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November 18, 2021
When it opens in the late summer of 2022, The Accolade, at 4126 12th Ave. N.E., will join a small but growing number of high-rise student housing projects in the University District.
The Accolade is 21 stories and towers 240 feet above the U District. Inside the art deco inspired black, white and gold facade are 226 units and 597 beds — with floor plans ranging from one to four bedrooms. Greystar is the owner and developer and Weber Thompson the architect, landscape architect and interior designer. Exxel Pacific is the general contractor.
“Designing a high-rise project for students has been a real treat,” Amanda Keating of Weber Thompson, principal in charge for The Accolade, shared.
The student renter base meant that design priorities for the project differed somewhat from Weber Thompson's other luxury high-rise buildings in Seattle. One area in which this plays out is space dedicated to amenities, which, at The Accolade, is larger than typical. Whereas in a more standard luxury apartment there is more focus on amenities in the units, for student housing a big driver is to create community outside the dorm room and to provide ample spaces and opportunities for social engagement and interaction. This means more focus on shared amenities.
“When designing the project we wanted to create a lot of opportunities for getting out of your room whether that be to socialize, to study, or both,” Keating explained.
The Accolade has an entertainment room kitted out with pool and foosball tables, a fitness center and a rock-climbing wall. There is also 5,000 square feet of outdoor space — covered and uncovered — for students to socialize, with features that include outdoor TVs and grills. Most of the outdoor space is on the top two floors of the building and offers “commanding and breathtaking” views of the city and beyond.
Providing areas for study was another key design priority. Study space at The Accolade is expansive. Each room comes with a personal desk but there is also lounge type study areas, a reservable group conference room, and study areas with private carrels and study pods for those wanting privacy but in a communal setting.
The units themselves come fully furnished. Each bedroom has an expansive window, a generous closet and many also offer great views. Due to the transitional nature of student housing, furnishings were chosen for their durability rather than being top market, which is typically the case in luxury buildings.
“Other driving factors of the design were security and efficiency,” Keating shared.
Although The Accolade has ground level communal space outside — including what Keating calls “a front porch” next to the main entrance — none of this is accessible from the street. This was seen as an essential safety element.
“The front porch is really unique and one of my favorite features of the property,” Keating continued. “It provides residents with a place to safely sit and interact with the street scape so that they can feel part of the broader U District community and urban environment.”
The Accolade is three blocks away from the University of Washington campus so there is no parking included — another design feature influenced by the student clientele.
The Accolade provides a model for high-density, high-rise, student housing in the area which is likely to increase following the upzoning of some areas of the U District in 2017. Greystar also owns The M, another high-rise “luxury” student housing tower at 4700 Brooklyn Ave. N.E.
Weber Thompson is currently working with Greystar on the design of the developer's new U District leasing office at 4514 University Way. The office is expected to open at the end of this month and will be offering leasing options for both The M and The Accolade. The Accolade is expected to open next summer in time for the start of the 2022-2023 school year.
Emma Hinchliffe can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.