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Nat Levy
Real Estate Reporter

August 13, 2015

Real Estate Buzz -- Hot new trend in apartments: trend-free

Real Estate Reporter

With so many new apartments coming on the market in Seattle you can understand why developers are trying hard to make theirs stand out from the crowd.

The city is getting thousands of new units, and some have tried to brand theirs with specific “themes” that target certain demographic groups.

Alliance Residential Co. says it is bucking that trend with its newest complex: Broadstone Infinity on Capitol Hill.

Broadstone Infinity is on an approximately half-block site is at 1414 10th Ave., on the block bound by East Pike and Union streets, and 10th and 11th avenues. There are 248 units in two seven-story towers. Ankrom Moisan Architects is the architect and Exxel Pacific is the general contractor.

The project is meant to be timeless and appeal to different types of renters.

Photos courtesy Bruce Glass [enlarge]
Alliance Residential Co. kept the 1915 Davis Hoffman building and two other auto-row-era structures when it built Broadstone Infinity.

The courtyard has seating areas and a fireplace.

Sarah France, regional manager for Alliance in the Pacific Northwest, described the design aesthetic as Boho — short for bohemian — chic meets the Four Seasons.

Jeremiah Jolicoeur, northwest managing director for Alliance, called it an “urban oasis,” but says it also reflects some of Capitol Hill's grittier side.

“Rather than targeting demographics, we try to provide an elegant project that makes you feel like you are at home when you walk through the front door,” Jolicoeur said.

Broadstone Infinity opened May 25, and as of last week 89 of the units had been leased.

Variety is a key part of how Alliance is trying to appeal to a broad base of people. There are 62 different floor plans. Many units have large closets, and France said about half the units have oversized bathtubs, as well as ice makers and water dispensers in the refrigerators. Some balconies are as large as 500 square feet.

A couple of the southeast-facing units have clear views of Mount Rainier and extra large windows.

As part of the project, Alliance preserved parts of three auto-row era building. The southwest side of the structure includes parts of the 1915 Davis Hoffman building, and that's where Alliance has located 10 two-story lofts that range in size.

On a recent visit to the property, The Buzz toured a 710-square-foot, one-bedroom loft that rents for $2,280 a month and a 1,462-square-foot two-bedroom loft that rents for $4,900.

Jolicoeur said there is no theme for the amenity spaces; they're places for people to hang out, alone or in groups. There are several areas with seating at or below street level, with fireplaces, a demonstration kitchen, a film room and a big screen TV. On the roof is another gathering area with multiple seating arrangements and barbecue pits.

“We try to have something that can accommodate anyone from anywhere,” said Megan Mier, business manager at Alliance.

Alliance has big plans for the ground floor. There is 13,000 square feet of retail space, and local chef Renee Erickson will take much of it for three different restaurant concepts: a coffee and doughnut shop, a seafood restaurant that specializes in “snacks from the sea,” and a restaurant with in-house butchered and dry-aged grass-fed beef from Erickson's farm on Whidbey Island.

Gabe Wiborg and Yuie Helseth of Banyan Tree in Kent will open a Thai restaurant there called Soi. Jolicoeur said Soi should open this week, and Erickson's restaurants will open in late September.

Working on Broadstone Infinity led Alliance to do another project nearby. While planning Broadstone, the developer discovered another site nearby at 11th and Union, where the old Undre Arms apartments once stood. There were plans in place to develop a triangular six-story, 105-unit apartment building on the site, which had recently changed hands. Alliance was eventually brought in to develop and manage the project, which is now done and called Viva.

“Sometimes you end up finding a project next door to the one you are already doing,” Jolicoeur said.

Avalara setting sail for Seattle

After 11 years on Bainbridge Island, sales tax software company Avalara is shifting its headquarters — and 150 employees — to Seattle, just a ferry-boat ride away.

Avalara announced the move Tuesday in a Facebook post. Avalara said it was proud to build a growing tech business on Bainbridge, but it has outgrown the island.

“Over the past few years it has become clear that to sustain our growth and our close-knit culture we would need far larger facilities than are available on the island, not to mention better access to the deeper workforce in the Puget Sound region,” Avalara said in the Facebook post.

The company said it will expand its existing space in the Second and Spring building at 1100 Second Ave. Sheri Pollock, director of communications for Avalara, said the company has the third floor in the building and it is building out the first floor now.

Avalara also has space across the street at 1000 Second Ave.

Employees have been moving off Bainbridge Island since March. Everyone in the Bainbridge office will work in Seattle by early 2016.

Got some interesting news for the Buzz? You can reach Nat at nat.levy@djc.com.

Got a tip? Contact DJC real estate editor Brian Miller at brian.miller@djc.com or call him at (206) 219-6517.

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