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Originally published Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 6:57 PM

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Federal agencies moving into Fifth & Yesler building developed by Martin Selig

Fifth & Yesler is the latest of several new downtown office buildings that have started to fill up recently after sitting mostly empty for months.

Seattle Times business reporter

The federal government has leased more than 60 percent of the office space in developer Martin Selig's new, mostly vacant Fifth & Yesler building in downtown Seattle.

The 17-story building, highly visible from Interstate 5, is one of more than a half-dozen mostly unleased office projects, all completed over the past year, that have contributed to record vacancy rates in the downtown area.

A spokesman for the General Services Administration (GSA), which handles real estate for federal agencies, said the 10-year lease is for 172,000 square feet on floors 4 through 12 of the 275,000-square-foot building.

But spokesman Ross Buffington would not say which federal agency or agencies is moving in.

Selig did not return calls seeking comment.

Selig pushed hard last year to sign the Northwest regional headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a tenant at Fifth & Yesler. But the GSA instead announced last June that it had renewed the EPA's lease at the Park Place Building at Sixth Avenue and University Street.

That lease also was for 10 years and 172,000 square feet.

Selig filed a protest challenging the Park Place lease, Buffington said, but a hearing examiner ruled in GSA's favor. "EPA is staying where they are," the spokesman said.

Fifth & Yesler is the latest of several new downtown office buildings that have started to fill up after sitting mostly empty for months.

Last week, developer Touchstone announced two nonprofits had leased one-quarter of the space in West 8th, its 28-story building in the Denny Triangle.

And last month, Amazon.com leased 180,000 square feet — all the space not previously taken by global health nonprofit PATH — in Vulcan's 12-story 2201 Westlake in South Lake Union.

Selig's brand-new 635 Elliott complex on the waterfront reportedly is the front-runner to house a new headquarters for biotech firm Dendreon, which Thursday received a key federal approval for a cancer-treatment vaccine.

Dendreon has been looking for more space for a year.

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

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