Seattle developer Security Properties has reopened the Panorama Apartments, located in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood, after a complete renovation of the formerly outdated residential tower that was originally built in 1962.
The 18-story residential tower offers larger than average sized units as well as hard to find three-bedrooms and spacious penthouse suites, which better suit the growing population of families living in Seattle. “We started out with the intention to sub-divide the units, chopping them into smaller units,” said John Gleason, the managing director for asset management for Security Properties. “We quickly realized that with Panorama we could find 179 residents who would value having more space. So we decided to take a gamble and keep the 1962-vintage floor plans, which are so large by today’s standard.”
The entire building was a time capsule
Located at 1100 University Street in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood, Panorama had not been renovated until after Security Properties acquired it in 2014. The developer began renovations immediately, starting on the ground floor and working up, until the top-floor penthouse suites were complete. The $15 million renovation took about a year and a half to complete. Many aspects of the building were preserved, such as the parquet floors and marble windowsills, and new features were designed to maintain the retro look of the original building. New amenities include an outdoor pool deck and entertainment plaza, a social clubhouse with entertaining kitchen, a parlor game lounge and a bike storage and repair center.
According to Gleason, the renovations were extensive. “The entire building was a time capsule, the sellers (who were also the original developers) hadn’t done anything to really bring it into the 80’s, 90’s or even early 2000’s,” he said. “Some of the appliances were original. They didn’t have washers and dryers in the units, there was just a laundry room down in the basement. We vacated the hair salon that was in the lobby and opened it up to provide more community space.”
The 179 new units range in size from a one-bedroom to a three-bedroom with two baths, between 975 to 1,500 square feet, and have asking rental rates from $1,914 to $4,930. There are also four penthouse suites available, averaging 2,400 square feet in size, with asking rates between $9,100 to $9,850.
According to the April 2016 Zumper National Rent Report, the average rate for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,750, placing Seattle as the tenth most expensive city in the country. Miles Garber, a vice president of research for San Francisco-based Polaris Pacific, says the average-sized unit in urban King County is 753 square feet. Using these numbers, the average urban one-bedroom apartment in King County is renting for $2.32 per square foot, which is higher than Panorama’s calculated $1.96 per square.
Garber also says that census data points to an influx of families moving into Seattle, which may be driving a demand for larger units. Between 2010 and 2014, the city experienced a 7.2 percent increase in the number of households with children under the age of 18, which outpaces the 3.6 percent increase in total households during the same time frame. “Digging deeper into the data, it appears that most of the new family households have been renters,” said Garber. “Owner-occupied family households increased only 1.1 percent, compared to renter-occupied family households that increased by 17.5 percent.”
“The three-bedroom, two-bath turned out to be one of our most popular floor plans; almost all 37 are leased,” said Gleason. “They are really remarkably popular with families relocating to Seattle, as well as with roommates that can now divide the rent over three people as opposed to two. We have an interesting mix of tenants that have populated here at Panorama, and I think it’s due to the three-bedroom units that we offer and the larger floor plans.”
Security Properties owns more than 3,000 residential units in the Puget Sound region, which includes all projects that have either opened or are under construction and will be delivered by next summer. One of these is another First Hill project called Kinects, a 357-unit tower that is only blocks away from Panorama and can easily be seen from one of its penthouse balconies. It is scheduled to open May 2017.