Beverly Hills, CA-based developer H5 Capital, along with Vancouver, B.C.-based VIA Architecture Inc., presented a mixed-use project for the third time last night to the East Design Review Board for the proposed redevelopment of the Seattle Times building in the city’s South Lake Union neighborhood. This time, the project received unanimous approval to move forward.
“The Seattle Times building is one of the most critical data infrastructures in the neighborhood and is one of the few remaining character structures in the area,” said Brian O’Reilly, the architect from VIA that presented the proposed project to the board. “With that in mind, we hope the board agrees that the appropriate time to make these improvements is now.”
The site, which was purchased by H5 Capital in 2011 for $36 million, is located on the corner of John Street and Boren Avenue North at 121 Boren Avenue North. While the area being developed only encompasses a 120’ x 127’ site, it is part of a larger parcel which encompasses the majority of the block bounded by Terry Avenue North, Denny Way, Boren Avenue North, and John Street.
The existing Seattle Times Building, is located at the center of the site and inhabits over 60 percent. It includes the original five to eight-story office building that was built in 1929 as well as a lower addition built in 1965 on the southeast corner, both of which will remain and be incorporated into the new design. The Seattle Times currently occupies three floors of office space, totaling around 140,000 square feet, for 200 employees. Another 300,000 square feet of the building is leased by data center services.
A new 41-story residential tower with available penthouses will be built at the northeast corner of the site, where an existing single-story building will be removed. This tower will provide 433 residential units, 1,800 square feet of retail space on the ground floor with outdoor dining and 244 parking stalls in seven levels of underground parking. Amenities include atriums, greenhouses, solariums, outdoor pool, water features and a garden court with a living wall.
Since the last design review board meeting, the design team made some significant changes to the exterior facade of the building, as well as to its landscaping, which the board was quite pleased to see. After deliberating for almost an hour the board agreed to unanimously approve the project to move forward with a few minor conditions to its facade, such as using a six inch brick depth and maintaining the design shown for the after-hours residential lobby gate that will be created by a local artist.