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April 6, 2021

No more hotel for 1916 Boren towers, now moving closer to MUP

Real Estate Editor

Rendering by Gensler [enlarge]
In this view, looking east up Stewart, the taller apartment tower is pushed to the middle of the block, with its sidecar on the corner.

For over three years, OneLin Capital has been planning a two-tower project on the corner it owns at 1916 Boren Ave. in the Denny Triangle. Gensler designed what the owner now calls OneCentral, with a 15- and 46-story towers above a shared podium. The shorter south tower had initially been envisioned as a hotel; the project has since shifted entirely to apartments, with about 651 units planned.

Last week the city issued a SEPA determination of non-significance for the project, which moves it closer to a master use permit. The plan has passed through design review.

The taller 46-story north tower would be residential to the 44th floor, with two mechanical levels above. It's pushed to the middle of the block, with the 15-story tower on the actual corner, at Stewart Street. Gensler has informally dubbed that “the sidecar.”

The sidecar was, early last year, described as co-living — with about 231 units. The main tower was to have about 383 units. (Those numbers are a year old.) But that scheme was effectively pre-pandemic, and co-living may no longer be so attractive to future residents, even after a vaccine.

OneLin's possibly outdated website says the sidecar “will be a collection of efficiently planned apartments for users who value community.” Unit sizes there start at 298 square feet, running up to around 740 square feet.

That contrasts with the marketing description for the main tower: “a collection of luxury apartment homes to residential users who value spacious and open floor plans.” Units there would range from around 493 to over 1,000 square feet. Penthouses would be larger on floors 42 and 43. The 44th floor may be given over to amenity space. Or not.

As of last year, restaurant space and a deli were indicated at grade. The project would also have five levels of underground parking with about 270 stalls. The garage would be on the alley to the east, where there would also be a separate porte cochere for vehicular standing, drop-offs, Ubers, etc. The top of the seven-story podium would feature terraces and various enclosed amenity areas.

OneLin says it hopes to complete the project by 2024. No start date has been announced for what it also calls Boren & Stewart. Back in 2017, Lease Crutcher Lewis was listed as the general contractor.

The team also includes Schwartz Company, owner's rep; Berger Partnership, landscape architect; KPFF, structural engineer; Bush, Roed & Hitchings, surveyor; and Rushing, lighting consultant.

The Mandatory Housing Affordability fee hasn't yet been estimated. Gensler says that project size above grade is 658,473 square feet.

No demolition permit has been issued for the small rental car building and three-story former Bartell Drugs building. OneLin affiliate GZI (or Guangdong Zhonghuan Investment Group), a Hong Kong-based REIT, paid $30 million three years ago to assemble the corner. It shares the half block with the recently completed Boren Lofts building, developed by Trammell Crow, on the corner of Virginia Street.

East across the alley on the same block, Gensler designed a two-tower, 953-unit project at 1901 Minor Ave. Crescent Heights of Miami sold that project two years ago to Concord Pacific of Vancouver, B.C. That firm generally builds condominiums. That unnamed project hasn't broken ground, begun pre-sales or named a general contractor.

OneLin made news last month by filing plans for three University District apartment projects that could total over 1,000 units. All three sites, which it has yet to acquire, are near U District Station.

OneLin is currently building a 42-unit project in Fremont, which it bought with permits from a local developer.


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

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