OLYMPIAN — Washington state's privatization of its Prohibition-era liquor distribution business turned a major corner this month. The State Department of Enterprise Services said in a release Tuesday that it "finalized the sale and closing of the Liquor Control Board's former Seattle distribution center" on Friday to a buyer identified as Panattoni Development Co., for $23.4 million.
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 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, in the release. "The sale creates new business opportunities in Seattle and provides much-needed tax revenue to the city."
The net proceeds from the sale of the 223,227-square-foot building will be deposited in a state Liquor Control Board revolving fund and will follow the normal distribution of this account.