Home Commercial Seattle’s Belltown to Become Home to First Taiwanese Urban Green Villa

Seattle’s Belltown to Become Home to First Taiwanese Urban Green Villa

By Kristin Bentley

A Taiwanese construction company is proposing that the Belltown neighborhood become home to Seattle’s first “urban green villa.” Chainqui Development Belltown, LLC (CDB) is proposing to build a 12-story multiuse development that with provide 130,416 square feet of retail and residential “green” space in a Seattle submarket that is working to reclaim its reputation as the city’s hot spot.

Located at 2401 Third Avenue, at the intersection of Third Avenue and Battery Street, Chainqui’s proposal for a 132-residential-unit building would include four levels of underground parking, retail space, terraces and pocket gardens on upper floors, and an open green area to bring in light and air.

“They want to do something better and bring the experience of Taiwan to this market.”

“My client wants to do something not typical here in Seattle,” said Principal in Charge Peter Lian, a partner at Development Services Associates, LLC (DSA). “They want to do something better and bring the experience of Taiwan to this market.”

CDB is the U.S. development subsidiary of Chainqui Construction Development Co., Ltd., a Taiwan-based company that engages in the manufacturing of cement products, as well as subcontracting construction of commercial and residential buildings for rental and sale. DSA is a Seattle-based commercial real estate development and consulting services company that partners with Chainqui in its U.S. endeavors. Seattle-based GWest Architecture is designing the building.

The project is still in Early Design Guidance and will go before the Seattle Downtown Design Review Board for its second meeting in June. Lian says that DSA hopes to begin construction as early as October of this year and to be completed by June 2018.

According to JLL Managing Director David Young, Belltown was the hot neighborhood until around nine years ago. A major problem was that residential units were built straight up, so the area became a “vertical city” without any retail. In order for any submarkets in Seattle to be successful, they must have positive street-level action, Young said.

Fortunately, recent development projects are seeking to address the problem and promote an active street life the area. One of the current requirements of the Seattle Downtown Design Review Board is that new developments provide a streetscape that creates a pedestrian environment. Young says investors are beginning to look at Belltown again.

“Seattle is building a lot of apartments,” said Young. “We’re set to deliver roughly 12,000 per year for the next couple of years. Within that group you’ve got to be different, so this makes sense. I think it’s smart and is going to work.”

Asia-based companies are playing a growing role in providing capital and expertise in the U.S. real estate development arena, according to a recent CBRE report. The involvement by Asian developers is still small compared to their activity in buying existing properties, but it has increased dramatically over the past three years, the report claims.

Chainqui recently purchased a several land parcels last January on Seattle’s Fifth Avenue, where an older 57-unit apartment building and parking lot currently exist. No plans are yet set for those properties.