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Gentlemen (and ladies) start your engines!

From todays DJC.

January 30, 2013

Triad says south downtown market coming back, and so is Civic Square

Journal Staff Reporter

Construction is going to start on one prime downtown site — Fifth and Columbia — and another may not be far behind.

Daniels Real Estate just announced plans to begin the Fifth and Columbia tower this year, but what about Civic Square just a few blocks south?

The block bounded by Cherry, James, Third and Fourth is the site for project, a $350 million public-private development by Triad Development, an affiliate of Triad Capital Partners, and the city. Triad had planned a 1.1 million-square-foot, 42-story tower with office space, up to 138 housing units and a 37,000-square-foot public plaza.

But like many projects conceived in the mid 2000s, Civic Square was a victim of the downturn.

Brett Allen, senior vice president at Triad, said his company has hired the real estate services firm CBRE to look for equity partners, tenants or companies that want to buy or build a headquarters, as did across town.

Allen said this week that he hopes to make an announcement about the site by the second quarter.

“There's too much momentum down here for it not to happen,” he said.

Triad assembled an international team for the project. London architect Foster+Partners, which has designed airports in the United Kingdom and yacht clubs in Monaco, designed the project with Seattle-based GGLO. Atelier Dreiseitl is designing the public plaza and Arup is the engineer. Skanska USA has been doing predevelopment work.

Triad has a master use permit for the site, and Allen said the office portion could be completed in 20 months. Tenants could start moving in while Triad finishes the housing, which will be on the top 17 floors. He said if a tenant needs the space by 2015, his company could pull that off.

Civic Square is the last piece of the city's 1999 civic center master plan, which was the impetus for the construction of City Hall and the Justice Center, and the remodel of Seattle Municipal Tower. Triad was selected to develop the site after a request for proposals in 2006.

The city will transfer the land, which formerly housed the Public Safety Building, to Triad. The public plaza will be owned by the city.

“The city doesn't expect to make a lot of money out of the deal, but we expect to create this public space that connects to City Hall,” said Chris Potter, director of facility operations for the city's Department of Finance and Administrative Services.

Allen said Triad agreed to spend no less than $25 million on the plaza, and the amount increases annually based on the consumer price index. Triad will also pay the annual operations and maintenance costs. Allen estimates the value of the deal between $40 million and $50 million.

Civic Square's plaza will be one of the focal points, with restaurants, shops and gathering areas. There will be space for concerts, speeches or even a victory party.

“We always envisioned if the Seahawks won the Superbowl or the Mariners won the World Series or the Sounders won the MLS Cup there would be a big celebration there,” said Sean Canady, principal at GGLO.

Canady said the plaza will have a water wall connected to water features in the Justice Center and Seattle City Hall.

When finished, Civic Square will be part of a stair-step look on the skyline from the city's tallest building — Columbia Center — to the waterfront.

The office space will be designed for a variety of tenants. Floorplates average about 20,000 square feet and can have offices around the perimeter or the open floor plan that tech companies like. Columns were arranged for more flexibility in layout.

The underground garage will have 601 spaces, bike storage and showers for commuters.

Allen said he wants Civic Square to be part of south downtown's revival. For the last few years, the area has been overlooked as neighborhoods like South Lake Union and downtown Bellevue exploded. But he said developers and investors, both local and national, are looking for the next hot spot.

The neighborhood is a public transit hub and many tech companies are moving into nearby Pioneer Square.

Allen said Vulcan Real Estate's recent moves are a sign of things to come, calling it a “seller in South Lake Union and a buyer in south downtown.”

Vulcan's team was recently chosen as master development partner for Yesler Terrace. The 30-acre site could get as many as 5,000 housing units and more than 900,000 square feet of office space.

Add in a possible third stadium and construction on the North Lot of Century Link Field, and south downtown could be the next big thing, Allen said. He predicts over the next 10 years, there will be five or six new towers south of Seneca Street.

“While South Lake Union is the hot investment market, south downtown is the future,” Allen said.

Kevin Daniels, president of Daniels Real Estate, said his decision to go ahead was more about overall job growth here, not just the strength of south downtown. He said he doesn't expect as much growth as Allen does, but he says the neighborhood needs new space. Daniels said most downtown tenants don't want to leave the area, and there is only so much room in South Lake Union. When those tenants come looking, he wants to be ready.

Daniels thinks he will hit the market first, and have a higher quality building than his competitors.

“It's about how and when you hit the market that determines whether you do well,” he said.

Allen said Triad too will have a jump on its older competitors with new space.

But before work can begin, Triad has to find the money. As it was going through the permitting process, Triad flirted with a number of investors, including AIG and Lehman Brothers. Triad had several opportunities to secure funding for the project, but wanted to get through the process first. Then the economy collapsed as the team was completing design review, and the plans have sat on the shelf ever since.

Because of the project's scale and the partnership with the city, Allen said Triad wants to make sure it finds the right financial partner before starting work.

Back on!

8,025 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Yes absolutely. And with 5th and Columbia going in on the other side of our tallest, the Central Business District is alive and well!

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
55,632 Posts
[URL="']Tweak In Civic Square Tower Deal May Help It Happen[/URL]

Six years ago, Triad Development teased Seattle with plans for a massive project on the block along Fourth and James called Civic Square. At the time, the city gave them until the end of this year to close the purchase on the land or pay $1M in extension fees. Instead, Triad has agreed to provide $1M promissory notes that hold its principals responsible.

The amended deal allows Triad to free up that money for development for what is now going to be a 42-story office and residential tower that includes a plaza with water fountain features. Triad says they've already invested $15M into the project, whose construction continues to sit in the TBD file.


Organischer Chemiker!
387 Posts
Civic Square to start next year

The long-awaited Civic Square project is set to begin construction next year.

Brett Allen, senior vice president of the project developer Triad Capital Partners said construction would begin sometime next year. He couldn't say when exactly because the 43-story project is still going through review with the city.

Allen said Triad has financing lined up for the project on the full block bounded by Third and Fourth avenues and James and Cherry streets.

The only things holding back the start of construction are permitting and additional documentation related to a purchase and sale agreement with the city for the site. Triad is also working with King County Metro Transit on a new entrance to the transit station under the Civic Square property.

Allen said Triad would begin construction even if it hasn't preleased space to an office tenant.

The building will have about 600,000 square feet of office space, approximately 200,000 square feet of residential units and 40,000 square feet of retail space. Allen said the current plan is for the residences to be condos.

The DJC previously reported that Triad applied for a shoring and excavation permit in April, and a construction permit in June. Permitting work for the site was active throughout the summer.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
55,632 Posts
City gives Triad 60 days to find new developer for beleaguered Civic Square project

Dec 30, 2015, 5:18pm PST

Marc Stiles
Puget Sound Business Journal

Triad Capital Partners' involvement in the scandal-plagued Civic Square skyscraper project in downtown Seattle will indeed end, but not when the calendar turns over to 2016.

A spokeswoman for the city's Department of Finance and Administrative Services on Wednesday said that, at the direction of Mayor Ed Murray, FAS is working to develop "a path forward" without Triad's involvement.
Seattle City Hall looms over the Civic Square site behind colorful wall. Bogged down by a political scandal the project developer, Triad Capital Partners of Seattle, agreement to develop the full block ends Thursday. But now the company has 60 days to find a developer to take over its interest in the 43-story office/condo project.

"FAS has agreed to engage in discussions for up to 60 more days to reach an agreement where Triad would assign its rights in this project to a new partner," FAS spokeswoman Cyndi Wilder said. She added the new partner is yet to be determined and would be subject to the city’s approval.

Triad has been working for eight years to develop the 43-story office/condo project on a city-owned block between Third and Fourth avenues and James and Cherry streets. The site is currently a hole in the ground, though walled off so the blight is less noticeable.
Civic Square has been mired in controversy since this fall when a Triad executive approached City Council candidate Jon Grant regarding a lawsuit that an affiliate of Grant's former employer, the Tenants Union of Washington State, had filed against the project.
Several weeks before the election the Triad executive, Brett Allen, told Grant that a political committee was going to spend money to defeat Grant, who was trying to unseat incumbent Tim Burgess. More about that is here.
Grant subsequently lost to Burgess, and Murray announced he had no desire to redevelop the block with Triad because he was "troubled" by Allen's actions. Triad officials said they had not authorized Allen to approach Grant, and they fired Allen.
Last week, the city awarded Triad a permit to do the excavation and shoring work for the tower. This signaled there was a chance for Triad to continue as developer, though the company still has some big boxes to check off by the end of 2015 in order to keep the deal alive. One of the biggest is finalizing the deal to buy the block from the city.
That apparently is not going to happen, though now it appears that Triad will be able to get out of the project without losing everything. Rather, the company could sell off its rights to develop the site to another company.

Triad has spent considerable time and money on Civic Square. Two years ago, Allen said Triad had invested $15 million on the design of the project. The company hired Pritzker Prize laureate Norman Foster, who leads international architecture company Foster + Partners for Civic Square. Under Foster's plan, the project would have a plaza with water features around the high-rise.

Triad President Fred Grimm was not available to comment Wednesday.

Marc Stiles covers real estate for the Puget Sound Business Journal.

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