24-story apartment tower set for Second Avenue downtown
The long-stalled project between Virginia and Stewart streets was first proposed in 2005 as condos.
Seattle Times business reporter
More than six years after it first was proposed, a 24-story apartment tower on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle will break ground next month, its developers said Monday.
The building's height is one of the few elements that hasn't changed since the project surfaced in late 2005.
Back then, it was a 175-unit condo tower with 226 parking stalls. Now plans call for 249 mostly one-bedroom rental units, with parking for just 138 vehicles.
Back then, the developer was Seattle-based Intracorp, which received city permits for the project between Stewart and Virginia streets, then lost the property to foreclosure in 2009 after the condo market tanked.
The new developer is a joint venture of Goodman Real Estate, probably Seattle's most active apartment developer, and Harbor Urban, formed by a recent merger of Seattle's Harbor Properties and the Seattle office of Los Angeles-based Urban Partners.
Capri Capital Partners, a Chicago real-estate investment firm, also has an equity stake.
The venture bought the 0.3-acre site, across Second Avenue from the Moore Theatre, in February for $9.7 million, according to county records. The partners said the $95 million project, called Viktoria Apartments, is scheduled for completion late next year.
A three-story garage that occupied the site for more than 80 years was demolished over the weekend, said Tim Dickerson, an asset manager with Goodman.
The site is about five blocks from Amazon.com's recently proposed three-tower office complex.
Jim Atkins, Harbor Urban's managing director, said the Viktoria's partners had planned to start construction now anyway, but Amazon's plans "certainly reinforced our decision — it made us feel good about some of our assumptions."
At 24 stories, the Viktoria would be among the taller buildings to start construction in this superheated wave of apartment development.
Via6, under way a few blocks away at Sixth Avenue and Blanchard Street, also would have two 24-story towers. Holland Residential has said it plans to break ground in late spring on a 40-story apartment tower at Ninth Avenue and Pine Street.
Altogether, more than 22,000 apartments are under construction or being planned in King and Snohomish counties. There hasn't been this much development activity in more than 20 years.
Many projects, including the Viktoria, are targeting young adults who want to live in or near the city center, perhaps without a car. Some analysts have warned that the market could get overbuilt.
But Atkins said not all the buildings that are permitted will get financing. Plus, "you have a huge demographic wave that wants to live this way," he said.
The partners in the Viktoria venture have lots of other projects under way. Goodman is building or planning at least 10 complexes, according to research firm Dupre + Scott Apartment Advisors, including a 16-story tower under construction near the downtown ferry terminal.
Harbor Properties, founded 40 years ago, is finishing a 17-story project in Belltown. Urban Partners' last Seattle apartment project was 37-story Aspira in the Denny Triangle, completed in 2010.
Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or email@example.com
Information in this article, originally published March 12, 2012, was corrected the next day. A previous version of this story said Harbor Urban was formed by a recent merger of Seattle's Harbor Properties and Los Angeles-based Urban Partners. But the merger was actually with the Seattle office of Urban Partners.