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Touchstone, Portman Holdings To Develop 2 Commercial Office Buildings In U-District

Pat Callahan was the keynote speaker at Bisnow's 2019 State of Seattle event earlier this year.

University District Parking Associates is teaming up with Seattle-based Touchstone and Atlanta-based Portman Holdings as its long-term ground-lease partners to develop commercial office buildings on the site of two current parking lots. The two properties are within one block of the new Link Light Rail station that will open in 2021.

The UDPA was formed in 1944 by U-District businesses with the goal of providing affordable parking for customers and employees. The two lots are at 4530 12th Ave. NE and 4536 Brooklyn Ave. NE.

“UDPA conducted a global search to find the most qualified development team to bring vitality and positive economic impact to the U-District,” UDPA President Don Schulze said. “The combination of Touchstone, one of the most qualified and experienced local developers in concert with Portman’s global strength and accomplishments, created the optimum partner to improve our community.”

The plans call for two commercial office buildings that will be 190K SF and 155K SF, respectively. Both will have ground-floor retail and below-ground parking.

“The addition of light rail next to the University of Washington and in the center of the U-District neighborhood is a once-in-a-generation transformational opportunity,” Touchstone and Urban Renaissance CEO Pat Callahan said. “This creates the perfect time to reimagine these lots in a way that is consistent with UDPA’s mission and vision. We look forward to engagement with the U-District neighborhood and with innovative office users. I am confident that we will create a great office environment with a compelling sense of place at these locations.”

The U-District was recently upzoned in anticipation of Sound Transit’s new light rail station, which is set to open in 2021. The U-District, home of the University of Washington’s campus, is undergoing rapid transformation. A U-District business landmark, Hardwick’s Hardware, recently sold its property and plans to close in the next 18 months.