A number of reports are circulating online, among them this from Connect Media, that the Bartell Building located at 1820 N 45th St has been sold. The building is one among a dwindling number of single-story buildings along 45th where zoning changes approved earlier this year allow buildings of up to 75 feet in height.
The space had been advertised online for a price of $6.875 million in a deal brokered by Newmark Knight Frank a local commercial real estate firm. The sale closed on November 21 for $6.095 million. A search of records at the King County Assessor’s office reveals that the buyer is Gillen Hall Lake East LLC based in Lynnwood which the Secretary of State’s office lists as a “Real Estate and Real Property Investment” business.
Bartell Drugs is one of the oldest locally owned businesses in our area, established in 1890. The Bartell Building on 45th has been in the hands of Bartell Drug since at least the mid-90s. In 1995, it was transferred by George Bartell, only son of the founder, and his wife Elizabeth to Tritell LLC controlled by George’s children, George, Robert and Jean. (George, son of the founder, died in 2009.) It was Tritell that then transferred the deed to Gillen Hall. Bartell now appears to be renting their property back from Gillen Hall under the terms of a lease agreement executed on the date of the sale (November 21).
Internet searches show that Gillen Hall has held and sold quite a few parcels, both developed and vacant, over the years — mainly in Snohomish County. In 2017, Sound Transit purchased 15 parcels for the Lynnwood Link Light Rail extension in a deal involving quite a number of LLCs including Gillen Hall.
I emailed Bartell’s to get their comment on this transaction; they were not particularly forthcoming. A spokeswoman, Hannah Kubiak, said only that the property had changed hands, and Bartell’s was now leasing from the new owner. As to future plans, she said only, “We are still a tenant for the space and plan to remain there.”
Kevin Gillen of Gillen Hall Lake East LLC had more to say. He confirmed that his firm purchased the building from the Bartell family in November and entered into a lease agreement with the drugstore. According to him, Bartell’s has a 10-year lease with an option for 5 more years after that. In the meantime, expect construction. The existing building will be torn down, and a new structure, built to the maximum height allowed under the new zoning rules, will arise. Bartell Drug will, obviously, move out during that phase, but then they will move back in once the new building is completed. As to what may occupy the upper floors, Gillen says there are no firm plans as of yet, but he mentioned a hotel as one possible option.