Developer thinks this is his cycle
Marc Stiles, the Puget Sound Business Journal, Oct 3, 2014
Now that construction is finally starting on the big hotel at Southport on Lake Washington in Renton, might it be time for the long-planned office complex next door? Michael Christ thinks so and hopes to strike a deal with a tenant like Amazon.com, which once considered moving its headquarters to Southport.
“The dream is still alive,” said Christ, president and CEO of Seco Development, the owner of the 17.5-acre Southport, where 384 apartments and retail space already are part of the master-planned community tucked between the Boeing plant and Gene Coulon, the crown jewel of Renton’s park system. Construction is starting on Southport’s 4-star hotel, a $180 million project. (Link to the previous coverage on the hotel groundbreaking)
“I think we are in the perfect time right now,” Christ said this week. “We are getting to the right place in the curve. I think we are going to be in the prime part 12 months from now.”
It’s a very familiar timeline for Seattle, which has followed 10-year boom-bust cycles going back all the way to 1897 when a ship laden with gold from the Klondike River arrived in Seattle. As the economy heats up, developers build office towers in Seattle and Bellevue, with the bonanza threatening to spread to outlying areas, but the music stops before big projects get built in places like Renton. “I do think this is the cycle,” said Christ, who is re-working the design of the three, 125-foot-tall office buildings.
Southport is more than a pretty face on the lake. It also has power behind it due to what it was before: a Puget Sound Energy plant that is wired to the hilt. With 100 gigs-per-second fiber, Southport has “the fastest internet in the world” and redundant power, Christ said. “Some enormous names have come in here and take a serious looks at this,” Christ said. But, he said, “It’s been timing.” With the current state of the economy, Christ thinks he’ll have “enough time to get it done.”