In little over a year, a lot can change in the development industry in Seattle, and speed is often what separates one company from the rest of the pack. When Holland Partner Group made its $24.4 million investment in three lots in the Denny Triangle neighborhood of Seattle in July of 2018, it was thinking ahead fast.
This week, just over a year after the purchase closed, the company officially broke ground on one of the lots at 2019 Boren where Holland is planning a 44-story tower designed by Seattle-based Weber Thompson in partnership with Cornish College of the Arts and North America Sekisui House.
“This building signifies an extraordinary collaboration between three important entities in South Lake Union district of Seattle, the Holland Partner Group, North America Sekisui House and of course Cornish College of the Arts,” said Raymond Tymas-Jones, Cornish College of the Arts president, as he helped usher the ceremonial turning of the dirt. He was joined by representatives from all three entities and highlighted some of the features of the development.
“On the south side of this building, [we will have] a 180-seat auditorium equipped with an active acoustic system for a truly multi purpose use, digital cinema projection, live streaming and recording. It will be one of the most multi-disciplinary venues that Cornish will be able to offer to all of its majors, both visual and performing,” Tymas-Jones said.
“On the north side of the building, on the corner of Oregon and Lenora, there will be a 2,000 square foot gallery space and supporting area highly visible from the street level. It will be a public-facing arts venue positioned in the heart of the globally known technology hub,” he added.
However, before the excitement of the finished project sets in, there is still lots of work on the ground to be done. “I think what gets lost is the number of lives that this building will touch and how many people it impacts,” said Cole Verner, senior construction manager at Holland Partner Group. “This building will ultimately house 600 people. There will be offices for up to 350 people, and there will be hundreds of people that regularly attend Cornish events in the building.”
But the number of people during the construction phase will also total in hundreds, with as many as 300 at the peak of construction, and over 1,200 people will work on this project at some point, added Verner.
The 44-story mixed-use development will include 393 residential units and 369 below-grade parking stalls, 71 of which would be reserved for commercial uses. The remaining 298 spaces would be for residential use only. The plans also call for 47,675 square feet of commercial office space on three floors and 7,150 square feet of ground level arts facilities. The arts space will be composed of a performing arts center and an art gallery for the school. Indoor and outdoor residential amenities such as roof decks and pool are also included in the plans.
Adjacent to the site is Cornish’s Raisbeck Performance Hall, which was built in 1915. The project team intentionally set back the podium level from the property line, and the remaining tower will be built on toward the north of the site in an effort to minimize the impact the size of the development will have on the hall. Along Lenora St., the first floor will be recessed to provide weather protected terraced seating. Behind the seating area will be an art wall that will highlight art exhibits created by Cornish, while three-dimensional art will be placed on podiums along Lenora St.
Designer Blaine Weber, principal of Weber Thompson added, “This particular 44-story tower is spectacular on many levels. First of all, the tower anchors the gateway to the Cornish campus with a lush and very human green street design solution…the ground plane incorporates, as Raymond indicated, a performing arts theater, a gallery and an outdoor sculpture garden and performance stage that will be populated by revolving art designed by Cornish students and used for occasion outdoor performances.”
Weber also confirmed that the top of the podium and rooftop of the tower will contain what the design team calls its ‘fifth elevations,’ lush garden terraces and spectacular indoor and outdoor amenity packages that will serve the residents of the tower as an extension of their living spaces.
“Unlike many downtown highrise condos, residential towers in particular, that have parking on the first four levels above grade, this podium will contain flexible commercial office space with a very crisp and distinctive but playful curtain wall cladding with a horizontal flavor,” Weber added.
“The students, faculty and staff, alumni as well as the board of trustees are extremely excited about having spaces that encourage public access and interactions,” said Tymas-Jones as he and the development and design team took their first crack at shoveling dirt and making the start of construction.