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December 10, 2015

Maritime Building may get an 8-story addition

Journal Staff Writer

Photo by Ben Minnick [enlarge]
Beacon Capital Partners wants to add two floors of office space and 114 apartments to the 1910 building.

Boston-based Beacon Capital Partners filed plans with the city of Seattle to build an addition on the Maritime Building at 911 Western Ave., with eight floors of office space and apartments.

The proposal is tentatively scheduled to go before the downtown design review board for an early design guidance meeting at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 5 in Seattle City Hall, 600 Fifth Ave. in Room L280.

Design firm NBBJ is listed on the proposal, which calls for a complete renovation of the 1910 building. There would be two floors of office space with 45,000 square feet, and 114 apartments on six floors. The existing 80 parking stalls would remain.

Beacon recently bought the building near Pioneer Square and notified tenants last summer they must move because of the renovation, which it said was expected to start by March 2016.

The letter to tenants from Andy Wattula, a Beacon senior vice president, stated the goal was to bring the five-story building's fire-life-safety standards up to industry code, but it did not mention the addition.

“It's a terrific property with a very exciting future, but the Maritime Building requires — and deserves — a full-scale improvement,” Wattula wrote.

Wattula could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.

E.W. Houghton designed the building, which was originally known as the Pacific Warehouse Building, according to information filed with Seattle's Landmarks Preservation Board. The structure was sold to the Maritime Corp. in 1942, and it has housed everything from industrial businesses to offices. The board voted unanimously on Nov. 18 to nominate the Maritime Building as a city landmark, said Erin Doherty, landmarks board coordinator. It will consider whether to designate it as a landmark on Jan. 6, she said.

A designated landmark cannot be altered or significantly changed without the board's approval, and may be demolished only if the owner can demonstrate there is no reasonable economic use.

Beacon requested a ruling from the board, which owners sometimes do if they are considering renovation or redevelopment.

In 2009, the board denied a request to designate the Maritime Building as a city landmark, but such determinations sunset after five years. NK Architects prepared the latest landmark nomination application.

Earlier this year, Beacon sold the 1.5 million-square-foot Columbia Center in Seattle to Hong Kong-based Gaw Capital Partners for $711 million. The 76-story tower is the city's tallest building.


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

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