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July 11, 2019

Design review set for student towers near UW

Real Estate Editor

Renderings by GGLO [enlarge]
American Campus Communities joins several other student housing developers now planning high rises in the U District, where light-rail service will begin in 2021.

Like so many other churches in Seattle, University Temple United Methodist Church will be selling its longtime home for redevelopment. University Temple announced its plan for 1415 N.E. 43rd St. last summer, and its development partner in December: the Texas-based REIT American Campus Communities, which is already quite active in the University District.

The 92-year-old church, which faces east to the University of Washington campus from the corner of 15th Avenue Northeast, will be demolished. ACC's redevelopment plan will have its first design review at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7 at Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N.

Early notes and drawings filed with the city by architect GGLO describe a two-tower project with 224 student housing units. There will be underground parking for 145 vehicles, to be accessed from the alley to the west.

The 22-story north tower will have 159 congregate units, meaning shared kitchens and communal areas. It'll be about 240 feet tall. A resident dining hall is also included, along with a gym.

The 12-story south tower will have 65 lager apartments. It'll be about 140 feet tall.

Both towers will have rooftop decks and amenity areas. Residents will enter from 43rd. The total number of beds—the standard metric in student housing—will certainly be higher than 224.

Per prior announcements, University Temple will return to the new building, apparently in some kind of condominium agreement, and occupy about 38,000 square feet within the podium. Last year, the church told the DJC that its congregation had shrunk from about 1,200 in the 1920s to around 140 today. Dave Rothrock and Doug Barrett of Meriwether Advisors are advising the church on the deal.

Weinstein AU will design the new church interiors. The podium program is divided into spaces for worship (the sanctuary), the Intersect Cafe (on the corner of 43rd), classroom space, a chapel, and administrative offices. The church will have entrances along 15th.

The podium, on a sloping site, will reach three stories at its south end. There will be a dramatic three-story atrium leading into the central sanctuary.

Total project size is around 369,778 square feet, apparently excluding the parking, with a nominal listed value of $100 million. The site totals 32,960 square feet.

No general contractor is indicated. ACC has in recent years acquired two apartment buildings in the U District: the 111-unit Hub U District at 5000 University Way N.E.; and the 243-unit 12 @ U District at 4535 12th Ave. N.E. But it hasn't to date built anything in our market. For most of its recent projects in the news, ACC seems to have hired general contractors, and it has partners in some ventures.

ACC currently lists 206 student communities near 96 campuses (and on 83 campuses), which it values at $9.6 billion. It has a current market capitalization of around $6.7 billion. ACC says it's the largest owner, manager, and developer of student housing communities in the U.S.


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

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