By Jack Stubbs
Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood is by all accounts an area of the city that continues to evolve as new and in-the-works developments continue to shape the neighborhood by the lake.
“South Lake Union is already one of Seattle’s most walkable, central and vibrant neighborhoods. More growth and density is ahead, which will only make this area more dynamic, with so many exciting and growing employers nearby, bringing luxury homes to the neighborhood and round-the-clock vibrancy to the area,” said Aaron Keeler, director of development at South Carolina-based developer Greystar.
Greystar is soon set to announce the opening of Ascent SLU, a 25-story, 251-unit high-rise residential tower located at 1145 Republican St. in the heart of South Lake Union. The project will feature a mix of penthouses, lofts and one- and two-bedroom units (with rents ranging from $2,400 to $9,280) as well as 8,727 square feet of retail space, a rooftop deck and 89 retail parking stalls. The project team for the Weber Thompson-designed project also includes Susan Marinello Interiors and general contractor Turner Construction.
The hope is that Ascent—which will feature views of the Space Needle and the Seattle skyline—will offer residents a different experience from other high-rise projects in the surrounding neighborhood, according to Keeler. “The project’s location within the neighborhood is special because it’s surrounded by office buildings that are limited to a lower height than residential towers; so Ascent stands significantly taller than the neighboring structures,” he said.
In terms of the potential demographic that Ascent SLU will hope to attract, the residential tower will look to capitalize on the surrounding tech community in South Lake Union. “Numerous influential employers—including Amazon, Google, Facebook, the Fred Hutch Cancer research institute and Juno Therapeutics—have nearby office space, making the commute for those workers especially desirable,” Keeler added.
Over the last few months, there have been several projects announced that are set to cater to the ever-growing technology sector in South Lake Union. In late January 2018, Mortenson Construction indicated that construction was set to begin on the “Amazon Headquarters Campus Hotel,” a 15-story, 283-room project that is developed by San Francisco-based Stanford Hotels. Construction on the hotel project designed by Jensen Fey Architects—and located at 300 Terry Ave. North—is expected to be complete in just under two years. The hotel is located adjacent to Amazon’s South Lake Union headquarters.
Elsewhere, Vulcan Inc. announced that Google would occupy the developer’s Block 36 project, which is a 12-story, 322,000 square foot office building located at 520 Westlake Ave. N. The development is one block away and across Mercer Street from the Lakefront Blocks, located at 625-630 Boren Ave. North, a four-building, mixed-use office campus also developed for Google. When completed in 2019, the project will ultimately include 638,000 square feet of office space, 11,500 square feet of retail and 149 market-rate units. Graphite Design Group and Runberg Architecture Group are also on the team for Lakefront Blocks.
In other news, there are a number of mixed-use residential developments planned for South Lake Union still in their conceptual stages but advancing through the city’s design review process. In early February, Greystar—whose current portfolio of properties includes assets in Queen Anne, Fremont, Belltown, Ballard and downtown Seattle—received positive news about another of its in-the-works projects. On February 28th, the developer’s 28-story, 374-unit residential tower located at 210 8th Ave. N. along the Aurora Corridor was approved at an Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting.
In early March, OneLin Investment’s two-tower project, located at 1916 Boren Ave. in the Denny Triangle area of South Lake Union, was given the green light at an EDG meeting. The proposed undertaking, which will include between 400 and 500 residential units and up to 280 hotel rooms, is comprised of 44-story residential high-rise tower and a 16-story adjoining hotel tower. On March 28th, a a 278-unit development developed by Pillar Properties and designed by Ankrom Moisan (located at 820 John St. adjacent to Denny Park) was approved at a Design Review Recommendation (DRR) meeting.
In mid-June, a two-tower, 14-story project developed by BioMed Realty and located at 700 Dexter Ave. N.—which will ultimately include almost 500,000 square feet of high-tech office/life sciences and laboratory space and nearly 30,000 square feet of ground-level retail—was approved at a DRR meeting. More recently on September 4th, Vulcan’s 44-story, 463-unit 5th and Lenora development located at 2025 5th Ave. in Belltown was finally approved at the third EDG meeting held for the project.