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Originally published Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Schnitzer's Seattle office building half-leased 6 months before completion

Developer Schnitzer West says it has preleased half the office space at 818 Stewart, a 14-story downtown Seattle building that won't be...

Seattle Times business reporter

Developer Schnitzer West says it has preleased half the office space at 818 Stewart, a 14-story downtown Seattle building that won't be finished for six months.

Commercial real-estate brokers say the deals signal demand for downtown office space remains strong and that Seattle remains a bright spot on the national commercial real-estate map.

"Any developer would be very pleased to have his building half-leased six months out," said Owen Rice, a broker with CB Richard Ellis who specializes in downtown.

Stuart Williams, a principal with Pacific Real Estate Partners, agreed. "It does say there is a demand for new product," he said.

818 Stewart is a 238,000-square-foot building going up at Ninth Avenue and Stewart Street.

Five floors — 73,000 square feet — have been leased to Avanade, a global information-technology consulting firm, and one of its corporate parents, Accenture, the world's largest consulting company.

The building will be the corporate headquarters for Avanade, a joint venture of Accenture and Microsoft. Avanade and Accenture's Seattle regional office are now in the World Trade Center complex on Elliott Avenue.

Other 818 Stewart tenants: First American Title Insurance, with 19,000 square feet; and Schnitzer West, which is moving its headquarters from Bellevue. It, too, will occupy about 19,000 square feet, managing investment partner Dan Ivanoff said.

"Our expectation is we're going to be 75 percent preleased pretty quickly," he said. "It's a pretty strong market."

Over the past five years, Seattle's growth in office-based employment has far outpaced growth in the supply of office space, Ivanoff said.

818 Stewart, scheduled to be completed in October, is the only new office building in the downtown area that will open this year. Next year, four will:

• Touchstone's 520,000-square-foot West 8th project, at Eighth Avenue and Westlake Avenue.

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• Martin Selig's 260,000-square-foot Fifth and Yesler building.

• Schnitzer West's 660,000-square-foot 1918 Eighth building, on the same block as 818 Stewart.

• Vulcan's 2201 Westlake project, which will combine 300,000 square feet of office space with 135 condos.

None of the four has announced any large office tenants yet, but Rice said they should have little trouble filling up as their completion dates near.

Prospective tenants are touring the properties and weighing their options, he said.

"It's still a landlord's market."

818 Stewart's success is another indication that downtown is shifting north.

"Ten years ago, that wasn't considered an office location," Williams said. "Now it's a great location."

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or epryne@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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