By Meghan Hall
Just over a year ago, New York-based developer Masterworks Development Corp. purchased 1405 5th. Ave., formerly home to Chase Bank, in downtown Seattle for $12.4 million. Masterworks wasted no time in submitting plans to construct a 14-story, mixed-use structure on the site and is now moving through the City’s design review process. Partnering with Ankrom Moisan Architects, the project team presented its designs to the Downtown Design Review Board at the end of March, for which it received approval from the Downtown Design Review Board to proceed with the rest of the permitting process.
Masterworks plans to construct a nine-story hotel with 270 rooms along with three levels — totaling 70 units — of residential located above the hotel. 24,000 square feet of street-level uses facing both 5th Ave. and Union St. are planned for levels one, two and the basement. Plans for commercial space also alot for a restaurant on the second level, which will be open to the public. Separate lobbies for both the hotel and residential units will both be located off of Union St.
The current Chase Bank building, constructed in 1941 and Turgeon Raine, a jeweler, will be demolished to make way for the new building. According to design documents, the project’s design will be shaped by its internal functions and respond to urban patterns and the downtown retail core. The design team also sought to respond to the massing of the adjacent Motif Hotel, whose windows are located along the north property line of the proposed project.
The massing of the proposed building would be set back 15 feet from Union above 35 feet in order to bring relief from the north face of the Rainier Square skyscraper. Ankrom Moisan states in the design documents that beginning the setback at a lower level will allow for more space, light
The development team requested two departures for the project, both dealing with various setback requirements. In the first request, Masterworks and Ankrom Moisan have asked to bypass the required setback above 85 feet on the building’s east façade along 5th Ave. In design documents, Ankrom Moisan explained that a setback halfway up the building has no precedent and would inhibit the simple massing of the building. The second departure would set back the façade at the second level in greater amounts than is required by zoning. The increased setback would allow for a terrace that would allow for increased activation and a better pedestrian experience, said Ankrom Moisan in the plans.
The Board was generally supportive of the overall design and was also appreciative of the project team’s decision to reach out to Motif, believing that communication between both sets of property owners would make the buildings more successful. The Board also unanimously supported the activation of the upper podium, but did ask for clarification as to how the hotel lobby would be activated and how the retail spaces would function within the building.
With the Board and community behind them, Masterworks and Ankrom Moisan will move forward with applying for a Master Use Permit and remaining land entitlements.