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March 7, 2019
LMC — the preferred moniker for Lennar Multifamily Communities — announced this week that it has started construction on two apartment towers at 1101 Eighth Ave., aka the Town Hall block, just east of the freeway on First Hill. Completion is expected during 2021. The official new name is Ovation.
Perkins+Will designed the two 32-story towers with 548 units, underground parking, and retail/commercial space. JTM Construction was announced as the general contractor.
Permits were obtained last fall. Ovation includes about 6,000 square feet of retail/commercial space, including a restaurant in the west tower.
The project features a 9,000-square-foot public plaza on the northwest corner of the block. Seattle City Council last year approved a vacation of the midblock alley between Seneca and Spring streets. That will become a landscaped woonerf that splits the block and separates the two towers on the south, Spring Street side of the block. There's also a planned east-west pedestrian mews that will connect to the plaza.
Ovation is targeting LEED silver certification. It will contribute a Mandatory Housing Affordability fee of about $3.1 million to the city, in exchange for extra floor area. It also gained extra floor area by paying Town Hall $1.3 million last year for its air rights.
Amenity space in the two towers will total about 17,400 square feet. Units will range from studios to two-bedrooms. There will also be some two-story penthouse units. Rents haven't been set.
The luxury units will include Alexa-enabled lighting, thermostats, window shades and door entry. Both towers will have roof decks and amenities. Ovation will also have a large fitness center, co-working spaces, movie room, pet spa, covered pet run and multiple resident lounges.
Parking for 436 vehicles will be on eight levels below grade, accessed from Hubbell Place, on the west side of the block.
The L-shaped site totals a little under an acre. The entire block is bounded by Seneca and Spring streets, Eighth Avenue and Hubbell Place. Total project size, including the parking, is about 765,000 square feet.
LMC's financial partner is QuadReal Property Group, the real estate arm of Canadian pension fund manager British Columbia Investment Management Corp. BCI bought the parking lots owned by neighbor First Presbyterian Church for $9 million in 2014. QuadReal's portfolio is worth about $27.4 billion, which is part of BCI's overall $145.6 billion portfolio. QuadReal/BCI owned but recently sold, for $35 million, the land at Third Avenue and Virginia Street where Westbank is planning the 48-story First Light condominium tower.
The Ovation team also includes CPL, civil engineer; DCI, structural engineer; MacDonald-Miller, MEP engineer; PFS Studio, landscape architect; Glumac, energy consultant; and Pangeo, geotechnical engineer.
Brad Reisinger, head of LMC's local division, said in a statement, “A plan was crafted to create a great pedestrian experience across the entire block, which then transitions seamlessly to [Freeway Park] and ultimately to downtown. We believe Ovation's sleek cosmopolitan apartment towers and large public plaza will complement Town Hall and the character of First Hill's streetscapes, presenting a one-of-a-kind living experience for our future residents.”
LMC says it has built or is planning about 2,500 units in our area. Coming projects include Valdok Phase II in Ballard, The Bower in Kirkland, and One Marymoor Park in Redmond. Nationally it lists a portfolio of some 23,600 units, which it values at $9.6 billion.
Meanwhile, Town Hall has delayed its reopening by a few months, after extensive renovations begun in 2017. May or June is now the likely reopening date. The $33 million renovation of its landmarked, century-old Christian Scientist church was designed by BuildingWork, and Rafn Co. is the general contractor.
(Editor's note: This article has been revised to reflect that BuildingWork is the architect.)