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Seattle’s Century Building, Site of New Apartment Building, Trades for $10MM to Continental Properties

Continental Properties, ArtsFund, Seattle, GroupArchitect, Queen Anne
Rendering Courtesy of GroupArchitect

By Meghan Hall

While sales volume has been slow as of late, there is one subset of investors who are continuing to close on deals, despite an unclear economic forecast: those with redevelopment projects in the works. Seattle has seen a number of these sales close in recent weeks, including one solidified on July 16th. Seattle-based ArtsFund, a non-profit community arts organization, sold off an office building in Seattle’s Lower Queen Anne neighborhood to 400 Queen Anne LP, affiliated with Continental Properties, for $10 million, or about $694 per square foot. The deal closed just days after Seattle’s Design Review Board gave design approval to Continental Properties to pursue an eight-story, 143-unit apartment building at the property.

The site, located at 10 Harrison Street, but denoted as 400 Queen Anne Ave. N. in planning documents, is currently developed with a 14,400 square foot office building constructed in 1964. The building is casually referred to as “The Century Building.” Project documents indicate that Continental Properties is planning on tearing down the offices to accommodate the new project.

The property is located in a dense residential neighborhood, with a diverse mix of multifamily, commercial, retail and institutional development. The architectural character of the neighborhood includes mostly four- to seven-story midrise buildings, and the project site shares its block with a six-story apartment building, a one-story  commercial building and a ground-level parking lot to the north. Most structures in the area date to the 1950s and 1960s, like The Century Building, and are masonry, wood frame and reinforced concrete. 

According to design documents, the proposed project will include 8,460 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, as well as 137 parking stalls. Designed by GroupArchitect, the building will feature an L-shaped massing with a strong corner at the intersection of Queen Anne Ave N. and Harrison Street. Recessed balconies and upper level setbacks will provide fenestration to help break down the massing of the building.

Brick, architectural grade concrete, as well as aluminum storefronts and textured panels are planned for the exterior finishes at street level, along with metal canopies and synthetic wood soffits. On the upper levels of the building, large glazing areas, synthetic wood accent boards and large windows will be utilized.

Review of the project by the Design Review Board occurred at the beginning of July, as part of an Administrative Design Review (ADR) session. The original design review meeting, scheduled to take place in April of this year, was postponed due to health and safety concerns amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The review board ultimately approved the project, but only allowed the project to move forward under several solutions. The Board asked that the project team further refine the upper level massing of the building, including pulling the east-facing massing back. The Board also asked the development team to reconsider its materials selection, stating that white framing at the corner increased the scale of the building. An overall warmer materials palette with wood planks, cables for vegetation and lighter-colored materials were suggested. Additional suggestions also included integrating the balconies at the strong corner, as well as making the entry into the building more expressive and well-defined.

Over the years, Continental Properties has worked to develop a number of assets in the region, including the Metropolitan Tower Apartments, a 366-unit asset completed in 2001—and purchased back in 2019 for $216 million — and the Tower 12 Apartments, a 314-unit project completed in 2017. The firm is also working to develop 170 units on Roy Street in Seattle, as well as 142 apartments on Lake Street in Kirkland, Wash. Based in Bellevue, the firm has worked to develop more than 4,000 apartment and condominium units across the Pacific Northwest.