Columbia Pacific, Nuveen Green Capital Lend $89M on Seattle-Area Winery Project

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VP Companies has secured $89 million of construction financing to build a retail winery development in suburban Seattle, Commercial Observer can first report. 

Columbia Pacific Advisors provided a $47 million senior construction loan while Nuveen Green Capital originated a $42 million Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) loan on VP Companies’ planned The Yard in Woodinville, Wash. The six-building, $123 million project is part of an overall 19.1-acre development from VP that will also feature a hotel, apartments and townhomes. 

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David Hutchinson, president and founder of VP Companies, noted that The Yard will be within Western Washington’s wine country where there are now more than 130 wineries roughly 30 minutes northeast of Seattle, in an area that has seen large-scale growth since the COVID-19 pandemic. Hutchinson said tracking data from within a one-mile radius around the Yard development in 2021 showed over 600,000 annual unique visits and an average length of stay of around three hours, according to Hutchinson. 

 “People are out there eating, drinking, shopping and hanging out, and there were multiple return visits calculated in the data,” Hutchinson said. “We were compelled by the fact that it was a unique amenity and compelled by the fact that not only was the demand data driven, but it was anecdotally verified.”

The Yard development will include a three-floor below-ground parking garage with 650 spaces. In addition to the winery, the property will also house Seattle restaurateur Ethan Stowell’s How to Cook a Wolf and Bombo Pizza along with multiple other restaurants. It will also feature Seattle-area brewery Side Hustle and Rustic Cork Wine Bar.

VP acquired the underlying land for the Yard in 2018 for $15 million. Hutchinson said for the construction financing it made sense to team up with Nuveen Green Capital for a C-PACE loan in a higher interest rate environment since this part of the transaction accounted for an 8 percent interest rate compared with the average borrowing cost of 11 percent.

“That’s a 30 percent cheaper cost of capital with no bumps in the road,” said Hutchinson of the lower interest rate for the C-PACE loan over a 30-year term. “The draws are funded as if it’s one lender. It’s a great participation and there’s a good partnership there.”

%name Columbia Pacific, Nuveen Green Capital Lend $89M on Seattle Area Winery Project
An aerial view of The Yard project.

The C-PACE loan will fund the building’s envelope, roofing, windows, insulation and seismic measures. The loan financed 35 percent of the project costs while also “significantly” lowering its weighted average cost of capital, according to Nuveen Green Capital. The project is slated for completion in summer 2025. 

Aidan McLaughlin, associate director, originations, at Nuveen Green Capital’s Portland, Ore., office, said his local knowledge of the momentum in Western Washington’s growing wine country as a Portland resident was a big attraction to joining the deal’s capital stack.

“I understand the market dynamics and I understand how needed these types of projects are and how much demand there is,” McLaughlin said. “A lot more national firms maybe won’t understand it or it will take a little bit longer to understand the value proposition of the deal, and we’re uniquely situated within the capital stack to basically spend more time understanding those different more creative projects.”

Officials at Columbia Pacific Advisors did not immediately return a request for comment.

Andrew Coen can be reached at acoen@commercialobserver.com