Asian Investors Seeking Ownership of Columbia Center

It has been reported that the private equity real estate investment group Gaw Capital, based out of Hong Kong, is set to pay $725 million for Seattle’s largest skyscraper–the 76-story Columbia Center. At 937 feet tall, Columbia Center stands in the heart of Seattle at 701 Fifth Avenue.

Speculation about Seattle’s role in Asia’s institutional investors compares The Emerald City to markets such as San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Donald Wise, president and CEO of Metzler Realty Advisors said, “Clearly there’s been a meaningful amount of institutional Asian capital that’s been interested in Seattle for several years.” Seattle is becoming a hot spot for international investors. CBRE’s vice chairman Russell Ingrum said West Coast trophy properties are drawing particular interest.

Columbia Center was bought by Beacon Capital in the spring of 2007 for $621 million, but after the economy spiraled quickly downward, the building’s vacancy rate skyrocketed. Beacon has since been working on filling these vacancies, and early this year put Columbia Center up for sale.


Gaw’s U.S. affiliate plans “on repositioning projects located in major knowledge and innovation markets marked by a young, well-educated population and strong employment growth prospects.” That definitely sounds like Seattle to me!

Will Columbia Center sell to the Hong-Kong company? What will this mean for Seattle?

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BearHomeownership Rates for King County,1980-2013