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Real Estate

Brian Miller
Real Estate Editor
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October 22, 2020

On the Block: Office shocks: from COVID-19 to BCAG possibly leaving Renton

It's hard to be shocked during a pandemic/recession, because the shocks — meaning deaths, infections, business failures and virus spikes — just keep coming. And yet the news was shocking. First Bloomberg and then The Seattle Times reported that Boeing might vacate and sell the Renton headquarters buildings for its commercial airplanes group, aka BCAG. Coming from a Boeing family, having lived through the Boeing bust of the 1970s, I was genuinely shocked.

And then, naturally, I thought about those potentially empty buildings developed on the old Longacres racetrack in the hot, hot, hot Renton office market. I kid: CBRE puts the third-quarter total vacancy rate there at 30%. That compares to about 6% in downtown Bellevue, 10% in Seattle's central business district and 3% in South Lake Union. (But vacancy rates, whether direct or total, don't mean much when so many employees are working from home.)

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