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Thursday, March 12, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Paul Allen To Move Vulcan Downtown -- 11-Story Tower Planned Behind Union Station

Seattle Times Business Reporter

High-tech billionaire Paul Allen will move his Vulcan Northwest corporate headquarters to an 11-story office building he plans to develop behind Union Station between Pioneer Square and the International District.

Vulcan Northwest, which manages Allen's business and charitable activities, said today it has acquired the site from Seattle developer Nitze-Stagen, its partner in the $250 million makeover of the 7.5 acre Union Station property.

The announcement followed an earlier report today that San Francisco developer Patrick Mahoney plans to build up to a 10-story office tower north of Union Station on the northwest corner of South Jackson Street and Fifth Avenue South.

Allen and Nitze-Stagen formed Union Station Associates to buy the Union Station property last year from Union Pacific Realty. Their plans include development of five office buildings on the site.

Allen and Mahoney's buildings are part of a master development plan to refurbish Union Station, add 1.1 million square feet of office and retail space, and put a 1,100-stall public garage on the site.

Allen spokeswoman Susan Pierson said Vulcan Northwest will own the office building it plans to build immediately south of Union Station. Its 100 employees, now based in Bellevue, will occupy the top two floors.

Groundbreaking is set for the first quarter of 1999, with occupancy expected in March 2000. Pierson did not disclose the development costs. NBBJ architects will design the building and the Seneca Real Estate Group will head development.

Jody Patton, Vulcan Northwest vice chairman and Allen's sister, said the company is "thrilled to become true neighbors" with its partners in the International District and Pioneer Square. Among Allen's numerous ventures is construction oversight of the new football stadium and exhibition hall to be built on the site of the Kingdome. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, owns the Seattle Seahawks.

Mahoney, who has developed office buildings in San Francisco and Los Angeles, indicated the cost of his project, including land acquisition, would be about $30 million.

Alan Cornell, Nitze-Stagen's vice president for administration and finance who is overseeing the Union Station project, said Allen and Nitze-Stagen's plan from the start was to acquire the property, build the underground garage, which will serve as the foundation for the four planned office buildings south of the station, and then sell the office sites or develop them.

The garage is under construction and scheduled to be finished Aug. 1, said Cornell.

Mahoney's project will be north of Union Station, on a one-third-square-block site at Fifth and Jackson. Mahoney said he can build a 190,000-square-foot building on the site, now a grassy lot, but has not completed design plans. He expects to announce an architect, developer and leasing agent next week.

Mahoney said he expects to break ground within a year. The Seattle office market is tight enough and rents are high enough - $28 to $29 a square foot for premium office space - that he will proceed without signing a major tenant ahead of time, he said.

Mahoney said he began developing office buildings in 1973 and was a consultant on the Transamerica Pyramid project in San Francisco.

His grandfather, the late Alfred Goddard, operated hotels and apartments in Seattle.

Mahoney joined the Cushman & Wakefield real-estate company in Seattle as a broker two years ago but decided to get back into development as Seattle's office market heated up last year. He is a longtime friend of fellow developer Frank Stagen, principal partner in Nitze-Stagen.

"Frank and I started talking about it (his developing the Fifth and Jackson property). The site's size and scale suited me," said Mahoney.

Though he hasn't drawn up architectural plans, Mahoney said he intends to blend his building into the overall Union Station development so the area feels like one project. Other developers would be expected to develop complementary buildings, said Cornell. "The intent is that it function as a unit," he said.

Lee Moriwaki's phone message number is 206-464-2320. His e-mail address is: lmoriwaki@seattletimes.com

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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