News & Press

N.Y. developer plans another hotel/condo tower

Seattle Daily Journal

New York firm Multi Capital plans two hotel/condo projects on Fifth Avenue, across from the Westin.

A New York firm that is developing a large-scale hotel / condo project along Fifth Avenue across from the Westin now plans another one on that block.

Hummingbird Advisors, a for fee-development manager, has filed plans for investment banking firm Multi Capital of New York to build a 45-story, 590,000-square-foot complex with 200 hotel rooms and an equal number of residential units, likely luxury condos, at Fifth Avenue and Virginia Street.

It would complement a 46-story project Multi Capital is developing at Fifth Avenue and Stewart Street. As planned, that complex will include a 175-room five-star hotel, about 200 upscale condos, 13,000 square feet of retail and 250 parking spaces. Hummingbird is the development manager on that, too.

Both projects are being designed by Ismael Leyva Architects of New York with lots of transparency aimed at conveying the energy of the hotel and livening up the block, said Steven Gestetner, a vice president with Multi Capital and a member of Hummingbird. Both will have elevator and escalator systems visible from the outside.

"Essentially the buildings could potentially be twin towers that will (visually) speak to each other," Gestetner said.

The Fifth and Virginia project is planned on a site that has two mostly vacant structures, which will be razed, and the building that houses the icon Grill restaurant.

Department of Planning and Development spokesman Alan Justad said the hotel/condo project design submitted to the city shows the icon Grill as part of the development.

Gestetner declined to confirm whether it is or say what will happen with the building. But he said the developers are "very sensitive to the feel of the neighborhood and the availability of fine dining options."

The project will include 21,000 square feet of retail space and seven levels of below-grade parking with 300 spaces.

Gestetner said Multi Capital's options include doing the project alone or with another entity.

"The truth is there are a lot of different moving parts," he said.

No hotel operator has been picked for either project, but Gestetner said both hotels likely will be luxury if two operators are selected. If the same one is picked, the Fifth and Virginia hotel possibly will be geared toward the mid-range traveler.

The condos in both developments will marketed to empty nesters, young professionals and people from the Pacific Rim, Gestetner said.

He acknowledged Friday that a Multi Capital-related group owns the building that houses the icon Grill, which wasn't clear when the property was purchased in February. Multi Capital bought the other land for the planned developments in 2006.

Gestetner said the block where the developments are planned is "really dead" now.

"There's nothing to drawing people to this area," he said. He expects it to become more vibrant when the nearby 30-story Escala condo project, the two Multi Capital developments, the nearby streetcar line and the light rail (which will have a station close by) are finished.

"Once every few hundred years does a city get a light rail system and a new streetcar," he said.

Both Multi Capital projects will have unobstructed views of Elliott Bay on the upper floors and of the Space Needle lower down, he said.

Gestetner said the developments may be constructed simultaneously or the Fifth and Stewart project may be started first. He anticipates construction will begin in the second quarter of 2008 or that quarter of 2009.

The projects' Seattle architect is Mark Simpson of Bumgardner. No contractor has been hired for either development.

While some in the real estate industry have questioned whether Seattle is becoming overbuilt in the condo or hotel markets, Gestetner said he doesn't believe that's the case.

The more condos constructed, the more vibrant the city becomes and the more demand there is, he said. He also said hospitality benefits from cruise ship traffic and European travelers.

Hummingbird Advisors is a limited liability company formed by Gestetner and Alec Carlin, formerly senior project manager with R.C. Hedreen on the Olive 8 condo project downtown.

According to its Web site, Multi Capital specializes in real estate financing, and has negotiated financing in excess of $2 billion in the past few years.

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About Multi Capital LLC

Multi Capital, Inc. ( is a nationwide finance company specializing in the full spectrum of real estate financing. Multi Capital is known for its expertise in arranging Senior Debt, Mezzanine, and Equity for Development Deals. With its financing experts originating from the real estate development arena, Multi has the expertise needed to syndicate these transactions.

Multi Capital provides a service that is unmatched in efficiency, speed, and thoroughness. Multi currently has over $600,000,000 in development deals in the pipeline.