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August 28, 2015

As towers go up, one big site still sitting empty

  • Triad shelved Civic Square in the recession, but the developer applied for a shoring and excavation permit in April, and a construction permit in June.
  • Image courtesy of GGLO and Foster+Partners [enlarge]
    Triad was picked to develop Civic Square after a request for proposals in 2006.

    South downtown has joined Seattle's building boom, with two office towers under construction along Fifth Avenue between Madison and Columbia, and another new mixed-use project on Fourth just announced.

    But one big site — the full block bounded by Third and Fourth avenues and James and Cherry streets — remains undeveloped. It was once home to the Public Safety Building.

    Triad Development, an affiliate of Triad Capital Partners, is planning a 43-story mixed-use project there called Civic Square, with office, housing and retail.

    Triad declined to comment yesterday on the project because of a land use petition brought by an entity related to the Tenants Union of Washington State. The tenants union alleges that the city renewed a master use permit for the project after it had expired, making it ineligible for renewal. The tenants union said the developer must file for a new master use permit.

    Triad may not be talking about the project, but it applied for a shoring and excavation permit in April, and a construction permit in June. Permitting work for the site has been active throughout the summer.

    Seattle-based GGLO and the British firm Foster + Partners are the architects. Permit records show Skanska USA Building is the general contractor.

    Civic Square will be the last piece of the city's 1999 civic center master plan, which led to construction of Seattle City Hall and the Justice Center, and remodeling of Seattle Municipal Tower.

    Triad was selected to develop the Civic Square site after a request for proposals in 2006.

    Triad shelved the project during the recession. Several years ago, the developer resumed permitting and started looking for tenants and financing.

    Triad has a purchase-and-sale agreement to acquire the site, and that deal is set to expire at the end of the year.

    The city would transfer the block to Triad and, in exchange, Triad will build a public plaza with retail and services that the city will own.

    The city values the deal at approximately $25 million, which reflects the value of the plaza and improvements.

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