Eleven years into this venture that is Urban Renaissance Group, it is clear that our values animate and clarify what we do. Integrity, Respect, Place and Prosperity are those values. We act with integrity in all matters at all times. We respect others even when their opinion may differ from our own. We create great places that build healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities. We drive economic prosperity for our investors, employees and communities.
Fidelity to these values have made us successful and have made a positive impact on the communities we serve. This is just the beginning of what we intend to achieve, based on these values.
URG has come a long way in its first 10 years. This October, we celebrate our many successes and the growth we’ve had since 2006 when we were just 3 people in a small office at Columbia Center. We’ve had tremendous growth in the last 4 years alone, doubling our operating platform to reach 10,000,000sf and expanding our team by over 600%. All of these successes would not be possible without the exceptional work of the URG team and the many partners who have invested with us along the way.
I would like to personally thank each team member and partner who has helped us contribute to the re-urbanization of America.
Starting 2016 with major milestones
In January of 2016, URG acquired the operating platform of Langley Investment Properties, which includes the oversight of 1.4M square feet of office space. This acquisition has increased our Portland presence to 2.1M square feet.
With this transaction, URG achieved the milestone of a 10M square foot operating platform. This includes office, retail and hotel in Seattle, Portland and Denver. Touchstone, our development company, continues to execute on our development pipeline which includes three hotels and 1.6M square feet of office space. The Hilton Garden Inn and Hill7 were both delivered in 2015. Additionally, we have already leased 1.2M square feet of the office space being delivered in this pipeline.
2015 was a great year for the company. The growth has allowed us to hire and promote more people, and we now have over 150 wonderful URG teammates.
Looking forward to a prosperous 2016.
It is a great time to be in the Seattle Market
After acquiring Touchstone in December of 2014, we have delivered both Hill7 Office and Hilton Garden Inn in the Denny Triangle. We have leased 1.2 million square feet of office space in those platforms, including NorthEdge and Troy Block.
In September 2015, Gaw Capital Partners closed on Columbia Center and chose URG as the Operating Partners.
Then in late October 2015, with a partner, we acquired SeaTac Office Center; this Class A 550,000 square foot asset is within walking distance of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the Link Light Rail Airport Stop.
What’s next? Stay tuned…
AS THE SAYING GOES, IT'S GREAT TO END the YEAR ON A HIGH NOTE.
For us at Urban Renaissance Group, we couldn’t have planned a better end to 2014.
A few days ago, we acquired Seattle-based development firm Touchstone, one of the most active developers in the city with an enviable 30-year legacy of successful urban projects.
In addition to expanding our operating platform, we’ve made strategic investments in 1.6 million square feet of existing Touchstone office developments in great locations throughout Seattle, further expanding our product mix beyond office and retail into the hotel product.
A deal like this is rare – and it’s especially exciting for us because it gives us a complete operating platform and aligns us with a very strong brand that has the same mission as we do – to make a difference in the renaissance of urban environments.
You can read more about the announcement here.
And here’s to a great 2015.
A Glimpse Back & A Look Ahead
Last year was monumental for the Urban Renaissance Group. Our work on the 7th and Madison deal in Seattle earned us the 2012 “deal of the year” award from the National Association of Office and Industrial Properties (NAIOP) Washington Chapter. This is a great honor – one that we’ve been bestowed for two years running.
Last fall, our firm also entered a dynamic new chapter with the investment of $200M in URG from the Joshua Green Corporation. This investment allows us to leverage nearly $1B in capital and a robust platform that will help us expand our work into new markets and deepen our presence in Seattle, Bellevue and Portland. We closed on our first acquisition in this new venture with the purchase of the 5 Centerpoint building in Lake Oswego, OR for $19.5M.
This year, the office market outlook in Seattle/Bellevue continues to improve as we enter a more normalized market with rising rents, declining vacancies and the potential for office development.
Nationally, the ‘urban renaissance’ continues, as cities continue evolving as more walkable, vital, amenity rich environments. At URG, our vision continues capitalizing on this evolution, with the understanding that the City is the Future.
PUBLIC RECOGNITION OF ORGANIZATIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS
IS ALWAYS A WONDERFUL SURPRISE
Our firm has been fortunate in that regard and appreciative of this recognition in recent years. Less than a month ago, we were recognized by the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of Washington State’s Fasting Growing Private Companies. We enjoy being in such fast company–and being the only commercial real estate company on that list.
In addition, we have received three distinguished awards from our state’s National Association of Office and Industrial Properties (NAIOP) chapter since the founding of the company just six short years ago. We were awarded Renovation of the Year (2009) for the Joshua Green Building’s historic redevelopment. In 2011, we won Real Estate Deal of the Year for the purchase of Seventh and Madison with HAL Real Estate, and for the immediate lease of the entire building to the Polyclinic. And in November, we were honored to win Deal of the Year again – this time for the simultaneous aquisition and lease of the 1600 Seventh Avenue building.
The affect of such recognition is a public compliment to our team members, and the increased motivation to raise the bar on future performance.