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December 12, 2013

Survey: Wright Runstad and Co.

Specialty: Developing, acquiring, managing and leasing commercial office buildings, primarily in the Northwest

Management: H. Jon Runstad, chairman and CEO; Gregory Johnson, president; Walter Ingram, executive vice president and CFO; Cindy Edens, senior vice president/director of development; Susan Murphy, vice president/director of leasing; Mary Richards, vice president/controller; Lisa Bergeron, vice-president/controller; Jeff Myrter, general manager/director of property management

Founded: 1972

Headquarters: Seattle

Projects: 36-acre Spring District mixed-use development, Bellevue; several others in the planning stages

Image by Studio 216 [enlarge]
Work is starting on Wright Runstad and Co.’s 36-acre Spring District office and apartment development in Bellevue.

President Greg Johnson responded to questions about his firm’s activities, and shared his thoughts about the year ahead.

Q. How are you feeling about the demand for office space on the Eastside as you begin work on the Spring District?

A. We’re very optimistic. The Eastside market, and Bellevue in particular, has seen falling vacancies as companies grow. All companies, and tech firms in particular, are hungry for urban environments that will help them attract and retain talent, and the Spring District is being planned with them in mind.

I should also add that in the multifamily sector, vacancies have also fallen and the market is experiencing solid rent growth. The first residential project at the Spring District is going to hit the market just right.

Q. Wright Runstad was one of four firms in the running to redevelop the University of Washington’s downtown Metropolitan Tract. What would you like to see there?

A. Given its location at the heart of the city, I think it should be developed to its fullest potential and designed in a way that really sparks excitement.

Q. Any trends you’re seeing with leasing activity at the properties you manage?

A. We’ve experienced great activity so far this year, most notably at 2601 Elliott with Zulily. I think it’s the largest non-Amazon lease of the year. We see activity picking up everywhere, though.

Q. What are the biggest opportunities you see in the year ahead?

A. I see a lot of opportunity in the downtown Seattle core as we get closer to the viaduct coming down. We are also sensing a lot of energy around the Spring District and the type of project it represents.

Q. Wright Runstad completed a $280 million renovation of Husky Stadium in August. What worked best about it?

A. It’s been very gratifying that the stadium has been so warmly embraced by the players, the coaches, the fans, the athletic department, the university and the community. I’m so proud of our team.

Q. Anything about the stadium you wish could have been done differently?

A. As with any project, there are many little things that could have been done differently, but in the big picture we wouldn’t change a thing.

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