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June 25, 2015

A Seattle first: luxury hotel coupled with offices

  • Daniels Real Estate added a hotel to its office project after realizing the building had many features sought by luxury hotels.
    Daniels Real Estate


    In Seattle, we have hotels coupled with luxury private homes but we don’t have a luxury hotel coupled with Class A office space. In fact, it’s a rare coupling in the world of design and at Daniels Real Estate, we believe that Seattle is the place to make the mark.

    In 2017, we will open The Mark, an all-encompassing, mixed-use tower that will blend the sophistication, decor and amenities of a hospitality platform with Class A view office space.

    Originally designed as a single-use office tower, we realized early on that the building’s physical features meet many of the “must haves” for a luxury hotel. Although there was a lot to bring together, savvy internal design focused on form and function with more shared physical features than we originally thought.

    Shared lifestyle amenities

    Images from Daniels Real Estate [enlarge]
    The Mark is a 43-story tower with an SLS Hotel topped by 528,000 square feet of office space.

    To successfully incorporate a luxury hotel atmosphere with both exclusive and shared spaces, the office space had to be designed as a lifestyle tower. Form and function were important throughout the entire design to blend the two uses and curate an environment that supports a luxury hotel experience while providing the professional quality environment and productivity that businesses are looking for in today’s office space.

    As we are all spending longer hours in the office, easy access to amenities matters. A luxury hotel offers many amenities that both visitors and employees can use.

    Once you reposition your notion of an office tower, the combination of a hotel and office tower have many shared lifestyle attributes: cafes that serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in sophisticated and niche settings for private meetings; and easy access to spa and fitness facilities, evening fine dining and nightlife. The office tower will have an elevated sense of style that will make it feel more like a second home.

    And, while hotel guests will have some exclusive spaces and services, so will the office tower. Why not? For example, we will have a dedicated office amenity floor featuring a tenant lounge with couches, televisions and a library; a fitness facility; conference rooms; and a concierge (borrowing from the hotel industry).

    Shared physical features

    Open, creative floor plans. The exterior seismic bracing that was designed to enhance structural safety also provides column-free floor plates. With a floor-to-floor height of 13.5 feet (the highest in Seattle) and no columns or obstructive bracing within the spaces, the architecture provides open, dynamic spaces that hotels seek in their creative plans and heavy build-outs. This also provides greater build-out flexibility for the office floors.

    Light. No one wants to stay at a dark, dim hotel. For many of us the first thing we do is open the curtains, take in the view and let in the light. The architecture of The Mark allows for 9.5-foot windows — one and a half times the height of typical office spaces. Just as every room in the hotel will be flooded with natural light so will the office spaces, delivering a healthier work environment and productivity.

    A dedicated office amenity floor will have a lounge with couches and much more.

    Technology. We know that in order to attract tenants in Seattle, you must provide the latest in technology. But this is also true for hotels when competing for clientele. For example, as hotel visitors shift from laptops to tablets, they must have the ability to stay mobile with high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and even beyond the hotel’s boarders. Employers are looking for the same flexibility for their employees. Just like hotel guests, employees will be able to take their laptops or tablets to any part of the tower to collaborate and work.

    Sustainability and beyond

    More and more hotels are leaders in the conservation movement with marketing campaigns geared toward using less energy and water. In addition, hotel visitors often want to be located midtown in order to walk to cultural destinations or use alternative forms of transportation. These are the same attributes that millennials are seeking in office spaces.

    The Mark is environmentally conscious top to bottom — from the solar glass panels that crown the architecturally stunning design to the living wall at its base — and will offer one of the greenest office and hotel spaces in the city.

    The most notable and sustainable feature of the project is the preservation of the former First United Methodist Church sanctuary. Founded over 100 years ago as the First United Episcopal Methodist Church, the sanctuary reflects our commitment to preserving Seattle’s rich past while also drawing inspiration from it. In its next incarnation, the hall will be home to a Jose Andres inspired events venue — a historic place of communion reimagined and reinvigorated for new generations of Seattleites.

    From a sustainability perspective, I am a firm believer that the more mixed-use buildings we design, the more vitality we bring to our local downtowns or urban cores.

    The days of a “business district” or a single-use building should be seen as an antiquated planning notion. It kept parts of our city dark and quiet at night, others sleepy during the day, undervaluing the city’s real estate and physical spaces. By mixing the uses and sharing spaces with untraditional uses, we are creating more social interaction and new economic opportunities.

    Kevin Daniels is president and a majority stockholder of Daniels Real Estate.

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