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April 27, 2022

Alexandria and NBBJ file big Bellevue life-science and apartment plan

Real Estate Editor

Rendering by NBBJ [enlarge]
Looking northwest, the apartment buildings are massed to the south, along 12th (left).

Back in December, Alexandria Real Estate Equities paid over $77 million for about 5 acres at 1425 120th Ave. N.E. in East Bellevue . Now, with architect NBBJ, it's filed a revised master plan for a major phased project initially to include three life-science and two apartment buildings.

New to Alexandria's team are Clarion Partners, Weber Thompson, Gables Residential and Runberg Architecture Group. Those names will align with some of the buildings below; others will have to wait for design review to determine who's attached to what.

Alexandria's site is immediately west of the separate Spring District, where light-rail service begins next year.

Alexandria's December land investment came with the additional value of a prior approved master development agreement between the seller, Pine Forest Properties, and the city. Devised by CollinsWoerman, that allows over 1 million square feet of development.

Pine Forest, an arm of The Burnsteads family of companies, sold most but not all of its Twelfth Place Business Park to Alexandria. It also owns 3.4 acres north of Alexandria's December land buy. That vacant land, leased to Sound Transit for construction staging, is included in NBBJ's revised master plan, so Alexandria clearly intends to purchase that, too.

Pine Forest also still retains the small south corner, where 120th meets Northeast 12th Street. But NBBJ's amended master plan also includes that corner; and Pine Forest is also included on the new roster of development partners. A third apartment building is now indicated for that south corner, which will apparently be Pine Forest's separately owned project — also under the umbrella of the prior approved MDP. Thus the entire development will span almost 10 acres.

Alexandria will require city approval for some relatively minor amendments to the old MDP. The architect says it'll target LEED Gold certification for the entire development, currently dubbed the Alexandria Center for Science and Technology, or ACST Bellevue. (Alexandria also uses the ACST rubric in Eastlake.)

Three life-science buildings would total about 737,360 square feet of lab and office space. They'd range from eight to nine stories. Up to five levels of mostly underground parking would have about 1,316 stalls.

The city will consider amendments to the MDP next month. In essence, on the trapezoidal site, shaped something like the state of Nevada, NBBJ now wants to place the apartments along the angled south border (12th), then push the offices to the northeast corner, at the new Northeast Spring Boulevard. New streets, plazas, pedestrian connectors and green spaces will lace the entire development together.

NBBJ's intended phasing is first the two west apartment buildings, which are linked, from Clarion and Gables. Those seven-story buildings would have some 300 units and 225 underground parking stalls. A land sale or condominium agreement is likely there.

Second would be the middle east office building; and third, the two northeast office buildings. (Foundation and garage work would likely overlap.) Fourth and finally, the Pine Forest apartments would follow on the south corner. That seven-story building would have about 132 units and 230 underground parking stalls.

Ground floor retail/commercial space in the office and south corner apartment buildings could total about 16,110 square feet. That plus the parking and amenity areas would yield a total project size of around 1.2 million square feet.

Alexandria calls the non-residential component “Bellevue's first purpose-built, life-science research cluster focused on mission-critical research.”

And more, “This new campus will be designed for today's leading life-science and technology tenants, and able to serve single or multi-tenant users.”

There's no stated timeline for the four phases of construction, nor any indication as to who will broker the offices and labs. Given the current market, starting the apartments first makes sense.

And Alexandria meanwhile has plenty on its Seattle plate. A large REIT based in Pasadena, Alexandria estimates it now has about 3 million square feet in its local portfolio (chiefly in South Lake Union, Eastlake and Bothell), with another 3 million planned. That latter figure includes the Mercer Blocks, where final permits appear near. Again, there's no declared start date or broker there, though the company's neighboring 701 Dexter building is now under construction on an apparently speculative basis.


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

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