Boeing Field appraised at $174M
Boeing Field is worth slightly more than what the Port of Seattle would spend to acquire it in a land swap, an appraiser hired by King County...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Boeing Field is worth slightly more than what the Port of Seattle would spend to acquire it in a land swap, an appraiser hired by King County said Wednesday.
Michael Murray of the appraisal firm Allen Brackett Shedd told the Regional Policy Committee the 614-acre county-owned airport is worth $174 million, based on his review of the income it generates from Boeing and other tenants.
King County, the Port and BNSF Railway are negotiating a deal in which the Port would buy BNSF's little-used Renton-to-Snohomish rail line and trade it to King County for Boeing Field. The Port would spend $169 million — $103 million to buy the rail corridor plus a $66 million payment to the county to build a trail.
The deal, championed by County Executive Ron Sims and recently retired Port director Mic Dinsmore, has come under fire from Metropolitan King County Council members who say the county would be trading a valuable airport for a trail of lesser value.
Sims hopes to bring a complete deal to the council by late June or early July, said his chief of staff, Kurt Triplett.
The county assessor values the airport land and buildings at more than $400 million. Some critics contend the swap significantly undervalues the airport's value, based on recent sales of nearby properties.
But Murray said "there is no question" that other appraisers would also base the airport's value on its income-generating potential rather than comparable property sales. It "seems clear" the property will continue to be used as an airport, he said, because a change in use would require reimbursing millions of dollars in grants to the federal government and because a number of tenants hold long-term leases.
Boeing, the largest tenant, has a lease through 2030.
County Councilmember Larry Phillips, who opposes the swap, said the value of the proposed trail would be "de minimis" if BNSF's ailing line were valued by Murray's appraisal method. "We're trading away a valuable asset," Phillips said. "We're not using an apples-to-apples comparison."
County Councilmember Bob Ferguson asked Murray to research whether any airports of comparable size have been sold and, if so, for what price.
Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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