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December 13, 2022
There's no demolition permit in process for the squat old University District Building, at 1107 N.E. 45th St. Nor is there any sign yet of a general contractor to build its 28-story replacement, with around 336 apartments. Hewitt is designing the tower for Nicola Wealth, and 2024 is still cited as a possible start date. The next design review will be on Jan. 9, in a virtual presentation.
New to the team are Bush, Roed & Hitchings, surveyor; KPFF, shoring and civil and structural engineer; and GeoEngineers, geotechnical.
The last design review was almost exactly one year back. Numbers are all about the same: 88 parking stalls on three-plus underground levels; 278 tenant bike stalls; about 3,000 square feet of retail; and a total project size of some 310,787 square feet. The Mandatory Housing Affordability fee works out to around $6.3 million.
Residential floor plates above the podium will have an irregular star shape, yielding some interestingly non-rectilinear apartments. Hewitt says those will mostly be studios running through two-bedrooms. In addition, there will be 10 three-bedrooms, with around 900 square feet each.
The double-height retail bay would go on the busy corner of 11th Avenue Northeast, with the lobby facing the relatively quieter 11th. (Parking access will be on the east alley.) Who will those future tenants be? Every high rise planned or now under construction in the U District is being marketed mainly to students, and Nicola hasn't yet begun any kind of marketing for its unnamed project.
With U District Station mere steps east of the corner, Nicola can offer would-be commuters excellent access to downtown. But, with the downtown office market still greatly depressed, and work-from-home still favored by those who can, the math in that neighborhood remains murky.
Unlike the Denny Triangle and South Lake Union, where well-paid and mostly single renters can work from home in their high rises (with rents to suit), the U District's main selling point continues to be its proximity to campus. To support the substantial construction costs of a high rise, developers there are packing more bodies (students) into larger suites, thus achieving a profitable number per square foot.
To instead market 1107 45th to working professionals, in a neighborhood where few now reside, would be bucking that market trend.
Brian Miller can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (206) 219-6517.