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June 12, 2019

Urban village takes shape under downtown Seattle skyscraper

  • Skanska says the three-story, pedestrian-focused space will offer “a dynamic open-air retail experience."
  • Images courtesy of Skanska [enlarge]
    Third-floor open-air retail space is at First Avenue and Seneca Street.

    Part of the Diller Hotel abuts the retail space.

    Skanska yesterday revealed more details about the urban village that will sit below its 686,000-square-foot 2+U office tower under construction in downtown Seattle.

    2+U has two connected towers of 19 and 38 stories that are set on a series of Y-shaped posts that rise above the village, which is expected to open in late August. There will be up to 85 feet of space below the shorter tower on First Avenue, tapering in height to Second Avenue to fit the sloped site between University and Seneca streets.

    The pedestrian-focused village will have 24,000 square feet of covered, open and outdoor space, including 16,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space. Pedestrians will be able to pass through the block from any direction and there will be a landscaped plaza in the center. There's also access from a refurbished alley off University.

    Skanska calls the three-level village “a dynamic open-air retail experience that will serve as a gathering space for the public that fuses local retail, art, culture and nature.”

    The “natural” element comes from a 220-foot-long “geowall,” a structural insulated rammed earth wall made from local soils. The wall curves through the village, starting at 2 feet in height and ending at more than 30 feet. Skanska says it's the first geowall in Seattle, and it resembles the multi-hued walls of Discovery Park or Whidbey Island's cliffs.

    About 1,100 square feet of multi-use arts space will be on the third level of the village. In this space, emerging artists and performers can create, practice and perform for free, in perpetuity.

    Other public spaces will be provided for art installations and events. A place called the Lookout will provide views of Puget Sound.

    Retail architect Graham Baba and landscape architect Swift Co. worked with 2+U design architect Pickard Chilton to create the village.

    Kendall/Heaton Associates is architect of record for 2+U and Magnusson Klemencic Associates is the structural engineer.

    Three major tenants have signed up for office space: Indeed.com (200,000 square feet in 10 floors), Spaces (91,000 square feet in three floors) and Dropbox (120,900 square feet in four floors).

    No tenants have been announced for the village, but a Skanska spokeswoman said they expect to name some restaurants soon.

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