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October 16, 2014

Urban Visions hires NBBJ for new tower

Journal Staff Reporter

Urban Visions has selected NBBJ to design a tower at Second Avenue and Marion Street, said Greg Smith, the firm's founder and CEO.

Smith said his firm is starting the permitting process for the building, which will have about 1.1 million square feet of office space and include retail.

The Metropolitan Grill, which is now on the site, will be part of the mix.

Smith said his firm is studying whether to include housing, likely condos, on the top floors.

The firm had filed plans earlier this year to build up to 77 stories, but will come out with a revised plan soon — after it decides on the housing.

No construction date has been set.

Ryan Mullenix with NBBJ is the lead designer. Magnusson Klemencic Associates is the structural engineer.

Urban Visions is also developing an office building in Pioneer Square as the new headquarters for Weyerhaeuser Co. In Seattle, the developer also plans a tower at Second Avenue and Pike Street, and a 1.1 million-square-foot campus called Stadium East near CenturyLink and Safeco fields. NBBJ is the architect for the campus. Mithun is designing the Pioneer Square building at 200 Occidental; and Olson Kundig Architects and Ankrom Moisan Architects are designing the Second and Pike project.

Smith said both the tower at Second and Marion, now named 888 2ND, and Stadium East will be iconic projects.

Stadium East will have seven buildings that range from 120,000 to 420,000 square feet and there will be ground-level retail. He said Urban Visions soon will start design work on that project.

Daniels Real Estate and Schnitzer West are developing office towers near the planned Second and Marion project.

Smith said the other projects won't have water views like 888 2ND will because “there's nothing in front of us.” He said they will be “background buildings.”

The developer said 888 2ND and Stadium East will be designed to encourage workers to be productive and creative, and to make it easier for companies to recruit them.

Older office buildings don't have the systems, bathrooms and elevators to accommodate the increasing number of workers per square foot that companies are putting in offices, nor do they have the high ceilings, natural light and operable windows, Smith said. The office projects Urban Visions plans are being designed for the next generation of users, he said.

South Lake Union has been an epicenter of development for a number of years. Smith said that energy is expanding south in the city, as more housing gets created and more companies set up shop there. The area also has good transit and less traffic than South Lake Union, he said.


Lynn Porter can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.

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