The Andover Co.

Specialty: Kent Valley industrial property broker

Management: Owners Dave Baumer, Jim Bisset, George Rockwell, Jeff Crane, Mike Hemphill

Founded: 1978

Headquarters: Tukwila

Largest recent deal: Auburn North Distribution Center, Auburn

Photo copyright Vantage Point Photography
Walls were recently tilted at Auburn North Distribution Center. The Andover Co. brokered a sale to institutional investor ING Clarion before any tenants were signed up.

Office and industrial real estate activity is so swift in the Kent Valley that The Andover Co. focuses much of its efforts on this area between Puyallup and Renton and Interstate 5 and east of Highway 167.

“There’s a strong market there, driven by bigger deals,” said Principal Dave Baumer.

Investors’ big appetites

Baumer has seen a number of large projects purchased by investors well before the properties are leased. The Auburn North Distribution Center, a 400,000-square-foot big-box distribution center under construction, was snatched up by institutional investor ING Clarion before any tenants were signed and before construction had even started, a deal brokered by The Andover Co.

“That proves there’s enough of an appetite for investors to buy these properties empty and take the risk of leasing them out,” said Baumer.

The same thing happened last year after The Andover Co. negotiated the sale of two Port of Seattle warehouses to Charlie’s Produce. An interested industrial investor purchased one of the buildings from Charlie’s Produce without tenants, leasing the space later.

Healthy industrial outlook

The healthy industrial real estate market has been strong since late 2003, said Baumer, and he expects building and leasing activity to continue in the Kent Valley.

The boom can be contributed to a recovering economy in general, said Andover broker Bruce Clarkson.

“We went through a period of time from 2000 to 2004 when the economy was lagging and no one was doing anything,” said Clarkson. “All that pent-up money and energy came out at once.”

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