Specialty: Building ownership, development and management
Management: Chairman and CEO Al Clise
Current projects: Seventh at Westlake, a 32-story mixed-use project; Block T, a 600,000-square-foot office building
Clise Properties may expand its horizons in 2006 by investing outside of downtown Seattle. It would be a dramatic departure of the 116-year-old office development company.
“It’s something we are seriously looking at,” says Chairman and CEO Al Clise, who adds diversifying might be good for the company. “All of our eggs are in one basket now.”
It might not be just office investments. “Our windows are wide open,” says Clise, who adds the company has only begun to think about it.
Clise is not interested in Southern California, the Bay Area or Vancouver, B.C. Instead, the company might look at secondary markets, such as Salt Lake City or Boise, Idaho.
This might lead to another significant change for the company that is known as a long-term holder. Clise could dispose of some of its assets. The company will not sell, Clise says, but that doesn’t mean it might not trade for a property in another market.
Clise is hoping to start Seventh at Westlake, a tower that would have condominiums above office and retail. “The residential part of that building we just can’t wait to go on,” he says. The hold-up is the office. “We need to get some pre-leasing before we pull the trigger.”
The target is to lease half of the 240,000 square feet of office. Clise has some proposals out, but nothing is signed. Also in the works is the Block T project, an office between Fifth and Sixth avenues and Bell and Battery streets. “We’re permitted for 600,000 square feet of office there, and we’re ready to go,” says Clise. “But 600,000 square feet of office these days is tough to fill.”
The market is improving, he says, but not enough to spur development just yet.
Neither Clise project hinges on the new zoning plan the City Council is reviewing. The change would allow taller buildings downtown.
Watching City Hall
Even so, Clise is closely monitoring City Hall. “My concern is what will it cost,” he says, adding he worries lawmakers could weigh the policy change down with onerous requirements that would drive costs up and development to other cities, such as Bellevue.
The explosion of residential development is exciting to watch for Clise, but he worries about it, too. “We just have to make sure we preserve the ability to build commercial down here,” he says.
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