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April 14, 2015

16-story hotel will share site with Equity's 40-story apartment tower

  • Both structures will be built on a five-level, below-grade parking garage on Second, between Stewart and Pine.
    Journal Staff Reporter

    Image courtesy of WTGBD Architects/Studio216 [enlarge]
    The hotel will have about 230 rooms, and share the half-block site with Equity’s apartment tower, shown here.

    A national developer based in Syracuse, New York, is planning to put a 16-story hotel at Second and Stewart above an underground parking structure that is being built for Equity Residential's 40-story apartment complex.

    The five-level garage will occupy the half block between Stewart and Pine.

    The hotel is being developed by Widewaters Group at 1608 Second Ave., on the north end of the site. Equity Residential is building its tower on the south end. Both structures will sit above the garage.

    Ed Shagen, Widewaters' vice president of hotel development for the western region, said Widewaters and Equity Residential have been working together for about 18 months.

    Equity Residential's tower will take up about half the site, and the company wanted to figure out what to do with the rest.

    The options were to go with a much deeper underground parking structure on just half the site and sell the rest, or go with the five-level structure and find a complementary use for the site next door.

    Equity Residential didn't want another apartment project next door, and a hotel made sense because it won't need parking.

    Jane Lanford, executive vice president and managing director at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, introduced the two firms. She is brokering the agreement between Widewaters and Equity Residential.

    Shagen said Equity Residential planned its project with the hotel in mind. The foundation and structural elements are divided into distinct sections. The northern half was specifically designed to handle the hotel.

    Widewaters is designing its hotel with the apartment building's structural aspects in mind.

    “We've been coordinating for quite some time now,” Shagen said. “We are basically taking it from grade, and what they are putting in works for us because it was made that way.”

    Atlanta-based Hogan Campis Architecture is the architect of record for the hotel. The company focuses on hospitality projects, conference centers, higher education and adaptive re-use. Caron Architecture of Seattle is also working on the hotel.

    Equity Residential's structural engineer, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, did planning for the underground portion of the project, and Widewaters' team verified the details, Shagen said.

    WTGBD, a joint venture of Weber Thompson of Seattle and Portland-based GBD, designed Equity Residential's project. Turner Construction is the general contractor.

    People are scheduled to begin moving into the Equity project by summer 2017. Construction is expected to finish later that year.

    Shagen said Widewaters plans to take control of its portion of the block once the underground parking and structural work is done, which is scheduled for next March.

    Widewaters wants to start hotel construction as soon as possible after that.

    Widewaters will buy the land. Shagen said the work that Equity Residential put into the property will be reflected in the price, but he would not say what it will cost.

    Widewaters will use one of the five levels underneath the hotel for back-of-house operations; the rest will be parking for Equity's apartment tenants. The hotel will contract with a nearby garage to offer valet parking, Shagen said.

    Widewaters hasn't chosen a brand for the hotel yet, but Shagen said it will be “luxury or near luxury.”

    The proximity to Pike Place Market and the downtown core were the major draws for Widewaters. Shagen said the hotel will attract both business and casual travelers.

    Shagen said Equity Residential has been a great partner, and having two high-quality projects on the site will enhance both.

    Though plans for the hotel are still coming together, Widewaters wants restaurant and lobby space on the ground floor, a full floor of meeting space, and a gym with spa areas. The top floor will have a bar and covered outdoor space.

    Shagen said Seattle has become one of the top U.S. markets and a gateway city to Asia. Gateway cities to national and international markets are the best places to invest, he said.

    “The mix of finance and high-tech companies, quality of living, no state income taxes, these are all positives for Seattle,” Shagen said.

    Widewaters is a 35-year-old, family-owned development company that does hotel, retail, office and residential projects. It has properties across the U.S. and Canada.

    Widewaters is about two weeks away from opening its first project in the Puget Sound region: Home2 Suites by Hilton in Tukwila.

    In August, Widewaters will start a 300-room hotel in Portland called Curio by Hilton. It also has projects in Eugene and the Portland suburb of Hillsboro.

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