Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Seattle Owns Excess Properties Worth Roughly $81 Million

by May 3rd, 2011

SUMMARY: A new annual report shows the City of Seattle owns 212 excess properties or groups of properties with a combined assessed value of $80.9 million. Officials stress that appraisals would be needed to better calculate market values. Twenty-two of the 212 excess properties are under review for re-use or disposal and three have been approved by the city council for sale, though none are currently on offer. The highest-valued is Seattle Public Utilities Eastside Reservoir in Bellevue, assessed at $10.8 million; the next highest is Seattle City Light’s Roy Street Shops at $9.8 million. Other high-valued excess city properties include assorted transportation facilities and electrical substations.

BACKGROUND: At the May 3 meeting of the Seattle City Council’s Finance and Budget Committee, the Department of Finance and Administrative Services was to present its Annual Report on Real Property Status. In 1998, the city adopted plans and procedures to evaluate its real property holdings and make determinations to re-use or dispose of property as needed. In 2006 the city council expanded public involvement in the process.


Ferret archive: Property


  • City-owned “property management areas” (PMAs) total 1,196. A PMA may include several adjacent parcels managed as a single unit. They run the gamut from dams in Eastern Washington to community centers in the city to “√∂bscure, odd-shaped parcels surrounded by property belonging to someone else.”
  • By acreage, 99 percent of the city’s PMAs, totaling 10,798 acres, are classified as fully utilized; and one percent totaling 86 acres are considered excess. By number, 80 percent of city PMAs are fully utilized and 18 percent are excess, meaning the department in charge has formally determined the property isn’t required to meet current or future needs. (Other categories make up the remaining two percent).
  • The rough value of the city’s excess properties adds up to $80.9 million. However the annual report cautions the values – mainly from the King County Assessor – are approximate. Actual market values may be higher or lower and would be determined by appraisals which include a closer look at sales of comparable properties and factor in environmental issues, landmark status and other considerations.
  • That said, the city’s annual excess property report does break down the rough value of excess PMAs by category: City Light, $35.2 million; Transportation, $13.5 million; Seattle Public Utilities, $12.1 million; Myers Way, $5 million; Fire Stations, $4.9 million; Housing, $2.4 million; Other, $6.2 million, and Under 3,000 Square Feet, $1.6 million.
  • Currently, the city shows 22 of its 212 excess PMAs as under review for possible re-use or sale, and three of those 22 as having been approved by the city council for sale. None are currently on the market.

The city summary list displays all the excess PMAs by name, address, rough assessed value, informed assessed value, and departmental overseer. Among the most highly-valued excess PMAs are:

  • Eastside Reservoir, 146th Avenue SE and SE 45th Street, Bellevue, $10.8 million, Seattle Public Utilities;
  • Roy Street Shops, 800 Aloha Street, $9.8 million, Seattle City Light;
  • Power Control Center (retired), 157 Roy Street, $3 million, Seattle City Light;
  • Building at 620 Aurora Avenue, $3 million, Transportation Department;
  • Mercer Corridor Parking Lot, 650 Dexter Street, $1.9 million, Transportation Department;
  • Parcel at 911 Aurora Avenue, $1.3 million, Transportation Department;
  • Former Battery Street Substation, 2330 Western Avenue, $1.3 million, Seattle City Light;
  • Avalon Substation, 35th Avenue SW and SW Genesee Street, $1.3 million, Seattle City Light
  • Morningside Substation, 8605 35th Avenue NE, $1.2 million, Seattle City Light
  • Parking at 3819 4th Avenue NE, $1.2 million, Transportation Department;
  • Mercer Corridor Store, 900 Broad Street, $1.1 million, Transportation Department.

UPDATE: Here’s the Seattle Channel video of the staff presentation of the annual report to the Seattle City Council’s Finance and Budget Committee, on May 3, 2011.

Matt Rosenberg is founder and editor of Public Data Ferret, a project of the non-profit Public Eye Northwest.

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