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Seattle's Historic Smith Tower Sold Friday For $37 Million

Katrina Roi
03/23/2012

Seattle's historic Smith Tower sold Friday for $37 million. The building's previous owner defaulted on its loans last year. There was only one bidder today — the same company that already owned the debt. KUOW's Katrina Roi has the story.

TRANSCRIPT

The auction was over in only eight minutes. It took place on the steps of the King County Administration Building.

Parkes: "I here verify and declare the sale closed and the property sold to CPUSI Co–investment Cayman LLC."

When Smith Tower opened in 1914 it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi. It's a designated city landmark.

Annie Strain co–owns a video game company in Pioneer Square. She's standing on her condo balcony, which faces Smith Tower.

Strain: "It's this beautiful, strong, creamy white spear that goes up. And right at the top — the prettiest time to see it is at dusk, because it has this enormous glass ball on the top. In my own mind, I definitely think of it sort of like a beacon. When you're coming in from the airport, when you're coming from the north, you know you're in Seattle."

Right now Smith Tower is about 70 percent vacant. Strain hopes the sale means the building will soon be full. She's considering moving her business into the tower. It's like the rest of Pioneer Square, she says: built to last.

Strain: "These buildings have been there, they've done that. They've seen ups, they've seen downs. They're not ruffled by that. Smith Tower is no different. It's empty right now. It'll see boom times again."

The previous owners of Smith Tower wanted to turn it into luxury condos. Those plans sputtered with the economic downturn. The company handling the sale says the building's current tenants will keep their leases.

For KUOW News, I'm Katrina Roi.

© Copyright 2012, KUOW

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