Seattle, WA

NOAA Marine Operations

8.5 Acre Property on Lake Union

Posted In — Success Stories |
acre Lake Union property
17,100 sq ft/12,000 sq ft
warehouse buildings
accredited investors worldwide
delta in pricing

Project Outline

Kidder Mathews received the exclusive disposition assignment for this 8.5 acre Lake Union property, consisting of approximately 2 acres of uplands and approximately 6.5 acres of submerged land with 870 lineal feet of waterfront. This sale offering represented one of the largest single parcels ever brought to market on Lake Union-Seattle, WA.

Included with this property were 2 commercial piers totaling nearly 2,500 lineal feet, a commercial wharf of approximately 370 lineal feet, and office and laboratory building measuring 17,100 sq ft and a 12,000 sq ft warehouse building.


The challenge of the assignment was to maximize the value of the property and to entice investors, developers and companies that plan on purchasing the site to pursue various approaches to value. The property valuation was greatly influenced by its end use. Such uses ranged from large waterfront parks funded by private donations to biotech laboratories, office developments, retail centers, corporate headquarters and even just land bank investors.

Each potential purchaser struggled with the same unique issues relative to the zoning code. Although the code is fairly lenient as a heavy industrial site, the marine dependent overlay expressly prohibited any use that was not water dependent to occupy the site without a conditional use permit in place. In addition to the zoning code complexities, the City of Seattle was in the process of updating its Shoreline Management Act as required by federal law. The update would require that new development take place recognizing increased setbacks off the water line and numerous other new ordinances designed to protect marine habitat and limit development potential on the site.

The property was exposed to over 40,000 accredited investors worldwide. Throughout an extensive marketing campaign, the Kidder Mathews team brought forth nine offers representing a $16 million delta in pricing. None of these offers met seller expectations for a variety of reasons. Offers ranged from straight over tackle purchases to partnerships and development structures with “preferential yields” and long-term payouts.

Needless to say, it was frustrating for the sellers and the Kidder Mathews team to stand by and wait for that one perfect buyer to step forth while promoting a continuous and multifaceted marketing campaign. This marketing effort yielded tremendous interest worldwide, however concerns for risk associated with the zoning code or new shoreline regulations proved challenging.


The former NOAA Marine Operations Center Pacific was transformed into the new United States Seafoods corporate headquarters and stands adjacent to the newly proposed Ride the Ducks of Seattle Lake Union launch ramp.

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