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January 7, 2019

Urban Visions gets city permits for S, its huge SoDo complex; tenant(s) next

Journal Staff Reporter

Renderings by NBBJ [enlarge]
NBBJ designed the seven-acre campus, with over 1.2 million square feet of office space in five buildings along Sixth Avenue South.

NKF says ceiling heights will be just over 12 feet, and floor plates will average 23,000 square feet. Outdoor space is planned for every floor.

Two buildings are planned on the east side of Sixth, and three buildings on the west side.

Greg Smith began buying land in SoDo before the recession, before his company Urban Visions assumed its present name. The biggest sale was for $13.5 million, paid to the Frye Art Museum in 2004, for almost six acres of old warehouses and parking lots.

The redevelopment plan has evolved over the years for what's now simply called S, at 1000 and 1001 Sixth Ave. S. in SoDo.

Urban Visions announced that it has permits for S, designed by NBBJ, which will have over 1.2 million square feet in five buildings on both sides of Sixth.

The project went through design review during 2015-2016, and has shrunk somewhat from the 1.6 million square feet originally announced.

NKF is now marketing S, having replaced JLL — which Smith named as his broker two years ago. Smith also told the DJC at the time that construction wouldn't begin without signing a tenant or tenants.

In a press release, Urban Visions now says that construction could begin as soon as the first quarter of 2020. The project is targeting LEED gold certification.

The company hasn't said whether the five towers might be phased for a single or multiple tenants. NBBJ's two-year-old design proposal says that the west side would be developed first.

Construction plans were recently updated for the initial west side of S, and list Hoffman Construction Co. as general contractor. The team also includes MKA, civil and structural engineer; Berger Partnership, landscape architect; McKinstry, mechanical engineer; and Stantec, electrical engineer.

The nearly seven-acre S campus is also bounded by Seattle Boulevard South (to the north), Airport Way South (to the east) and the Interstate 90 bus exit ramps to the south.

Light rail service to the Eastside on I-90 will begin in 2023. The existing Stadium Station is about a 5-minute walk south of S; and International District Station and King Street Station are about 10 minutes north.

In a statement, Smith said, “Not only is this campus going to be responsive to what today's progressive companies are looking for in their office environment, but it is strategically located at the nexus of multiple transportation options that include bus, light rail, streetcar, train and bike accessibility.”

The NKF leasing team is Jesse Ottele, Cavan O'Keefe, David Marks and Daniel Seger, who said, “This development is a rare opportunity for businesses to lease the most creative, inspiring, visionary new office space of this scale in an extremely tight market.”

The S plan calls for two buildings with eight and 10 stories on the east side of Sixth, and three buildings with nine to 10 stories on the west side of Sixth. The campus will include about 25,000 square feet of retail, and have underground parking for around 630 vehicles.

NKF says that most ceiling heights will be just over 12 feet. Floor plates will average around 23,000 square feet. Some will be as large as 51,000 square feet.

Outdoor space is planned on every floor. Roof decks and terraces will total some 60,000 square feet.

Here is the breakdown for the five towers:

• West phase: Buildings A/B, 547,600 square feet; and Building C, 276,500 square feet

• East phase: Building D, 210,000 square feet; and Building E, 228,000 square feet

NKF's marketing slogan for the complex? There's only one S in Seattle.

Besides the Frye purchase, Urban Visions subsequently spent another $1.7 million to assemble the site, for a total of over $15 million.

Almost three years ago, the project value was estimated at $750 million, and it was thought that up to 6,000 workers could occupy the campus. But that was for the old 1.6 million-square-foot plan.

Since then, construction costs have gone up, and office workers are being packed into ever smaller desks and spaces.

Meanwhile, Smith and Urban Visions are busy with other projects, notably:

• The Marion, at 801 Third Ave., designed by NBBJ. The 36-story tower will have about 820,000 square feet of offices. No general contractor or start date have been announced. Sellen is providing preconstruction services. NKF is also leasing the offices.

• 74 S. Jackson St., aka The Jack, designed by Olson Kundig. The Jack is probably closest to starting. The seven-story tower will face the newly viaduct-free Alaskan Way South, with about 135,000 square feet of offices. The same NKF team is leasing the offices. No general contractor has been announced, but JTM Construction is providing preconstruction services. The project website targets a May 2019 groundbreaking, with completion in September 2020.


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

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