington, achieve a LEED certification and have oversized mechanical and IT systems to accommodate large, high tech users such as Google. “Our market analysis showed a dwindling amount of high quality, large floor plate space for high tech users in the urban cores and we believed that the market would absorb a quality office campus development in Kirkland,” says Andy Loos, Puget Sound development manager for SRM.

The project is being constructed by W.G. Clark Construction Company of Seattle. Acquisition financing was provided by Commerce Bank and construction financing is being provided by Key Bank.

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