Washington state’s privatization of its Prohibition-era liquor distribution business turned another major corner this month. The Department of Enterprise Services said Tuesday it “finalized the sale and closing of the Liquor Control board’s former Seattle distribution center" on Friday for $23.4 million. The buyer is identified as Panattoni Development Co., Inc.
Washington voters took the state out of the liquor business in 2011 by approving Initiative 1183, which was backed by roughly $20 million from the warehouse-style retailer Costco. State run stores ceased to operate in May 2012.
In a news release, DES described Panattoni as a commercial real estate company and said:
At $104 per square foot, this is one of the highest priced warehouse or distribution building sales ever in King County, according to Costar, Inc., a private provider of websites for commercial real estate information, analytics and marketing services.
“The state took a non-productive asset and sold it for fair market value, a notable achievement considering the still recovering real estate market,” said Chris Liu, director of Enterprise Services. “The sale creates new business opportunities in Seattle and provides much needed tax revenue to the city.”
The net proceeds from the sale will be deposited in a state Liquor Control Board revolving fund and will follow the normal distribution of this account.
With passage in 2011 of Initiative 1183 to privatize liquor sales, the 223,227 square-foot distribution center became surplus to the state’s future needs. The Liquor Control Board in early 2012 asked Enterprise Services to help find a buyer for the center.
As part of a pilot project, Enterprise Services ran a contract solicitation to secure a private sector real estate brokerage firm. The successful firm - Kidder Mathews - sent out an offering to potential investors in the local and national market. Proposals were received and evaluated, and negotiations began earlier this year with Panattoni, the top proposer.
The distribution center is on 10.91 acres near the Port of Seattle. It includes 33,324 square feet of administrative offices and 189,903 square-feet of warehouse space. The interior ceiling height in the warehouse is 60 feet.
The state purchased the property in 1947. The distribution center warehouse was completely reconstructed in two phases, in 1999 and 2008.