In case you missed it Friday, the Smith Tower was sold (back to the bank) at foreclosure auction. Here’s KING 5’s report: Historic Smith Tower sold for $36.9 million
That’s what happens when you make a big public announcement about intentions to convert to condos, scaring away all your good tenants, then fail to follow through because you stupidly kicked off your plan just as the housing bubble was beginning to deflate.
The buildings’ previous owner, Walton Street Capital, of Chicago, bought them in 2006 for $44 million, and at first pursued a plan to convert Smith Tower to condos.
The housing crisis killed that proposal; meanwhile, office tenants fled the historic tower, which opened in 1914.
It’s now more than 80 percent vacant, according to court records, and monthly rents don’t cover the building’s operating expenses.
Walton Street defaulted on the mortgage last year, and CBRE began pursuing foreclosure shortly after it acquired the debt in September.
At CBRE’s request, a King County superior-court judge in December appointed a receiver, Goodman Real Estate, of Seattle, to take over management of the tower.
According to Goodman’s latest report to the court, another CBRE affiliate has begun marketing the building to prospective tenants. There’s interest in two complete lower floors and suites on three other floors, the report says.
Goodman representatives have told him they expect to have the tower at least 50 percent occupied by the end of the year.
So it sounds like the dream of the Smith Tower Condos is dead.