Pasadena-Based Alexandria Negotiating to Buy Seattle’s Mercer Mega Block for $144 Million, Pledges to Build Affordable Housing

“One of the most consequential property deals the City of Seattle has ever done,” a Seattle official said

Published : Friday, August 9, 2019 | 5:23 AM

Images courtesy City of Seattle

Pasadena-based biotech and life sciences developer Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. will buy Seattle’s Mercer Mega Block for $143.5 million, according to a statement by the City of Seattle, which owns the three parcels in South Lake Union.

News reports said Alexandria submitted the leading offer for the 2.86-acre property. The Pasadena-based developer is reportedly paying $138.5 million for the site, which includes two full city blocks along the busy Mercer Street corridor and part of a third.

Alexandria is also making a one-time $5 million contribution to help the city address homelessness.

In addition, Alexandria reportedly pledged to build an affordable housing tower on one of the sites with at least 175 units, and dedicate a portion of the campus to a city-run 30,000 square-foot community center, a Seattle Times report said.

“This was a generational opportunity to take an underutilized city-owned property and to make a real transformational investment to create jobs, to create more affordable and mixed-income housing, and to build more safe transportation connections,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said last Friday at a press event.

On Wednesday, Durkan was at the site to announce the deal, and called it “one of the most consequential property deals the City of Seattle has ever done.”

Alexandria was one of six bidders for the site, Durkan said. In a very competitive bidding process, Alexandria upped its price by roughly 40 percent after the city asked contenders to sweeten their offers. Alexandria has been developing land in Seattle for more than 20 years and has played an important role in developing the South Lake Union neighborhood’s biotech and life sciences sector.

“We feel it’s really the heart of the heart, and this is the last large block of land left to develop,” Alexandria co-founder and Executive Chairman Joel Marcus told GeekWire.

The deal will have to go through Seattle’s City Council before it becomes final; a vote is expected in September, according to GeekWire.


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