The Seattle office tower known as “The box the Space Needle came in” has sold for $387 million in the biggest local real estate deal in nearly a year.
Two real estate fund management groups, Germany-based GLL Real Estate Partners and South Korea-based Vestas Investment Management, this week closed the deal on behalf of Korean investors to buy Safeco Plaza at 1001 Fourth Ave. The listed seller on the transaction, which has been rumored for weeks, is Commonwealth Partners, a real estate firm based in Los Angeles.
It’s more than double the $162.8 million price tag for the building when it last sold in 2005. And it’s the largest property sale in King County since Columbia Center sold for $711 million in August. This decade, only five King County buildings have sold for more than the Safeco Plaza purchase price — but because of the age of the building, the price per square foot isn’t particularly impressive.
The black 50-story Safeco Plaza opened in 1969 for Seafirst Bank and at the time was the tallest building in the city. It got its nickname because it was slightly bigger than the Space Needle, completed earlier that decade. Now, Safeco Insurance is its largest tenant.
A spokesperson for the buyers said it’s unlikely there will be any changes to the building as a result of the sale, as it’s mostly leased and was recently renovated.