News & Press

Hotel-Condo project to face Westin


The Seattle skyline will change, as will the central business district, with the construction of a twin-tower, 43-story building planned for a half-block site across Fifth Avenue from The Westin Hotel.

Offering high-end hotel, condominium and office space, as well as deluxe retail space at ground level, developers of the 1.2 million-square-foot building at 1913 Fifth Ave. will break ground next year, said project manager Alec Carlin of Hummingbird Advisors of Seattle. Completion is expected in 2011.

A rendering shows the proposed project at 1913 Fifth Ave., as shown from the corner Fifth Avenue and Virginia Street.

The project is budgeted at $900 million -- "give or take $100 million," Carlin said. Multi Capital, of New York is the sole financier.

The building will offer 185 to 200 hotel rooms and 400 to 500 condos, depending on their final size. Negotiations over which company will operate the hotel are under way, Carlin said.

At 550 feet, the building would be Seattle's ninth-tallest, topping the Bank of America Fifth Avenue Plaza by 7 feet.

Currently on the site are a parking lot; an Avis rental office and garage, which also provides parking for the nearby Mayflower Hotel; several vacated retail businesses; and the Icon Grill, housed in a distinctive building at Fifth and Virginia.

Carlin said the building has not been declared historically significant.

The still-preliminary plans call for an 11-story base, facing Fifth Avenue between Virginia and Stewart streets and offering retail at street level. The base's second and third floors, at the level of the monorail, would contain hotel ballrooms, meeting rooms and a pool and spa.

Above the glass-walled base, containing a large atrium, would rise the northern tower, nicknamed Pagoda. It would contain nine floors of hotel space, with 22 floors of condos above that.

Pagoda would be architecturally distinctive on its exterior to distinguish it from the all-residential south tower, nicknamed Heron. Separated from Pagoda by 70 feet, Heron would house 32 stories of condos. Each sleek, angular tower would be topped by a V-shaped roof over a 50-foot-high combined open-air arboretum, roof garden and enclosed recreation space. Photovoltaic cells and microturbines would generate about 7 percent of the building's electricity, and cisterns collecting rain would partly offset water use.

Seven underground floors would be used for parking.

In part because of guidance from Seattle's Department of Planning and Development, which is still reviewing the design, the towers will be shaped to accommodate their current and future neighbors.

Those include Centennial Tower apartments on Fourth Avenue and the 31-story Escala condo tower just southwest, due to open in May 2009.

The base is designed to visually align with the Times Square Building across Stewart Street and with the Westin parking garage.

Ishmael Leyva, of New York was chosen as architect, "not because we don't like Seattle designers, but because we feel Seattle is ready for something that's more edgy, more 'out there,' " Carlin said.

"This is a sophisticated design that says Seattle looks not toward Vancouver but toward Chicago and New York," he said.

"It also says Seattle is ready for higher density downtown, which has happened in Vancouver and in Portland."

Hummingbird hopes to benefit from the sweeping development of South Lake Union, Carlin said. The Westlake terminus of the new streetcar is just steps from the planned building, and Hummingbird hopes to be well positioned between South Lake Union and downtown.

"We're hoping it will revive that area, which is on the edge of Belltown, and make it into a vital, vibrant pedestrian area," he said. "It's a pretty dead block right now."

Though Seattle is awash with condos, Hummingbird said it thinks the market will support more, as the idea of downtown living is catching on.

"Right now, there are no downtown supermarkets or Laundromats, but as the density grows, the services will follow behind them," he said.

The developer believes that any coming recession likely will have eased by the time the building is completed.

The project is still in the early design guidance phase. Additional information will be presented and public comments taken, at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Room L280 at City Hall.

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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.