That the Seattle skyline this year has been dominated by construction cranes is not a mirage. In fact, there are 48 projects currently under construction, according to the latest development guide produced by the Downtown Seattle Association and Metropolitan Improvement District, 22 of which are concentrated in the South Lake Union and Denny Triangle districts.
The projects range from biomed facilities to residential towers; 31 of the projects are residential apartment complexes, ranging from 24 to 707 units (Seattle currently has an apartment vacancy rate of 3.4 percent, which is precipitating the construction activity in that segment).
In the first six months of 2015, 20 projects broke ground and 24 finished construction.
One of the larger residential projects, Cirrus, is in the last stages of construction and inspection, and completion is set for the end of October. The $67-million, 40-story property, located in the Denny Triangle at 2030 8th Ave., features 355 units, from studio to three-bedroom penthouse apartments, ranging in price from $1,875 to $7,000 per month. There are also three below-ground parking levels with 240 stalls and 4,000 square feet of retail. GID Development Group is the developer, Weber Thompson is the architect and Sellen Construction Co. is the general contractor.
Elliott Krivenko, head researcher at the Downtown Seattle Association, highlighted the top five largest and most expensive construction projects currently underway in the city, and they are, in order:
* Insignia Towers. The first phase of this $450-million condominium development will feature the first of two 41-story towers that will open later this year and includes 350 one- and two-bedroom units; in all, the project will have 707 units, 1,000 parking stalls and 23,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. Located on the Denny Triangle block surrounded by Battery and Bell streets and 5th and 6th avenues, Insignia is the first condo project to be built in Seattle in five years. Bosa Development Corp. of Burnaby, B.C. is the developer of the project as well as the general contractor; the architect is Perkins & Co. Architecture and Urban Design of Vancouver, B.C.
* The Mark. This $400-million, 44-story high-rise in the retail core neighborhood, formerly known as the Fifth + Columbia Tower, will feature 528,000 square feet of Class A office space and a boutique SLS Hotel on floors 2-15. Also part of the project is a portion of an adjacent historic church (First United Methodist), which will be converted into an upscale restaurant headed by James Beard Award winning chef Jose Andres. ZGF Architects designed the office portion and French designer Philippe Starck is handling the hotel. Daniels Real Estate of Seattle, the development manager of the project, said LEED Gold certification is the goal for the core, shell and interiors. Completion is set for April 2017.
* Stadium Place East (Phase 1). The Stadium Place redevelopment project is located on two blocks that border Occidental Ave., Third Ave. and King St. in the historic Pioneer Square area, and was previously used as a surface parking lot for nearby CenturyLink Field. This $300-million project on the eastern block will feature a 23-story Embassy Suites Hotel, 16,000 square feet of retail and a 376-stall parking garage. Completion is set for the third quarter of 2017. American Life Inc. of Seattle is the developer, Freiheit & Ho is the architect and SODO Builders is the general contractor. Residential and office buildings will round out the overall project in future phases.
* Troy Block. Incorporating two historic buildings in the South Lake Union neighborhood, this $285-million project features 817,000 square feet of office space in two L-shaped towers plus a 5,000-square-foot conference center, 4,000 square feet of retail space and 1,120 parking spaces. The project, which is due for completion next summer, is located on a full city block surrounded by Fairview Ave., Thomas St., Harrison St. and Boren Ave. The developer is Seattle-based Touchstone Corp., architect is Perkins + Will and contractor is Lease Crutcher Lewis.
* The Gallery (Phase 1). Amazon continues its office expansion plans with this $260-million, 1-million-square-foot project in the Denny Triangle district at 2021 7th Ave. that will be completed later this year. Amazon’s overall plan is to build more than 3 million square feet on three city blocks, including three 38-story office high-rises, two mid-rise office buildings and a multi-purpose meeting center seating 1,800 people. Phase 1 includes a 38-story high-rise and a five-story building as well as parking for 1,074 vehicles. Amazon is the developer on the project, NBBJ is the architect and Howard S. Wright is the general contractor.
The DSA/MID development report concludes: “Catalyzed by a strong economy with companies like Amazon, Expedia, Facebook, Weyerhaeuser and others moving to downtown or growing their downtown Seattle workforce, the current growth in population and jobs and the development that comes with that shows no signs of slowing down.”