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June 8, 2020
Publicly traded Toll Brothers said last week in its second-quarter earnings call with analysts that it would suspend plans for a luxury condominium tower at 2302 Fourth Ave. in Belltown.
A year ago, Toll paid almost $25 million for the property and an entitled high-rise residential plan. It applied for a construction permit soon thereafter.
The master use permit allows a 25-story tower at the corner of Bell Street, with the preservation of the existing landmarked three-story Franklin Apartments, underground parking and retail.
In its marketing materials, Toll's City Living division had been calling the new tower The Franklin. No start or completion date had been announced. Toll changed architects last year to Ankrom Moisan, and apparently intended to build the 269-condominium project itself.
Toll told analysts it would also suspend projects in New York and Philadelphia, but retain the land. ConstructionDive first reported the news. Toll is also laying off or furloughing over a quarter of its 5,000-member workforce.
Toll CEO Doug Yearley said of its City Living land positions, “We do have some land for future buildings where we have not started any construction, and right now we're just sitting on the land. I think we're at a good time in terms of our City Living business, which had been shrinking significantly.”
Most of Toll's business is single-family homes in the suburbs. Yearley said that City Living was only 3% of that total.
For now, the old Franklin is empty, boarded up and tagged with some graffiti. In the original plan by Studio19 Architects and CallisonRTKL, the shell was to be integrated into the podium of 2302 Fourth, with a deck on its roof.
Brian Miller can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (206) 219-6517.