Sabey Corp.

Specialty: Real estate developer, construction services, investment company
President: David Sabey
Year founded: 1972
Largest current projects: Department of Homeland Security office in Tukwila, James Tower Life Sciences Building in Seattle


While 2004 was a recovery year for Sabey Corp., President David Sabey said it’s been a slow process. For 2005, he’s more cautious.

“We’ve sold into the market,” he said. “This market reminds me of 1989. This seems like a capital-driven market rather than a market-driven market.”

Historically low interest rates have fueled too much construction locally, according to Sabey. He characterized the general office space market as “not strong.”

Add to that federal and local budget deficits and “Boeing’s seeming inability to sell airplanes,” he said. “That bothers me, because Boeing is a huge generator for the local economy.

“Because of those items,” he continued, “I don’t know what the market will do. Our thinking is we will continue to see the market muddle.”

While Sabey’s excitement about the market is tempered by fears of a slowdown, he said there is strength in niche markets such as health care, and Seattle is well positioned to continue to benefit from trade with Asia.

One of Sabey’s biggest projects this year has been the James Tower Life Sciences Building. The $50 million project will add 58,000 square feet to the existing 240,000-square-foot facility, which, when complete, will house medical science facilities. Sabey has a 40 percent interest in the Swedish/Providence Medical Center campus, and envisions the James Tower building as part of a $100 million project to convert the campus into the Seattle Heart Alliance.

Sabey’s other major project, the Department of Homeland Security office in Tukwila, is a $38 million, 140,000-square-foot, four-story building that will house the regional headquarters for the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. The projects embody Sabey’s approach — focusing on pockets of strength in an otherwise tepid market.

Reflecting this caution, Sabey will maintain staff levels and continue to leverage technology to improve productivity in the office. “That’s pretty common around the rest of the world,” he said.

Copyright ©2004 Seattle Daily Journal and DJC.COM.
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