By Meghan Hall
Members of the Seattle Unity Church at 200 8th Ave. in downtown Seattle are in the midst of a move — one that will take them to temporary new digs on Yale Avenue. After decades of calling its 8th Avenue location home, the move is prompted by the sale of part of Unity Church’s existing property, which was purchased by multifamily and collegiate housing investor and developer Greystar in a transaction that closed on July 24th. Greystar acquired the property from Seattle Unity Church for an even $20 million.
“We value the opportunity to collaborate with trusted partners Unity Church, Turner Construction, Weber Thompson Architecture, KPFF Engineers, City of Seattle and Olson Kundig for this highly anticipated project, and we appreciate the support for a site that will serve as a vibrant center for community life in downtown Seattle,” said Aaron Keeler, Senior Director of Development at Greystar, in a statement to The Registry on Monday.
According to the Seattle Unity Church website, the sale covers the northern two-thirds of the property at 200 8th Ave. N. The church had first considered selling the adjacent parking lot back in 2012, and the decision to sell was further prompted by significant improvement costs for the church’s existing building. With the revenue secured from the sale, Seattle Unity plans to construct a new church on the remaining third of the 8th Ave. site.
The sale of the property was dependent upon Greystar’s obtainment for a Master Use Permit to construct a new high rise at the site, stated Seattle Unity Church in a July 3rd blog post. Greystar plans to build a 28-story tower called The Waverly that will include 374 residential units and totals 427,266 square feet. 286 below-grade parking stalls, residential community space, outdoor terraces, a sports court and outdoor lounge area are also part of the proposed plans. Demolition and excavation of the site will begin late this summer or early fall. The tower is designed by Weber Thompson.
The original Seattle Unity Church was constructed in 1960; the new church campus, which will be located adjacent to Greystar’s tower, will be made of modern materials, including brick, glass metal and stucco. Construction of the church is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2020, and the building will be approximately 7,220 square feet in size. Seabay Building Group will be Seattle Unity’s general contractor for the new church project.
The project is one of a few developments in downtown Seattle in which parishes are partnering with a mix of public institutions and private developers to bring to updated community gathering spaces — as well as housing and commercial space — to underutilized or outdated parcels. At the end of July, Trinity Parish and Caydon U.S.A. received design approval to move forward with a 226-unit tower that will also provide 31,330 square feet of space at the pedestrian level for church uses. While Caydon U.S.A. will own the tower, Trinity has retained its rights to the land, which also includes the original Trinity Church next door, built in 1892.
Seattle Unity Church held its final services at the site in May of this year and has since been preparing for its move. Until the new church is constructed, Seattle Unity will be housed at 500 Yale Ave. N., a WeWork office in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle.