An Amazon-occupied office block sold Tuesday for $740 million to a Spanish billionaire in one of the largest commercial-property sales in Seattle history.
Seattle-based developer Touchstone bought the 2.5-acre former Troy Laundry building from The Seattle Times for $18.4 million in 2011. Touchstone, with financing help from USAA Real Estate of San Antonio, then built two L-shaped office buildings on the block totaling 800,000 square feet between Boren and Fairview avenues, and between Thomas and Harrison streets.
Critically, Touchstone got Amazon to lease the entire office portion of the project, which opened in 2016 and 2017. Ground-floor retail includes an Amazon Go store, FareStart’s Maslow’s restaurant and Cascade Coffee Works.
The buyer of the buildings is Miami-based Ponte Gadea, a real estate investment firm led by Spanish billionaire Amancio Ortega. The fashion mogul, whose company is parent to Zara and other retail brands, is worth $67 billion, making him the fifth-richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg. Ponte Gadea has been buying big properties around the United States for several years.
The block had been assessed by the county at $550 million.
The last commercial real estate deal of this size came in 2015, when the Columbia Center sold for $711 million, though that was a single building. It’s less than the $1.15 billion deal Amazon itself made in 2012 to buy several other South Lake Union buildings it occupies.
News of the sale was first reported by Puget Sound Business Journal.
Amazon occupies roughly 12 million square feet of office in Seattle – about half owned, and half leased – and the Troy Block complex, known internally as the Houdini North and Houdini South buildings, is among its largest.