Keller Williams Greater Seattle, Ben Kakimoto, Seattle Condo Agent

Smith Tower Condos?

The Seattle Times is reporting the new owners of Seattle’s venerable Smith Tower has designs on converting it to condos.

Chicago-based Walton Street Capital filed papers with the city Wednesday to begin what could be a months-long process of getting approval to redo the tower as housing.

Some people seem to think it may be a reasonable proposition:

Matthew Gardner, principal in the Seattle-based land-use economics firm Gardner Johnson, said Smith Tower’s conversion “could be incredible.”

“The building itself is iconic, so it does make sense to go down this road.”

Gardner also said the switch would benefit Pioneer Square by bringing more residents into the neighborhood.

Smith Tower has struggled a bit to attract and retain business tenants as more modern office towers emerged in recent decades.

“The building itself was never ideally suited to a modern, commercial office-type tenant,” said Kevin Daniels, president of Nitze-Stagen, a private commercial-property investment firm.

There are some obstacles, mainly its historic landmark status. However, there is precedent in Seattle for converting landmark buildings to condos. It’ll be interesting to see how this idea progresses. Under the real estate principle of highest and best use, conversion may be the most optimal use for the building. And, living in an iconic building may be very attractive to potential buyers.

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About the Author

About the Author: Ben Kakimoto is a Seattle condo and urban real estate marketing & listing specialist. Contact Ben to learn more about the Seattle condo and loft real estate market or about buying or selling a Seattle area condo. Find Ben on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. .

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