The historic Fourth and Pike Building in downtown Seattle has been bought by a California real-estate firm that plans to spend $6 million...
The historic Fourth and Pike Building in downtown Seattle has been bought by a California real-estate firm that plans to spend $6 million on a major overhaul of the interior.
“It’s a good building, but it needs to be upgraded,” John Klimp, president of Mayfield Cos. of Palo Alto, Calif., said of the 1926 office building. “In some places it still looks like Humphrey Bogart lives there.”
Mayfield paid $25.15 million for the 10-story building. The purchase closed Monday.
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“We plan to make it a nice, quality office building for professional tenants,” Klimp said.
But that almost certainly means higher rents in a building that now is relatively affordable by city-center standards. Some tenants say the remodel may force them to relocate outside of downtown.
“People are feeling a little insecure,” said Tina Baker, who makes, repairs and sells jewelry from a 224-square-foot space on the building’s seventh floor.
Many of the Fourth and Pike Building’s small offices are leased by jewelry-related businesses. Along with the Joshua Green Building across Fourth Avenue, which also is being renovated, it is the center of Seattle’s “Diamond District.”
“We give each other work,” Baker said.
If higher rents drive too many others out of the buildings by the time her lease expires in 18 months, she said, it may not be worth it for her to stay.
The Fourth and Pike Building, at 1424 Fourth Ave., is Mayfield’s first in the Seattle area. The firm also owns office and apartment buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland.
The Gothic Revival building has been designated by the city as a historic landmark, but only the exterior and lobby are protected. Klimp said they will be largely left alone.
He said improvements his company plans include air conditioning, a sprinkler system and new doors on all the offices. Smaller spaces will be combined to create larger offices.
Work began two or three months ago in offices that were vacant, Klimp said. It should take about two years to finish upgrading the entire building, and it will remain occupied throughout the project.
The building is a Class C office property now, Klimp said, but when the upgrade is completed it should be “high Class B.”
Those definitions can be fuzzy. But Kip Spencer, co-founder of the commercial real-estate database Officespace.com, said the century-old Joshua Green Building’s asking lease rates have jumped from $20 or $22 a square foot to more than $35 since its overhaul was announced.
The Fourth and Pike Building could see similar increases, Spencer said: “That building, in terms of location, has a tremendous amount of upside if it repositions to a higher class than it is now.”
“High Class B probably pushes us out,” said David Mann of the law firm Gendler & Mann, which leases space on the 10th floor.
The firm and its predecessors have leased space in the building for 30 years, Mann said, but it specializes in land-use and environmental litigation, usually representing nonprofit groups, and can’t afford a big rent increase.
Gendler & Mann’s lease expires in 20 months, Mann said.
“I like to be downtown, but I don’t need to be downtown.”
Ben Bridge Jewelers’ “mother store” occupies much of building’s ground floor. Jon Bridge, the company’s co-CEO and general counsel, said it plans to stay. It has leased space there since about 1928.
“They want us, and we want them,” Bridge said of Mayfield. “We’re very excited about the changes.”
Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or email@example.com