Zillow expanding in old WaMu headquarters

Website operator leasing four floors in Seattle landmark through 2022

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It’s not "The Zillow Center" yet, but listings portal and online real estate information marketplace Zillow Inc. has leased another floor in Seattle’s fourth-largest high rise, a 42-story steel-and-glass tower originally built as the headquarters of Washington Mutual Inc., parent company of the failed savings and loan.

All told, Zillow will occupy four floors 1301 Second Ave., the building formerly known as the WaMu Center — just one less than the tenant the building is now named for, Russell Investments. Other tenants of the Russell Investments Center include Boeing, Nordstrom, Dendreon, and JP Morgan Chase, which picked up WaMu’s assets from the FDIC in 2008.

As designed for WaMu by architect NBBJ, the building was divided up into three-story "neighborhoods," each connected by an internal staircase. Zillow — which last year signed a lease entitling the company to occupy three adjacent floors in the building — recently signed a new agreement to occupy another floor directly above its current digs.

The operator of the Internet’s most popular listings portal now has the right to occupy floors 29 through 32 of the landmark building through November 30, 2022.

When insurer Northwestern Mutual bought the 872,000-square-foot skyscraper in 2009 for $115 million, it was virtually empty. Now it’s 95 percent leased, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported in April when the building changed hands again for $480 million.

A 22,583 square-foot space in the building is currently available for $38 per square-foot. Zillow is paying $36 a square foot for the 21,575 square feet of additional space it’s leased on the 32nd floor, an amount which will increase by $1 a year for the term of the lease. The amended lease provides a cash allowance of about $800,000 for the design, permitting and construction of tenant improvement work on the 32nd floor.

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All told, Zillow now has dibs on 87,184 square feet of the Russell Investments Center, or 10 percent of the available space in the building. Annual base rent for all four floors Zillow will occupy is set to rise from $2.46 million next year to $3.24 million by the end of the lease.


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