Keller Williams Greater Seattle

Remaking 2nd Avenue

Downtown Seattle’s 2nd Avenue has been receiving quite a bit of attention lately with several condominium, apartment and office towers under construction or planned. The most notable of these include the 1521 Condominium, 1 Hotel & Residences, 2nd & Pike (hotel & condo) and the Liberty Building (office & apartment) developments.

Now, add three more potential projects to the list. On the horizon are 1915 2nd, 1931 2nd and 2015 2nd.

  • The 1915 2nd project is a 24-story 171-unit condominium being developed by Intracorp.
  • The 1931 2nd proposal is a 40-story hotel and residential tower with 135 hotel rooms and 182 residential units.
  • And, proposed for the 2015 2nd parcel is a 40-story 240 unit residential condominium tower.

2nd ave seattle projects

Second Avenue condos Seattle

Both the 1931 and 2015 projects are being developed by the Justen Company, designed by Weber+Thompson and owned by Columbia West. For more information on the 1931 2nd & 2015 2nd projects, an early design guidance meeting has been scheduled at Seattle City Hall on October 9th in room L280. The 1931 2nd project is scheduled at 5:30 PM and the 2015 2nd project is slotted for 7:00 PM.

Other new condominium & apartment projects in close vicinity include:

  • The 1521, 2nd & Pike, Liberty Building and Four Seasons projects are just a couple of blocks South on 2nd & 1st Avenues
  • Just NE, along Virginia Street, will be a 43-story apartment building (3rd & Virginia) and the Escala Condominium (4th & Virginia)
  • A couple of blocks NW along 1st Ave is the Alex Condominium project

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About the Author

About the Author: Ben Kakimoto is a condo marketing specialist and publisher of The Seattle Condo Blog. Ben's focus is urban residential properties in Seattle's metropolitan core. Contact Ben to learn more about the Seattle condo and loft real estate market. Find Ben on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. .

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There Are 16 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Josh says:

    Wow, that area is going to look a lot different in a few years. I believe the 1931 2nd project will occupy that whole strip of land along 2nd between 1915 2nd and Virginia Street.

  2. newbuyer says:

    AND, there’s a fun wine bar on second and vine aptly called ‘The Local Vine’. Second really IS changing…

  3. Ben_Kakimoto says:

    Josh – I was going by the LUB map but you may be right considering the size of the 1931 2nd project. Also, the developer of 1931 also manages 1919 2nd and 1921 2nd (as well as 2015 2nd).

  4. Carl W. Shepherd says:

    Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. It’s interesting to note the following facts regarding these projects, particularly the 2015 2nd Avenue tower next the Cristalla. First, in Nov., 2005 a proposal for a 6 story hotel was submitted to the City for design review. By no odd coincidence this proposal had the same height as the old Commodore hotel subsequently torn down without much decent (a clever ruse to disarm the folks in Cristalla and One Pacific Tower?) The proposal for the six story hotel vanished after the demise of the Commodore now replaced by the proposed 40 story tower. Second, Blaine Weber was the President of the Cristalla condo association until two months ago when he resigned citing the necessity of avoiding “conflict of interest” as his firm, is designing the afore mentioned projects (amazing to have done all this work in only two months!). Third, three early 20 century buildings listed by the City as historical sites will be sacrificed for these projects (the Commodore already). Four, no matter how much lipstick (and oh yes “sculpting”) Weber and company may put on this pig, the 2015 tower can stand as a singular monument to bad urban planning and greed. Four high rises will be slammed cheek by jowl together. On three sides up to the 24th floor, or so, the 2015 tower will have fully or almost fully blocked views, by the Cristalla on the NW, Pacific Place on the SW, and the other proposed 1931 tower on the SE. In turn it will block views of these two existing buildings and the other proposed tower. So much for visions of Vancouver! But never mind those purchasing units on the top 16 floors of Avarice Towers I & II will have splendid views. From there, no doubt, the Web Man will spin his future schemes.

  5. newbuyer says:

    I think the high-rise living thing is getting way out of hand in Seattle. Is there really a need for ALL of these hotel/condo and condo projects going up? To big and too many as far as I am concerned. I am worried that the big housing slow-down is going to hit our region even more than it has already and that we will have way too much supply due to this overzealous building.

  6. Ben_Kakimoto says:

    It does seem difficult to contemplate that there will be sufficient demand for the hundreds of hotel units coming online in the next 4-5 years, particularly as many will be upscale hotels. Same goes for condos, too. Though, many of the new condo proposals are slated for 2009-2011…a number of them probably will never get built.

  7. newbuyer says:

    By the way, I really like this blog. You seem really up to date with information and it’s a great resource for staying in the loop! Thanks!

  8. Mark H. says:

    Ben – do you think that 2015 2nd project might not get built due to the reasons outlined by Carl Shepherd and 5 newbuyer? Just curious.

  9. Ben_Kakimoto says:

    Mark – I can’t speak to 2015 specifically. I believe a combination of factors – over supply, focusing on high-end projects, financing, rising construction costs and better return from other uses may all impact the number of properties that’ll eventually be built. Already, at least 4 previously proposed condo projects have come off the table. Three have switched to apts and one to an office tower. I remember reading that another condo project switched over to a commercial bldg but I can’t find the info on that one.

    The 1931 2nd project might run into a possible obstacle. I believe one of the buildings that will need to be demolished has been put on the list for possible historic landmark status.

  10. Carl W. Shepherd says:

    While real estate demand is very tied to local conditions such as the local economy, strong in Seattle and WA now, it cannot remain unaffected by general national and even international trends. A CA family’s ability to buy into the Seattle market is reduced if it can’t sell its house in an acceptable amount of time or for a sufficient amount. If less folks move here then it’s that much more difficult to sell your house here and move if you desire to, say, downtown Seattle. Additionally constant bad national news spooks the local real estate and lending markets. Tougher lending conditions cuts the number of potential buyers. On the demand side, you can always count on greed or great expectations to drive developers either over a cliff or into a bog of some kind. Plenty of examples of that around the nation. Folks almost never think their own happy frenzy will end. The fact that the credit market is more national than the real estate market may moderate Seattle’s condo frenzy with good result. In any case you can count on it cooling down in the not too distant future. Of course, there is a long lag time between the initial proposal for a project and its completion that has to be considered. While it’s subjective, a useful indicator of impending decline is the rise in the number of silly (over the top or just stupid) projects (and the degree to which you began to gag over those cloying, pretentious project descriptions in the Saturday newspaper real estate edition). To get some general idea of how often projects fall through or never materialize in the end check out Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development website and you cant track the history of proposals for particular land parcels over the years, http://web1.seattle.gov/dpd/luib/NoticeSearch.aspx

  11. LTRANE says:

    There is also word that the south east corner of 2nd and Pike will be 37 story hotel.

    For me, the most heinous is 1521. 40 stories in front of the Market, obtrusive garish advertising by Opus. I have heard that this building is 75% sold. I bought in the neighborhood years ago, and am concerned about what all these luxury buildings are going to do to my property tax. Not looking forward to it.

  12. Carl W. Shepherd says:

    Oh yes, 1521 “designed exclusively for the confident few.” The same designer for AVA, the same for the proposed “AVArice Towers” at 2nd and Virginia. So, if there’s to be another tower at 2nd and Pike we will have a veritable phalanx of towers marching grimly along a canyoned avenue stealing the sunset from the rest of city. And oh yes, I can see the the crass advertisement tag, “capturing the light for only those audacious enough to live serenely above the fray.” (But then, can we still have “Seattle sensibility?”)

    Speaking of crass, reminds me of good old Marcus Licinius Crassus, last days of the Roman republic, was famous for making much of his great wealth through various apartment development schemes (insulae – high rises of the day). Guess he’s still around.

    Ironically, if you go to Rome today you’ll find a city with vibrant, crowded street life despite not a building over ten stories. And unlike Seattle, it has many large and small piazzas, as well as, large open spaces such as the Forum Romanum. So you don’t need block by block towers to achieve density. Now I happen to like high rises and grand architecture, but such needs to be tastefully and contextually designed and spaced to create an attractive and humane cityscape. Otherwise, we risk creating latter day Stalinist hulks where humans merely creep about like belittled bugs.

  13. Ben_Kakimoto says:

    Here’s some additional information on the 2nd & Virginia towers from the developer. Click to view the proposal (opens a 76-page PDF file from the Seattle DPD website).

    I reposted one of the renderings above showing the location of the Cristalla, One Pacific and 1915 2nd Ave towers in respects to these high-rises.

    Carl – did you make it to the design review meeting last week? If so, how did that go?

  14. Carl W. Shepherd says:

    Ben, thanks for the info above. Two separate design review meetings were announced, the first for 1931 2nd Ave and the second following meeting for 2015 2nd Ave. I could only attend the second one. Unfortunately without any prior announcement the design review folks rolled the meetings together, with the proposal upfront, comments, then discussion by the committee, so I missed the proposal and most comments. What I did hear of comments was concern about winds, that the towers might focus such down Virginia (2nd and Virginia is already a very windy spot since its the highest point along the water front – rump Denny Hill). There was some uneasiness about the twin towers aspect. The committee folks mentioned concern about the alley, hiding dumpsters, and how nice it would be to have it pedestrian friendly (hardly a practical concern given the traffic it would have to accommodate if only a 16ft clearance occurs, they mentioned building “massing”, and a variety of arcane stuff at least to me. Since they regard the code as sacred entitlement most of their concerns were marginal. Private views are not within their purview directly but perhaps indirectly with respect to “massing” considerations (?). Hopefully someone else who was there heard the earlier comments and has more background than I do.

    What I do not understand about new code is how it can allow set backs of only 16 feet as between the north tower and One Pacific Tower. You see much greater distance between towers in much ballyhooed Vancouver a supposed aspiration of the code. But then I haven’t heard much complaints from One Pacific Tower folks.

  15. Michael says:

    1931 Second ave has a gorgeous 20th century building on it already, which I believe has Historic Status. They better not tear down the buildings on that block! If you want to build something on that block they can tear down the parking garage in the middle, but everything else must stay. It’s time Seattle fought for the little bit of historical architecture that it has. There are plenty of empty parking lots and unused land else where in downtown. There should be no need to tear down the great urban fabric that exists on that street.

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