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February 14, 2020
Down in South Lake Union, City Hardware closed in 2015. Vulcan Real Estate bought that corner, at Ninth Avenue, in 2016 for $28.5 million. The seller, MacFarlane Partners of San Francisco, already had a 25-story apartment plan with permits that Vulcan opted not to pursue. Vulcan also added another parcel for $3.6 million.
Vulcan's new office plan now goes by 312 Ninth Ave. N. There it's proposing an 11-story office tower with about 255,000 square feet. MacFarlane used 901 Harrison St. for its approved tower plan.
Because it has a master use permit that can be modified, Vulcan's office project will only have an administrative design review, scheduled for today. Vulcan says a new master use permit will be required.
Graphite Design Group is designing the tower on what Vulcan calls Block 46NW. Its preferred scheme is dubbed “Twist,” with five slightly offset levels facing Harrison (each with two floors of offices).
The new tower would preserve the facade of the City Hardware building, which was constructed in 1927 for Pioneer Sand & Gravel Co. Architect Austin Co. designed the one- and two-story Spanish mission revival-style building, which later received an addition.
The old building has also been home to a telephone exchange, Athletic Supply Co. and Kaufer's — a Christian book and sundries shop. (MacFarlane's prior plan, by Ankrom Moisan, also preserved portions of the old building.)
Vulcan is planning about 10,800 square feet of ground-floor retail/commercial space, concentrated within the old building, which could also have a terrace on top. The office lobby would be on Ninth. Three and a half levels of underground parking, with 249 stalls, would be accessed from the alley to the east. A bike room is also planned.
The site totals 28,800 square feet, and it's zoned for commercial construction up to 175 feet. Vulcan could gain extra floor area by participating in the city's Living Building Pilot Program, which entails various green features in exchange for greater size.
Thus, Vulcan is considering two varieties of the Twist plan — one with conventional office ceiling heights (reaching 147 feet in total), and a second version with taller ceilings that could reach over 200 feet, possibly with another floor or two.
Taller floor-to-floor heights are often associated with biotech tenants, whose lab space requires bulky equipment and venting. Also in South Lake Union, Alexandria Real Estate Equities and BioMed Realty are planning offices of that nature.
Vulcan is meanwhile constructing another building for Google on the former Guitar Center site, at 520 Westlake Ave. N. It also has fairly well developed office plans for three other sites in SLU — but no announced tenants.
Brian Miller can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (206) 219-6517.