Group Health is exploring options for a possible new headquarters in downtown Seattle when its lease at 521 Wall St. expires in two years...
Group Health is exploring options for a possible new headquarters in downtown Seattle when its lease at 521 Wall St. expires in two years.
Executive Vice President Peter Adler recently sent a note to employees saying the company was considering a new headquarters but that it might stay and renovate its current home, where Group Health has been based since 1987. In either case, the company would remain in Seattle, Adler said.
Group Health is one of several unusually large clients potentially in the market for six-figure blocks of space in downtown Seattle. The health-care cooperative would represent one of the bigger office-space deals of the year, so it’s naturally attracting a lot of interest from builders and brokers.
One developer that would love to have Group Health is Clise Properties, which is marketing a proposed 31-story office-condominium tower at Seventh and Westlake avenues, five blocks from where Group Health is now.
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Group Health, which now occupies about 130,000 square feet of space, would be big enough to anchor the Clise project, planned to include 267,000 square feet of office space topped by 170 luxury condos.
Clise and Group Health representatives declined to comment yesterday.
Retailer Eddie Bauer, which recently emerged from the bankruptcy reorganization of former parent company Spiegel, is considering a move from the Eastside back to the city where it was founded, and may be close to a deal for space overlooking Elliott Bay, agents say. The company declined to comment.
Insurance giant Marsh & McLennan, now renting space in several locations, is looking for a spot to consolidate Seattle operations.
Software developer AttachmateWRQ, product of a merger between Bellevue-based Attachmate and Seattle-based WRQ, recently announced that it had decided to move 200 Bellevue employees to WRQ headquarters on Dexter Avenue in the South Lake Union neighborhood.
The number of potential big deals in downtown Seattle is unusual, said Wende Sauvage, an associate at brokerage Cushman & Wakefield.
“Seattle is not a place where we normally see 150,000- to 250,000-square-foot transactions,” Sauvage said. “They’re pretty rare. It’s pretty exciting.”
But downtown is still a long way from becoming a landlord’s market.
“The funny thing is, it took two pretty large transactions like those to completely turn downtown Bellevue’s vacancy rate around,” she said. “Whereas, there could be four of those running around Seattle, and it doesn’t make a dent” because the office market is so much larger.
Tom Boyer: 206-464-2923 or firstname.lastname@example.org