Team Credits City’s Movement on Downtown Action Plan, Public Safety as Key to Its Ability to Advance Permitting and Development of Belltown Project
Seattle, Wash. – May 24, 2023. Seattle-based real estate investment company Washington Holdings today announced the advancement of its multifamily Living Building Pilot Project at 3000 Western Ave. in Belltown with its Early Design Guidance (EDG) project submittal. The submittal of its EDG package represents an important first step toward possible redevelopment of the property and change of use from Office to Multifamily.
The Living Building Pilot Program is part of the City of Seattle’s Climate Strategies. Its objective is to help fundamentally reshape building and transportation systems for a fossil-free future. The Living Building Challenge is a rigorous green building certification program, administered by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), which defines the most advanced measure of sustainability for buildings and landscapes. Seattle Building Code incentives for LBC implementation include an extra 12.5 feet of building height and expedited permitting.
LBC’s goal is to create buildings that:
- Generate more energy than they use,
- Capture and treat all water on site and
- Are made using healthy materials.
If completed, this multifamily project would be Washington Holdings’ second Living Building under the City of Seatle’s pilot program — the first being Liza Eastlake, developed in partnership with Carl Pollard, which is under construction and will open during the first half of 2024.
As part of the Living Building program, Washington Holdings plans to add on-site solar panels (and sponsor off-site solar projects) in a total amount sufficient to effectively offset all electricity used in the building.
The project will exclude natural gas and include various plumbing upgrades to reduce water consumption, along with heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) innovations like reverse cycle chillers. Washington Holdings also intends to make green street upgrades along the building’s Eagle Street frontage, pending Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) approval.
“We’re excited to work with Encore Architects on this Early Design Guidance submittal for what would be our second Living Building,” said Washington Holdings Vice President of Development Steffenie Evans. “Developing across from the Sculpture Park is a wonderful opportunity to engage with art as part of the architectural context for a prospective building, and we hope to create a vibrant new place in the neighborhood.”
3000 Western Ave. is currently home to an older nearly 50,000 square foot office/lab building on 28,800 square feet of land (two tax parcels). The prospective 3000 Western ground-up redevelopment project will include a mix of studio and one- and two-bedroom apartment homes. Washington Holdings expects the project will participate in the city’s Multifamily Tax Exemption Program (MFTE), which sets aside 20 percent of units at below-market rents. “For our city right now, every unit of housing built is important,” added Evans.
“Although there are currently many headwinds and feasibility is not assured, we’re hopeful,” said Washington Holdings Executive Vice President Ben Margoles. “Mayor Harrell’s commitment to improving downtown public safety, streamlining permitting for new projects and ongoing efforts to encourage downtown investment all inspire confidence. We applaud the Mayor’s strong commitment to downtown recovery.”
Acquisition of the property, full entitlements and any construction will not occur until 2025, at the earliest.
Current project team members include Encore Architects, WG Clark (General Contractor), Glumac (MEP and Living Building Consultant), Weisman Design Group (Landscape Architecture), KPFF (Civil), Coughlin Porter Lundeen (Structural) and GeoEngineers (Geotechnical).
The Washington Holdings team has invested over $4 billion in real estate debt and equity since its founding in 2002, primarily in the Seattle MSA and other major west coast markets.