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March 26, 2012

A second tower on First Hill for Alecta

  • The Swedish pension fund adviser wants to build 204 units at Boylston and Seneca, and 332 units at Terry and Jefferson.
    Journal Staff Reporter

    The Swedish pension fund adviser Alecta plans a 23-story, 204-unit apartment building at Boylston Avenue and Seneca Street on Seattle's First Hill.

    The complex will also have 1,475 square feet of commercial space and four levels of below-grade parking, according to plans filed with the city by Alecta Real Estate USA LLC.

    The proposed tower is not far from a site at 504 Terry Ave. where Alecta also plans to build a 25-story, 332-unit apartment project.

    Construction could start next year on both high-rises, depending on the market and permitting, said William Justen of The Justen Company. He is project manager on Seneca Street, and John Schwartz of Keller CMS has that role on Terry Avenue. Weber Thompson is the architect on both projects.

    Alecta will look at the economy and apartment demand and supply in deciding whether to start construction, Justen said.

    While Seattle has strong job growth, there is some concern apartments may get overbuilt in the city, he said. “You don't want to start building if you think there's going to be an over-supply when you complete it.”

    Justen said the pension fund hopes to have master-use permits for the developments by the end of the year.

    Alecta purchased the quarter-block Seneca site for $4 million in late 2010. In 2007, a Lake Stevens development company, Barclays North, paid $11.5 million for the 14,400-square-foot property that's now a parking lot. Barclays had planned a luxury condo project called SkyGarden there, before lenders took the property back.

    Alecta manages around $74 billion and has been targeting urban infill sites in global gateway cities.

    In the last year it has been buying properties on First Hill, which is near hospitals and the downtown core.

    Besides the Terry and Seneca sites, it purchased a small surface parking lot at 812 Eighth Ave. and an abutting quarter-block site zoned for high-rise housing.

    Justen declined to say why Alecta has focused on First Hill.

    “Clearly they like Seattle,” he said.

    First Hill saw a number of new projects in the last development boom. Among them is the 7th & Madison complex, where the Polyclinic medical group plans to relocate more than 500 employees starting this spring.

    A few blocks away at 1200 Madison St. Holland Partner Group is slated to open a 17-story apartment tower called Coppins Well in July. The building has 237 units.

    Also on First Hill at 802 Seneca St. Laconia Development plans a 31-story, 323-unit apartment building. The developer had proposed condos on the site before that market crashed.

    Early design guidance meetings on Alecta's Terry Avenue and Seneca Street projects are tentatively scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively, on May 2 in Seattle University's Casey Building at 901 12th Ave.


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

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