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March 13, 2023

Mystery buyer pays $3M for Lusty Lady building

Real Estate Editor

Photo by Brian Miller [enlarge]
Pictured a few years back, the building now has more fencing, fewer campers and additional graffiti.

Love, at long last! Sweet glorious love! She's finally met her match. The Lusty Lady building, at 1315 First Ave., has finally found a buyer. King County recorded the $3 million deal on Friday.

Opaque buyer of record 1315 1st Ave LLC lists an address at the Ameriprise Financial Center in Minneapolis. State records say its governor is Ameriprise Bank. That implies a trust for an anonymous client. Ameriprise has a few affiliated financial advisors in Seattle, but no office. It doesn't operate in the retail banking sector, where it would need a brick-and-mortar location.

The new owner also has a Seattle attorney, so we shouldn't assume a Midwestern buyer.

Photo by Brian Miller [enlarge]
Below the grade of First Avenue, the building has about as much space as above, but only widows on its west aspect.

No new plans have been filed for the decrepit and over century-old three-story structure, which faces Seattle Art Museum. The Lusty Lady peep show business and famous pun-filled marquee operated there from 1985 – 2010. It's been vacant ever since.

The seller was the Tolias family, which had owned the midblock property for decades. The family sold the air rights in 2005 to the developers of the neighboring Four Seasons hotel and condo tower.

The recent deal was worth a nominal $120 per square foot. Also known as the Seven Seas building, the property went on the market in the summer of 2021. The family's brokers were Stuart Williams, Adrienne Hunter, Alex Muir and Elizabeth Schalka at Lee & Associates. The building was initially listed at over $3.2 million.

The building was developed in 1890 as the Hotel Vendome and, under various names, continued to rent rooms into the 1970s. The north half of the hotel was snipped off in 1966 for the Heliparker Garage, on the corner of Union Street. The latter was demolished in 2006 for the Four Seasons.

That and the Harbor Steps development sandwich the little building, which rises six stories above Post Avenue. Despite the prime location, its condition is poor. Demolition for a fresh start would be easier than a seismic retrofit and renovation. If preserved, a roof deck would still be possible.

For the dirt, the sale works out to about $676 per square foot.


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

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