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Design Proposal for 100-Story Mega Skyscraper Approved

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By Kristin Bentley

The design of the “mega” skyscraper 4/C, planned for the corner of 4th and Columbia in downtown Seattle, was approved Tuesday night by the Seattle Downtown Design Review Board. The proposed 1,029-foot-tall, 100-story mixed-use tower will not only be the tallest in Seattle, surpassing the neighboring Columbia Center, it will be the tallest on the West Coast.

Developed by Miami-based Crescent Heights and designed by LMN Architects, based in Seattle, the proposed building would have a total of 1.2 million square feet in leasable space split between 1,200 apartments, 150 hotel rooms, office space and retail. Crescent Heights bought the half-block property for $48.8 million in September 2015.

Concerns that the building’s original proposed height of 1,111 feet, would affect air traffic from nearby Boeing Field and Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, prompted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to further review the project. In early January of this year, the FAA sent a “notice of presumed hazard” to Crescent Heights regarding the original 102-story building, and recommended the developer reduce the height to 965 feet. The FAA was also concerned the tower crane required for the skyscraper’s construction would interfere with helicopter operations at nearby Harborview Medical Center, resulting in a temporary closure of the hospital’s helipad.

The proposal was downsized again from 101 to 100 stories early last month, reducing the amount of residential units by 100 rooms and removing half of the proposed hotel rooms. This new design was submitted to the board last night and received a unanimous response of support. Slight changes to the exterior of the building were suggested, but changes to the parking structure, façade, and podium were strongly supported. “They (LMN Architects) have addressed every issue. I think they’re onto something here, with a great design agenda,” said Gundula Proksch, member of the Downtown Design Review Board.

Strong public support was also present last night as residents voiced their opinions of how the new skyscraper will affect the city of Seattle. “If that tower is available to rent I’m going to move into it, and I’m going to free up a space in an apartment building somewhere in Seattle for someone else,” said one resident. “And that space that gets freed up in that apartment building for someone else is going to free up a space for someone else. And eventually, it’s going to free up a space for someone in the bottom socioeconomic ladder in this town. We know we need more housing in this town, and I really think that iconic tower is the answer.”

“I represent the people who build structures, who will build this structure, and give people places to live,” said another resident, a constructional electrician. “It will give people opportunities at getting into apprenticeships and into our construction crafts that provide living wages and standards of living that will help bring people up into the middle class.”

The Seattle-based LMN Architects was named the winner of the 2016 AIA Architecture Firm Award. The annual award is the highest honor the AIA gives. AIA will formally recognize LMN Architects at the 2016 AIA National Convention in Philadelphia in May 2016.