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December 4, 2015

Wright Runstad plans 2017 start for $600M Rainier Square project

Renderings courtesy of NBBJ [enlarge]
Rainier Square from the corner of Fourth and University. The 12-story hotel is in the foreground, and the office and residential tower is behind.

The tower will have more than 750,000 square feet of office space and about 200 apartments.

Wright Runstad & Co. plans to start construction in early 2017 on the nearly $600 million redevelopment of Rainier Square, including a new 58-story tower.

The Seattle firm said in a press release that the Seattle Department of Planning and Development has approved the master use permit. If the decision is not appealed within 14 days, the permit will be issued.

Wright Runstad is developing the project for its own account on land owned by the University of Washington under an 80-year ground lease. After that period, the UW will own it.

The tower will contain more than 750,000 square feet of office space and about 200 apartments.

The project also includes 30,000 square feet of restaurants and retail shops, and a 155-room premium hotel, which will be in a separate 12-story building. There will also be underground parking for over 1,200 cars.

Wright Runstad said the first tenants will occupy the tower in late 2018.

“We are seeing strong office and retail tenant demand for Rainier Square,” said Company President Greg Johnson. “We have several active negotiations underway, including with a major hotel operator.”

The firm declined to name the operator.

NBBJ is designing the project, Lease Crutcher Lewis is the general contractor and Magnusson Klemencic Associates is the structural engineer.

Johnson said the design incorporates feedback from the design review board for a bolder, more dramatic curve on the tower's east face.

“The exciting visual interplay between the new tower and existing Rainier Tower makes Rainier Square a strong complement to one of the city's most iconic buildings,” he said.

The company said the project will contribute about $11.5 million for affordable housing, open space, and support for childcare and landmarks.

Wright Runstad said union representatives from the Iron Workers, Carpenters and Operating Engineers expressed support.

Rainier Square is part of the UW's Metropolitan Tract, which covers about 11 acres on more than four city blocks. This was the land where the university was located before moving to its present location in 1895.

The tract also includes Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 5th Avenue Theater and the IBM Building.

Downtown Seattle Association President and CEO Jon Scholes said streetscape improvements, new retail, restaurants and large-scale development will help transform the city's core.

“There's a lot of momentum here, and a number of these projects are contributing to affordable housing, providing even greater benefit to the community,” he said.

Wright Runstad & Co. develops and manages office buildings, primarily in the Pacific Northwest.

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