Posted: March 10, 2017 by Eli Randel, Director of Business Development
PROFILE OF A LEGEND – THE TECH GEEK, PAUL ALLEN
Paul Allen, the famed co-founder of Microsoft has slowly built a real estate empire through Vulcan Real Estate, a name chosen as a homage to the extraterrestrial humanoid species from Star Trek.
Though lesser known nationally, Vulcan has been a major player in the Seattle real estate scene, one of the hottest markets in the nation. Vulcan is known for the development of South Lake Union, a neighborhood immediately north of downtown Seattle where they have developed 6.3MM SF of residential, retail, biotech, and mixed-use space at a site which can house up to 10MM SF. The Wall St. Journal called the development, “unexpectedly lucrative” which can in part be attributed to the sale of a 1.8MM SF office building to Amazon for $1.16B, marking one of the largest deals ever in the state of Washington. “It’s exceeded my expectations,” Allen said of South Lake Union.
Born in Seattle in 1953, Allen befriended Bill Gates, three years his junior, when he discovered the two had a shared passion for computers. Allen went to Washington State University, but soon dropped out to work as a programmer for Honeywell in Boston where his friend and business partner Bill Gates was attending Harvard University. It was Allen who convinced Gates to quit Harvard and start Microsoft.
The rest, as they say, is history and Paul Allen is now worth an approximate $19.9B. Vulcan Capital and Vulcan Inc. have become a family office of sorts where Allen manages his fortune and philanthropic activities. However, his involvement has not been passive. The computer whiz has shown a passion for property, both commercial and residential, with vast commercial holdings across Seattle and a sizeable residential portfolio of unique homes and land around the world.
Though speculation, as not much is known about the reclusive Allen’s investment style, it’s assumed the Allen has benefited from an engineer’s mind when orchestrating and building the amazing neighborhoods he has been a part of. Additionally, a life-long loyalty and knowledge of Seattle has likely helped the native understand his market more than any outsider could. Market loyalty can be powerful and Steve Allen has shown it in spades.