By Kristin Bentley

Altitude2The San Francisco-based hotel developer, Stanford Hotels, received an approval from the city’s design review board on Tuesday for its newest Seattle project, the 49-story Altitude Hotel & Residences.

Located in the city’s downtown neighborhood at 1903 Fifth Avenue, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Stewart Street, the 500-foot mixed-use tower was designed by MG2, an architecture firm that recently moved its headquarters to Seattle. The tower has 209 hotel rooms above 236 apartment units. In addition, there will be approximately 10,000 square feet of hotel amenities and restaurants, including a rooftop bar overlooking the Puget Sound, and 3,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor that is anchored by a sidewalk café.

It’s very central and within walking distance to the convention center, Pike Market and anywhere else you would want to be

“It is a terrific site for a hotel,” said John Gordon, a senior vice president for Kidder Mathews. “It’s very central and within walking distance to the convention center, Pike Market and anywhere else you would want to be.”

Across the street from the Times Square Building, the proposed project shares a block with the Centennial Building, luxury condominium tower Escala, and proposed 500-foot mixed-use tower Fifth and Virginia. It is also in close proximity to the Amazon Headquarters Campus, where Stanford Hotels has the 15-story Marriott Seattle South Lake planned.

“Demand is super high for lodging right now, particularly in the Central Business District,” said Gordon. “Seattle, Portland, and even Bellevue are experiencing very high occupancy rates. The great debate is about just how strong demand is. For the last three years, downtown Seattle has had the lowest occupancy in its history. So it’s obvious that we do need new hotels.”

Hotel construction is accelerating in and around Seattle, according to Kidder Mathews’ 2016 second quarter Seattle Hotel report. Eleven hotels have opened in the tri-county area within the past 18 months, 20 are under construction and more are proposed. The report states that developers have been attracted by high rates of occupancy and the recent rapid growth in room prices. Hotels in Downtown Seattle are into their fifth year of record occupancy, with the upscale tier expected to record an average occupancy rate of 84 percent in 2016.

R.C. Hedreen Company has a new convention hotel underway, known as 808 Howell Street, on a site near the Washington State Convention Center and the proposed project. The hotel will provide 1,260 guestrooms, several restaurants, retail space and 100,000 square feet of meeting space, making it the largest lodging property in the Pacific Northwest, according to the same report.