January 24, 2013
Daniels Real Estate and Stockbridge Capital Group of San Francisco will start excavation this fall for a 43-story tower at Fifth and Columbia that has been on the shelf for nearly five years.
It would be the tallest structure built in Seattle in 20 years.
Kevin Daniels, president of Daniels Real Estate, said he will move forward with construction even if he can't find a tenant because he said he has gotten significant interest from prospects.
The original design for an angular, glassy tower remains, but the developers now want to put a 184-room luxury hotel on the second through 15th floors, below 528,000 square feet of office space.
Excavation and shoring will begin in October. Construction of the 660-foot high rise will start in September 2014, with completion scheduled for July 2016.
The hotel is expected to open by October 2016.
ZGF is the architect. The team also includes engineers Coughlin Porter Lundeen and Arup. The company is negotiating with a contractor.
Daniels said the market has improved over the last year and that led him to dust off the plans. He said growth at Amazon and other companies in South Lake Union is contagious and is generating more jobs all over this area.
“There's going to be an explosion of growth as there has been in South Lake Union, and that's not going to be the only place,” he said. “We believe the CBD will grow as quickly for all the complementary services these employers need.”
Daniels said he wants the tower to be “the address” in downtown Seattle. He said too many buildings downtown have outdated, “cookie cutter” designs.
The bold design of the Fifth and Columbia tower will put it on the map, whether or not people like the look.
“If you look at the buildings on the skyline they are somewhat nondescript,” Daniels said. “There is nothing else that stands out like the Space Needle and makes you say ‘whoa.' That's what we wanted.”
Allyn Stellmacher, partner in charge of design for ZGF's Seattle office, said the look of the building is pragmatic as well as a visual statement. The quarter-block site is bordered by two historic buildings: First United Methodist Church and the Rainier Club. The team needed a way to increase the floor sizes without encroaching on the neighbors.
So Stellmacher said the team decided to “tip” the edges of the building outward. This not only creates the angles, but also extends the corners of the building over the top of the historic structures and gives tenants bigger floor plates.
“It's a great story in how the old parts of the city and new parts can work together to make great architecture,” he said.
The diagonal edges also hold the force-resisting support components all buildings are required to have for earthquakes, Stellmacher said.
Inside, the smaller spans of each floor allowed the architect to eliminate most interior columns.
This reflects a growing trend among tech companies as well as law firms and other service providers for open floor plans that encourage people to collaborate. Floors will have ceiling heights of nearly 10 feet.
Special window glass will let in more natural light, Daniels said, and also help insulate the building. The building will also have solar panels on the roof and a living wall.
Daniels said he expects the design and layout of the building will save tenants as much as 30 percent on energy costs.
The tower will be the fifth tallest building in the city, trailing Columbia Center, 1201 Third Avenue, Two Union Square and Seattle Municipal Tower.
The new building will be on the site of a former church annex that was demolished in 2008 when construction on the project was started.
Work was put on hold later that year. While the development team was looking for tenants, federal regulators shut down Washington Mutual, which vacated 1.6 million square feet of office space downtown. That persuaded Daniels to put the project on hold.