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Seattle / Puget Sound Update

MARKET HIGHLIGHTS Regional Development: Expedia lays out plan for airy, expansive waterfront campus Labor Market: Seattle now part of Obama tech job-training Retail Market: Expanded UberEATS app launches in Seattle with free delivery to start Travel Market: Capitol Hill, UW light-rail stations open to big crowds Economy: Washington leaps ahead in patents granted Real Estate Market: Scarce listings drive King County home prices to new highs

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT Expedia lays out plan for airy, expansive waterfront campus Expedia expects to transform the stout, brick-clad former lab buildings on its waterfront Seattle campus into airy, bright offices with floor-to-ceiling glass, with construction work starting this fall. The Bellevue-based travel giant released a first look at its vision for redesigning the 40-acre former Amgen Helix campus it acquired last April. By 2019, when Expedia plans to open its new campus, the company expects to have 4,500 employees working there; it has just over 3,000 now in Bellevue. Source: The Seattle Times, March 9, 2016

More luxury apartments coming to Bellevue's Spring District The Spring District is about to get even more fancy apartments. AMLI Residential, a Chicago-based developer of high-end rental dwellings, recently paid $13.3 million for the site at the southwest corner of the Spring District, according to a deed recorded with King County. Located in a former warehouse area east of downtown Bellevue, the mixed-use Spring District development, when completed, will have 5.3 million square feet of retail, residential and office space, along with a light rail stop. Source: Puget Sound Business Journal, February 26, 2016

Ground breaks on a new Seattle Humane Society facility In late February, the Seattle Humane Society (SHS) held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new $30 million facility. Volunteers and donors celebrated what is to become a 54,000-square-foot veterinary shelter and teaching hospital, occupying three stories near the Eastgate Park and Ride in Bellevue. Expected to open in the summer of 2017, the new facility will replace what SHS Board Chair Chris Falco referred to as "a smoldering pile of dog poop," his lighthearted term for the existing building. Source: Puget Sound Business Journal, February 29, 2016

BEST IN THE WEST Seattle top 5 for super-rich millennials You're not imagining it. The Emerald City ranks in the top five among American cities with high concentrations of rich millennials, according to a Zillow analysis. Arlington, Va., (near Washington, D.C.) had the greatest concentration. Source: The Seattle Times, March 17, 2016

Former Weyerhaeuser property sold for approximately $5 million After 18 years, the Port of Everett has finally sold off a large property initially acquired as an investment. The 17-some-acre tract, formerly owned by Weyerhaeuser, was purchased by KiernanWest Development Co. The California developer plans to erect a light industrial building on the land. The real estate deal is expected to close around March of 2017. Source: Puget Sound Business Journal, March 11, 2016

Sheraton Bellevue property sold for $43 million Adjacency to a future light rail station likely raised the value of a highly-visible hotel property Bellevue, which occupies nearly five acres at at 100 112th Ave. N.E. In March, Eastside real estate company PMF Investments staked their claim, purchasing the six-story Sheraton Bellevue hotel for a whopping $42.7 million. While it has been speculated that its proximity to light rail may have driven up the selling price, PMF President Brian Franklin could not be reached to confirm. Source: Puget Sound Business Journal, March 16, 2016

Mamma mia! Buca di Beppo site sells for $35 million With an eye toward expanding the brain and cellular research center launched by local billionaire Paul Allen, Vulcan paid an astounding sum for the property kitty-corner from the center, which operated until recently as Italian chain restaurant Buca di Beppo. What's even more astounding: the sellers purchased the South Lake Union property for $10.5 million a mere 13 months ago. Source: Puget Sound Business Journal, March 20, 2016

Boeing supplier puts shiny new plant in Everett While aircraft-interiors supplier B/E Aerospace has shrunk its presence at some locations in the U.S. and overseas, it's doubling down in Washington state to support Boeing's planned production ramp-up. Over the Christmas holiday, a group of more than 300 employees moved from an older plant in Marysville into a new $35 million building in Everett. Says B/E executive Trevor Skelly, "We want to be in close support of Boeing." Source: The Seattle Times, March 30, 2016


Seattle now part of Obama tech job-training The city of Seattle is the latest member of President Obama's TechHire program, a push to get more people working in tech jobs through college and nontraditional training programs. Obama announced the program in 2015 with 20 communities. The cities work with universities, coding boot camps and other educational programs to train people for the many tech jobs available. Seattle will focus on placing women and people of color in technology jobs, the city said in a press release from the mayor's office. Source: The Seattle Times, March 9, 2016

State's jobless rate holds steady, as local unemployment edges up Washington continued adding new jobs in January, while the percentage of people looking for work held steady. The unemployment rate for the first month of the year was 5.8 percent, the same as it was in January 2015 and in December 2015. Unemployment in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area reached 5.1 percent in January, up slightly from 5 percent in December. National unemployment came in at 4.9 percent in January. Paul Turek, the state's lead labor economist, called growth of 12,800 new jobs from December to January "solid." Source: The Seattle Times, March 9, 2016

Boeing engineers' contract protects some from layoffs On February 17, a six-year contract extension was approved by Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA). The contract, which affects Boeing engineers and technical workers, reduces the chances that Boeing will eliminate SPEEA jobs in its planned layoffs, which will affect at least 4,000 jobs. Source: Puget Sound Business Journal, March 30, 2016


Expanded UberEATS app launches in Seattle with free delivery to start Uber is looking to take a bigger bite out of the Seattle restaurant-food delivery market with a new stand-alone version of its UberEATS app. Formerly offering only lunch delivery of specific items from five restaurants per weekday in a limited area, UberEATS now also brings 80-plus restaurants' full menus to Seattle's homes and desks. Participating restaurants include Skillet, Marination, Super Six Chop Shop and Bounty Kitchen. While the delivery fee has not yet been determined, general manager David Rutenberg anticipates it will be around $4.99 per delivery. Source: The Seattle Times, March 22, 2016

Molly Moon's plans "lucky No. 7" store in Redmond The local ice cream shop, known for its homemade treats, plans to open its seventh store on April 8. The location: an historic old bank building on Cleveland Avenue in Redmond. "We've been hearing from customers for years that they want a Molly Moon's on the east side of the lake," she says, "and this is the perfect location." Molly Moon's plans to share space with a Homegrown Sustainable Sandwich Shop, another Northwest favorite. Source: Puget Sound Business Journal, March 17, 2016

The sandwich war continues: Un Bien to open in old Ballard Paseo location Un Bien, famous for its Caribbean roast-pork sandwich, will open a branch near Golden Gardens "by late spring to early summer," its manager said. The locale, 6226 Seaview Ave. N.W., in Ballard, will be familiar to those who have followed the Paseo vs. Un Bien saga. The tropical-pink shack once housed a Paseo sandwich stand. In November 2014, Paseo shut down and a day later, declared bankruptcy. Two months later, Paseo was revived by entrepreneur Ryan Santwire, who recreated Paseo's signature Caribbean roast-pork sandwich. Source: The Seattle Times, March 9, 2016


Seattle to buy, expand failing Pronto bike-share program In March, the Seattle City Council voted 7-2 to buy the underperforming Pronto bike-share program to keep it from shutting down. Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Tim Burgess opposed the move after the rest of the council rejected their idea to pursue a new public-private partnership for bike share rather than keeping Pronto alive. They called the takeover a risky investment. Pronto launched in October 2014 under nonprofit ownership. Source: The Seattle Times, March 14, 2016

Capitol Hill, UW light-rail stations open to big crowds Light-rail stations are now open on Capitol Hill and at the University of Washington, marking a new era in transit for the congested Seattle area. On opening weekend, there were free rides for the day anywhere on the Link system, and Sound Transit held celebrations beside both new stations as eager straphangers got their first look. "This is great," Michael Henzler, 63, said outside the Capitol Hill stop in the neighborhood he's called home for years. "I watched them the whole way through — tearing down the old buildings, digging the hole, building the station. They did good." Source: The Seattle Times, March 24, 2016

Roosevelt Hotel renamed "The Theodore" Theodore Roosevelt might be turning in his grave. The 87-year-old downtown hotel formerly known as the Roosevelt is now being rebranded as The Theodore. Provenance Hotels, which bought the property in 2015, plans to upgrade the guest rooms, and may revamp its food and beverage offerings as well. One thing that's not changing: the iconic Roosevelt sign at the top of the building, which may or may not cause confusion for travelers. Source: Puget Sound Business Journal, March 30, 2016

ECONOMY Washington leaps ahead in patents granted According to Compare 50, an interactive site run by a California non-profit, Washington ranked third in the nation in patents granted in 2014, behind California and Massachusetts. Oregon was sixth, Idaho tenth and Mississippi last. Until 2001, Washington closely tracked the national average until it jumped ahead, for a brief time surpassing California. Source: The Seattle Times, March 9, 2016

REAL ESTATE MARKET Scarce listings drive King County home prices to new highs The median price of single-family homes sold in King County hit a new all-time high last February — $514,975 — amid record-low inventory, heralding even more intense bidding wars ahead in the typically busy spring home-buying season. Ominously, the more affordable Snohomish and Pierce counties also face a historically low inventory level. One widely-watched gauge of supply — the ratio of active listings to pending sales — hit its lowest level since at least 2003 in all three counties. King and Snohomish counties each had less than a month's supply, while Pierce had just over a month's supply. Source: The Seattle Times, March 8, 2016

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