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November 29, 2017

Here's Chainqui Development's plan for a new 44-story tower in Belltown

Journal staff reporter

Renderings by GWest Architecture [enlarge]
The tower and upper podium would be elevated above the landmarked Sheridan and Griffin buildings, creating space for gardens and decks.

Chainqui's tower is shown here on the left. Vulcan is planning a 44-story tower next door at Fifth and Lenora.

Chainqui Development will have its first design review next week for a 44-story mixed-use tower it plans at 2005 Fifth Ave. in Belltown.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5 in City Hall, 601 Fifth Ave., Room L2-80.

Chainqui is represented by DSA Development Services, an affiliate, which also shares an address with GWest Architecture, the project designer.

Through an LLC, the Taiwan-based Chainqui paid $33.7 million two years ago for the northwest corner of Fifth and Virginia Street.

In July, the two buildings on the corner were landmarked by the city's Landmarks Preservation Board, so the developer must preserve the facades of the Sheridan Apartments and Griffin Building, which date to 1915 and 1927, respectively.

Chainqui wants to build 440 apartments above about 125,300 square feet of office space in the podium, plus street-level retail.

The site measures 19,440 square feet. It is bounded by an alley to the west and, to the north, Vulcan Real Estate's planned 44-story, 458-unit apartment tower at Fifth and Lenora Street.

GWest's preferred design, which it calls “Belltown Gateway,” has a pedestrian arcade at the ground-floor level of the Griffin on the corner, with a 12-foot-wide, L-shaped public walkway. That 3,200-square-foot space would be recessed within the facade of the landmarked structure.

The 480-foot tower would be set back from the corner. The tower and upper podium would also be elevated on columns about 25 feet above the Sheridan and Griffin, creating a large open garden and decks for residents, office workers or both.

The tower design shows additional setbacks and tapering on the upper floors. No roof deck is mentioned. The podium appears to have seven or eight levels.

Above the podium, the Chainqui and Vulcan towers would be separated by 60 feet instead of 80. This would require design review board approval, as would the arcade along Fifth and Virginia.

The complex would have about 8,500 square feet of retail-commercial space facing the corner, where Sound Community Bank is now, but recessed within the arcade.

Residents and office workers would have separate entrances on Fifth. Underground parking for 292 vehicles would be accessed from the alley, with six levels below grade.

Total project size, including the arcade and parking, is a little under 600,000 square feet. The project will target LEED certification.

The team also includes landscape architect MIG SvR.

Nearby in Belltown, Chainqui is now building its first U.S. project: a 12-story, 132-unit apartment tower at 2401 Third Ave. GWest also designed this project, and JTM Construction is the general contractor.

Chainqui's design packet says it was founded in 1972, and constructs commercial and residential buildings in Taiwan and East Asia. The company also offers cement products, rents and sells public housing, and provides career development services.

The firm says it intends to bring that expertise to the U.S. market.

Chainqui's website lists over a half dozen projects in Taiwan and South China.

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