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Originally published May 21, 2014 at 5:43 PM | Page modified May 21, 2014 at 7:23 PM

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Pacific Place sale will bring millions to United Way

Local investors in the downtown mall will donate $10 million or more from its planned sale to the United Way of King County, says Pine Street Development’s Matt Griffin.


Seattle Times business reporter

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Some of the local investors in Seattle’s Pacific Place plan to donate millions from the pending sale of the downtown mall to the United Way of King County.

As a result, nonprofits will receive $10 million to $15 million, said Matt Griffin, a partner in Pine Street Development, which owns Pacific Place. He is also chair of this year’s United Way of King County campaign.

“I’m proud of having good partners,” Griffin said Wednesday. “We’re fortunate to be in a city where people care about doing good things.”

United Way officials say it’s the first time they’ve received a donation directly linked to a sale of commercial real estate.

Pine Street Development put Pacific Place up for sale earlier this year. Griffin said he expect to sell Pacific Place within 60 days to a buyer whom he wouldn’t identify.

Some 15 local individuals or families own about half of Pacific Place, Griffin said. The investors include Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and John McCaw, who made a fortune in cellular telecommunications.

The property, which is bounded by Pine Street and Olive Way and Sixth and Seventh avenues, consists of a six-story upscale-shopping center and a 1,200-stall underground garage. The city owns the garage, which has been losing money and isn’t for sale.

A Barnes & Noble and AMC movie theater anchor the 335,000-square-foot shopping center, which is also home to luxury retailers like Tiffany & Co. and Barneys New York.

The full-block shopping center opened in 1998 and is credited with stimulating a revival of downtown Seattle.

Griffin said he suggested the donation to his partners in the course of discussing the real-estate transaction.

“I’d like to have other people do things like that,” he said.

United Way of King County spokesman Jared Erlandson said more than three-quarters of annual donations come from individuals through workplace and corporate gifts. Major donors — those who give more than $10,000 — largely cover the balance.

The largest single gift ever to the United Way chapter was a $30 million matching gift in 1999 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch the Gates Challenge Endowment.

Erlandson said the upcoming donation from the sale of Pacific Place could help put the United Way chapter over the top on its $113 million goal for this year’s campaign, which ends June 30.

Sanjay Bhatt: 206-464-3103 or sbhatt@seattletimes.com On Twitter @sbhatt



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