By Jacob Bourne
A 20,766 square foot waterfront property in the Pioneer Square neighborhood is up for mixed-use development by Urban Visions. According to Broderick Smith, vice president of Urban Visions, the property at 74 South Jackson Street was purchased from Gerding Edlen, a real estate development company based in Portland, for just over $13 million in August of 2016. Gerding Edlen had received entitlements for a planned residential tower at the site it had referred to as “316 Alaskan.” The Urban Visions team decided to scrap the plans abandoned by Gerding Edlen in favor of a smaller office and retail project.
“Our firm has been involved in Pioneer Square for a long, long time and have done many projects in the area,” explained Smith. “We’re very familiar with this district. The site currently has a dilapidated parking garage that’s contributing nothing to the district. The architecture for our project will be amazing. It will be one of the most beautiful buildings in Seattle when we’re done.”
The exact square footage of the project is still yet to be determined but will involve seven stories of office space above ground floor retail. Zoning allows office developments up to 100’ in height in the district. Features include bike parking, showers for employees and very large floor plates. Smith described the rooftop as the most unique amenity similar to the Urban Vision’s development a couple blocks away at 200 Occidental Avenue. The roof top area will include a penthouse, green roof, furnished lounge and entertainment area equipped with ping pong tables. He emphasized that one of the goals is to maximize natural light for the occupants with a high floor to floor ratio and utilization of a side core to maximize the floor plate flexibility. Up to 2 floors of below grade parking will be incorporated into the project.
“We’re trying to maximize the retail square footage to continue activating the neighborhood,” Smith offered. “The retail could be anything but will probably be restaurants. We want something that’s very active, not a bank. The coolest amenity is definitely the rooftop—it will be amazing and a recruitment magnet for companies. The giant floor plates will also be a draw for tech tenants or anyone who wants to be at a strong prominent location on the waterfront. We’ve already received interest in the project. A lot of people are calling about it.”
The proposed project is being designed by Olson Kundig, owned by the well-known Seattle-based architect Tom Kundig. Incidentally, Kundig’s office is also located on Jackson Street and within the line of sight of the project. The design seeks to blend in with the historic feel of the area by utilizing an angular brick facade. The building is evocative of both the modern era and industrial past with a fusion of sleek black panels bordering numerous smaller windows. The retail frontage features tall glass windows and doors inviting a connection between the streetscape and retail offerings. The rooftop design departs from the firm brick vertical elevation and draws the eye to the more contemporary feel and break in massing.
In addition to the waterfront views, the location also has strong access to several bus routes and the Seattle Ferry Terminal. Future tenants of the project will be drawn to nearby retail, restaurants and coffee shops as well as the Occidental Square and UPS Waterfall Garden Park. The area earned a Walk Score of 97 and Transit Score of 100. The Pioneer Preservation Board met on June 7 and heard a presentation about the project by the architectural team.
“It hasn’t yet been approved,” said Smith. “We’ve presented our vision, and we look forward to working with the Pioneer Square Preservation Board to create something amazing for the district.”