February 12, 2009
SEATTLE - The Seattle Storm and The Freehold Group today announced that the Storm will move its headquarters to Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood in March.
The Storm is leasing 12,055 square feet in the Interbay Building from The Freehold Group, a Seattle commercial real estate development company. Freehold has had a presence in Interbay for more than a decade and works closely with the local community to create urban density and a mix of uses that revitalize the neighborhood, which is at the heart of the valley between Queen Anne and Magnolia.
“The Storm’s move is the most recent recognition that Interbay is a unique location in Seattle where one can experience the opportunity to grow, be creative and tread lightly on our planet,” said David Bolin, cofounder and principal of Freehold. Last year, the Seattle City Council approved zoning that preserved the industrial and mixed-use component of Interbay while increasing heights to allow for the construction of multifamily housing and retail services, making it one of the most diversely zoned areas in the city.
“It was important to us as local owners that the Storm’s new home reflects our partnership with the community,” said Anne Levinson, chair of the Storm’s ownership group, who negotiated the transaction on behalf of the team. “By being an anchor tenant for a neighborhood designed to reuse industrial buildings and locating near our home court at KeyArena, we are reinforcing the Storm’s commitment to sustainable business operations and lessening our environmental footprint.”
“We are delighted to welcome the Storm to the Interbay neighborhood,” said Bolin. “Its headquarters will add to the natural mix of uses and bring a fabulous dimension of energy to the neighborhood.”
Freehold is implementing a new approach to neighborhood revitalization at Interbay, where the company and its project partners are building a pedestrian-friendly community of industrial, office, retail, research and development, and entertainment businesses, along with residences and open spaces.
“Today’s announcement is a major step toward this goal,” said Bolin. “Interbay is part of the changes we are all experiencing. The innovation possible in Interbay will create places for jobs and living environments this city will be proud to have.”
Re-use of existing structures, such as the Storm’s new headquarters, is at the heart of Freehold’s innovative development model.
Preserving buildings “is the ultimate in recycling and environmental sustainability,” said Freehold Principal Jeff Thompson, who founded the company with Bolin.
“Taking an existing footprint in the heart of an urban area, capitalizing on current uses, and building in and around structures that are already there is the way to create and sustain neighborhoods,” Bolin said. “It’s about flexibility and adapting over time, which is incredibly exciting and rewarding.”
The Storm’s new administrative office is a great example of this approach. Bolin said the Interbay Building was “a dump on its last legs” when Freehold bought it 11 years ago. Freehold, whose leadership team consists of experts in architecture, construction, design and finance, renovated the building in 2000. Freehold created all new systems, including a raised floor, and designed a flexible planning configuration in a tall light-filled space.
Seattle-based J.R. Abbott Construction Inc. has been hired to build out the Storm’s tenant improvements.
Jeff Loftus and Rod Keefe of GVA Kidder Mathews represented Freehold in lease negotiations with the Storm, which was represented by Jim Allison of Kinzer Real Estate Services.
The Storm’s decision is the latest in a string of announcements benefiting Interbay, which parallels 15th Avenue West. Metro is building an express bus rapid transit system along the street, the fourth busiest arterial in Seattle. Last year, the City Council voted to rezone the historically industrial area to allow mixed-use buildings in the area west of 15th Avenue West near West Dravus Street. The new zoning allows development of buildings up to 85 feet high.
Several weeks ago, Whole Foods Market announced it will be the anchor tenant at the new retail center about a mile south of the Interbay District.
“We’re designing Interbay to have a welcoming feel that’s apart from the busy grid of roads that lead elsewhere,” Bolin said. “We will continue to work with our neighbors and other developers to create a unique place planned for the future, yet rooted in its history.”
“So much is happening in Interbay,” Thompson added. “The decision by the Storm to move here is great for the community; the organization will be an important part of the neighborhood.”
About The Freehold Group:
Freehold is a privately held real estate company with roots that reach back to 1976. The company is inspired by and seeks properties where big ideas, the smallest of details, capital resources and human experiences can be linked to create value for the community. Freehold’s leadership team is from the worlds of architecture, construction, design and finance. They approach development in a humanistic, organic and creative way, focusing on the people who will be spending time in the places they create. Inspired by the future and guided by the past, Freehold is committed to making the world a better place. More information is available at www.thefreeholdgroup.com.
About the Seattle Storm:
The Seattle Storm, celebrating its 10th anniversary season in 2009, is one of six independently owned teams in the WNBA, the world’s preeminent women’s professional basketball league. Established in 2000, the Storm is committed to bringing outstanding professional basketball to a diverse and rapidly growing fan base. The team also plays an active role in promoting literacy, health and fitness, support for women and girls, and youth basketball in local communities.