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November 16, 2018

Local investor group pays $19M for University Book Store site in Bellevue

Journal Staff Reporter

A local investor group has bought the Bellevue University Book Store property, at 990 102nd Ave. N.E., for $19.3 million, according to King County records.

The buyer was 47 North Properties LLC, a new entity led by Matt Herron of 47 North Development. Public records don't show any loans for the buyer.

Herron says redevelopment could be phased and even decades away. There are long leases on the property, he says.

Public records indicate that the buyer is a partnership with the Pong family's Puget Sound Hospitality Group, which is based in Bellevue. A separate Pong LLC already owns the property next door to the east.

The corner University Book Store property totals 36,028 square feet. It has high-rise zoning. No new plans have been filed for the site.

The property wasn't publicly listed for sale. The transaction was worth about $535 per square foot for the land.

Herron is also a broker with Cannon Commercial, which told Puget Sound Business Journal that its Chris Giles and Gloria Touch brokered the deal.

University Book Store acquired the property in 1988 for a little over $5.7 million. It closed that store in January of 2017. The 34-year-old building has 33,542 rentable square feet, according to the county. Zeek's Pizza is one remaining tenant. Others appear to include hair salons, a pilates studio, a clothing boutique and Kiddie Academy of Bellevue.

The property is on the northwest corner of the block north of Bellevue Square. Next door to the east, the Orvis store property sold to a Pong LLC in late 2016 for $16 million. It has 34,000 square feet. This gives the Pongs, plus the Herron LLC, a 1.6-acre assemblage for a total of $35.3 million.

Last year, Baylis Architects filed an feasibility plan for the Orvis property that would demolish the building and erect a new high rise with 219 units, retail and 310 underground parking stalls. That plan never went into the review process, and now the potential building site is twice as large, which could make phased development more possible.

There's also been much recent activity on that block:

• Avenue Bellevue (formerly The Elan) is proposed for the Cost Plus World Market site. Andy Lakha's Fortress Holdings LLC has spent $44 million to assemble about 2.7 acres on the south side of the block, at 10300 N.E. Eighth St. The recently updated plan, by Weber Thompson and CollinsWoerman, is for two high rises with 251 hotel rooms, 330 condominiums, retail and about 800 underground stalls.

• In September, telcom magnate and investor John Stanton sold his 27,700-square-foot assemblage on the west side of the block for $19 million to an untraceable LLC with a mortgage held by Goldman Sachs. No new plans have been filed for 810-832 102nd Ave. N.E.

Separately, in the University District, Pong wants to build a 31-story tower near the future light rail station, on a site it owns at 4512 11th Ave. N.E.

Puget Sound Hospitality Group raises money from EB-5 investors.

47 North Development lists a few small development projects in its portfolio. One is the Bus Stop Espresso triangle near the future Roosevelt Station; Herron previously told the DJC that he would wait for a few years before building apartments there. Another project is a 12-unit complex on Phinney Ridge.


Brian Miller can be reached by email at brian.miller@djc.com or by phone at (206) 219-6517.

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