The iconic former Weyerhauser headquarters in Federal Way is looking for its next tenant, or possibly, tenants.
“We envision that there could be a company that's downtown that says, 'I want to start a new business, I want to have it in the area, but I don't have to have it right in our current business,'” said Tom Messmer, Senior Vice President of Special Projects for Industrial Realty Group (IRG).
Weyerhaeuser traded its Federal Way campus for a brand new space in Seattle's Pioneer Square in 2016. It sold 430 acres to IRG for $70 million.
“We really feel a responsibility to bring this back to life,” said Messmer.
Messmer said instead of the five-floor, 355,000 square foot 'Greenline' building being used for a company's headquarters, IRG is considering multiple tech tenants to split up the property.
“I think everybody who looked at it when we were thinking of buying it was thinking, 'I need to find one single 355,000-square-foot user who will make this into a corporate headquarters',” said Messer. “And that causes a lot of developers to go away.”
IRG's pitch to potential tenants is less traffic, cheaper cost of living, and much cheaper office space. Some premium 'Class A' office space in Seattle could go for $45 per square foot, according to CBRE. Messmer expects Greenline tenants to pay somewhere in the $17 per square foot range at the old Weyerhaeuser site.
Messmer added IRG will customize the inside for each tenant. He expects renovations to cost about $15 million.
As for concerns from some neighbors and environmental groups of overdevelopment, Messmer said IRG is developing a fraction of the land it bought.
“Our plan is to develop slightly less than one-third of that and keep the other 220 acres just as you see it here,” he said as he glanced at the greenery.
Messmer said finding a tenant has been a challenge because the property isn't in downtown Seattle, but he's optimistic.
“We honestly believe that there will be one those -- maybe it's an offshoot of one of the huge companies located downtown -- that says, 'I want to continue to be in the Puget Sound region, but I don't have to be on top of the building that I already have,'” he said.