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February 27, 2006

San Francisco developer plans 6th & Wall condos

  • The 34-story, Vancouver-style tower would have 240 units on a quarter-acre site.
  • By JON SILVER
    Journal Staff Reporter

    Image courtesy of Weber + Thompson
    The proposal is dependent on passage of a zoning change that will allow a 400-foot-tall building on the site.

    San Francisco-area developer Levin Menzies and Associates is planning to build a sleek, 34-story glass condominium tower at Sixth Avenue and Wall Street.

    The project would be the first in Seattle for the developer, whose retail, office and residential portfolio is concentrated around San Diego and San Francisco.

    A call to principal Paul Menzies was not returned. But according to the firm's Web site, the developer is seeking to expand its portfolio across the West.

    The tower's architect, Blaine Weber of Weber + Thompson, said the triangular, quarter-acre site is ideal for a "Vancouver-style tall, slender building."

    A proposal submitted to the city of Seattle calls for 29 levels of condominiums, street-level retail, five levels of above-grade parking and five levels of underground parking.

    Weber said about 240 condo units are planned.

    The site, which is bound on the north by Denny Way, is currently home to a parking lot.

    The proposal is dependent on passage of a zoning change that will allow a 400-foot-tall building on the site.

    The building would have a unique vantage point because the site is situated at the edge of downtown, Weber said.

    "It's an interesting location," he said. "It feels like you can touch the Space Needle from there. But also it ... defines the edge of the urban center."

    Dean Jones, who heads Real Estate Applied Logistics, said the site has the makings for a successful project, noting the "phenomenal" views and location at the convergence of four growing neighborhoods — Belltown, South Lake Union, Lower Queen Anne, and midtown.

    "It's becoming far more attractive and very livable, given amenities such 2200 Westlake," he said. Vulcan's nearby mixed-use project will house a Whole Foods supermarket when it opens later this year.

    Jones said the supply of downtown condos is lagging demand, and that is likely to continue drawing developers from outside the area.

    "A lot of the developers responsible for downtown growth are the same that have always been here," he said.

    Outside developers can introduce new product types that have been successful in other places and help the local market to evolve.

    Inspired new developments, Jones said, can both attract local buyers looking to trade up as well as bring in new buyers "who have said it takes that new design or amenity or mixed-use to move here."

    The Seattle design review board will hold a early design guidance meeting on the Sixth and Wall project at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Seattle City Hall, Room L280.


     

    Jon Silver can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.


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