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September 6, 2018

Selig offers Windermere Building details, after paying $44M for site

Journal Staff Reporter

Rendering by Perkins + Will [enlarge]
Perkins + Will is working with Jim Olson of Olson Kundig Architecture to design the tower, which will combine offices, housing, retail and parking.

Using LLCs, Martin Selig Real Estate paid the Jacobi family $44 million this week for the Commuter Building block, at 815 Western Ave.

The deal, recorded Tuesday, was worth about $1,349 per square foot for the land. Ross Klinger and Dave Speers of Kidder Mathews brokered the off-market transaction.

Two old buildings will be removed, and Selig will construct the Windermere Building in a joint venture with the Jacobis. It will be named for the brokerage John Jacobi founded in 1972.

Selig shared new details and a rendering with the DJC. The mixed-use tower will be designed by Perkins + Will in collaboration with Jim Olson, of Olson Kundig Architecture. Lease Crutcher Lewis will be the general contractor, and KPFF will be the lead engineer.

It will probably be 18 or 19 stories, with parking for 350 vehicles — apparently on three underground levels — and 25,000 square feet of retail/commercial space.

The lower floors will have 300,000 square feet of offices. About 150 rental units are planned for the top 10 floors.

Selig says the new tower is completely financed. No tenants or start date were announced, and the project hasn't yet entered into design review.

Early project notes say it will participate in the Living Building Pilot Program, which yields extra floor area in exchange for green features.

The early rendering indicates a roof deck, which would have unobstructed views of Elliott Bay, the ferry terminal and the rebuilt waterfront.

A new Marion Street pedestrian bridge is also shown; the existing bridge is partially supported by the Commuter Building. The $18 million SDOT replacement project is still in design, with construction expected to start in the fall of 2021 and finish by late 2022. There will also be temporary bridge during the interim.

That project won't likely begin until after the Alaskan Way Viaduct is removed.

Selig has already filed demolition plans for the 32,601-square-foot block, which is bounded by Western, Marion and Columbia streets, and Alaskan Way.

Kiewit will use the block for staging during the $94 million viaduct demolition, which could begin as soon as this winter. SDOT hasn't announced a new demo/rebuild schedule.

Windermere recently vacated its offices in the old Commuter Building, and consolidated in offices already leased on Eastlake. The brokerage may or may not return to its new namesake building, the company said.

The terms of the venture or partnership with Selig are also unclear.

Dania closed its store this summer, and the Commuter Building appears to be emptying out.

About the price for the Commuter Building: KM says it is $1,303 per square foot, though that estimate seems to be based on a larger figure than the county's.

The property does not appear have been surveyed in decades. But the discrepancy appears to stem from the Columbia Street viaduct ramp easement overhead, which deducts about 1,149 square feet.

The entire block, with the ramp removed, will probably total about 33,750 square feet.


Brian Miller can be reached by email at brian.miller@djc.com or by phone at (206) 219-6517.

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