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14-Story Hotel to Rise on Site of 131-Year-Old Hahn Building Next to Pike Place Market

Seattle, Hahn Building, Pike Place Market, Stellar Holdings, Green Tortoise, Ankrom Moisan, Graham Baba Architects, HEWITT, Downtown Design Review Board
Rendering Courtesy of Ankrom Moisan Architects

By Meghan Hall

The historic Hahn Building has marked the entrance to Pike Place Market since its construction and has stood for more than 110 years. However, the building’s tenure at the gateway to Pike Place is soon to come to an end, as property owner Stellar Holdings received design approval for a new, 14-story commercial building. The new development, which will include a 154-key hotel and commercial space, will require the demolition of the Hahn Building, a point that the local community emphasized heavily not just at the project’s final design recommendation in February, but at the project’s three previous early design guidance meetings as well.

Located at 103 Pike St., the current Hahn building is home to the Green Tortoise hostel. At the time of Pike Place Market’s founding in 1907, the building was already standing. However, the building’s historic and cultural significance, while apparent to many in the community, remains unofficial. The City has twice rejected landmark nominations submitted by the Seattle community — first in 1999, then in 2014— stating that the building lacks significant associations, architectural characteristics and the prominence necessary to earn landmark status. 

Overall, the new tower will total approximately 76,500 square feet, and will include about 7,000 square feet on the first and second floors, along with a rooftop bar amenity which will be open to the public. Parking is not required for the site. Proposed uses for the lower two floors include retail, the hotel lobby and a restaurant. One residential unit is also included on the third floor.

Rendering Courtesy of Ankrom Moisan Architects

The project team, which includes Seattle-based Ankrom Moisan, Graham Baba Architects and HEWITT’s Landscape architecture team, established several principles to help guide the design of the project throughout the conceptualization and review process. According to project documents, the goal was to produce a new tower that was open, honest, simple and well connected to the development site and surrounding neighborhood. Based on these values, as well as previous feedback from the Downtown Design Review Board and community, several changes were made to the proposed development. The podium bay spacing was adjusted to align with the base of the tower, while a gasket was also added at the third level to respond to concerns about how the development interacted with the adjacent alley.

Updates were also made to the two-story podium, which is distinctive in its design thanks to the use of brick, large operable windows and steel frames. Bay widths were also adjusted to better integrate the podium into the tower design, and an off-center hotel entry will increase visual transparency. The preferred brick color of the podium will be similar to that of the current Hahn building in an effort to pay homage to the Hahn’s presence on the site.

The project received plenty of feedback from members of the community, particularly those who were concerned about the demolition of the Hahn building. Of the feedback presented, community members inquired as to whether or not the design team had explored incorporating the Hahn’s original façade into the design. Others were more critical of the development all together, stating that a project of 14 stories is out of character for the site and surrounding neighborhood context, given that the four corners that indicate entrance to Pike Place have been no taller than three stories since the market began.

The Board, however, was more supportive and recognized the development team’s efforts to provide a modern, cohesive design. The Board strongly supported the distinct two-story podium and base, as well as the  tower and podium connection resolution through the use of a gasket at the east façade. The Board also appreciated the inclusion of metal window systems and the preferred, smooth faced brick material selected. The Board did ask the development team to further refine the façade of the tower, stating that the two-toned window wall was too complex and competed with the design of the podium.

Given the importance of the project site and the impact of the new development, the Board approved the project, but with more than a dozen conditions. Most of the conditions simply asked that the development team maintain various aspects of the project’s design, from materials to certain massing concepts to tower fenestration. With design approval secured, the Hahn’s time marking the entrance to Pike Place is coming to a close, ushering in a new era of status and development for the downtown neighborhood.