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Originally published Friday, February 15, 2013 at 6:13 PM

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Developer ready to build on downtown’s Greyhound block

R.C. Hedreen intends to break ground in a year on a two-tower complex with a hotel, apartments and office space.

Seattle Times business reporter

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I have yet to see a major city have a Greyhound bus depot that was not filthy, over run... MORE
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Seattle developer R.C. Hedreen intends to break ground in about a year on an ambitious, two-tower project on the downtown Seattle block where the Greyhound bus station has stood for more than eight decades.

“We’re pushing ahead,” Greg Harris, a Hedreen vice president, said Friday. “We’re not going to stop.”

At 2 million square feet, the full-block complex would be one of downtown’s largest developments ever.

Plans call for:

• 1,200 hotel rooms, second only to the Seattle Sheraton.

• 600 apartments, which would make it one of the city’s largest residential projects.

• 350,000 square feet of office space.

Each of the towers would be about 500 feet tall, or up to 50 stories. Both would have hotel rooms and apartments, Harris said, and one would have offices on top.

Having several uses spreads the financial risk, he said.

The city’s Downtown Design Review Board is tentatively scheduled to consider the project March 19. Hedreen’s goal is to have it built by the end of 2016, Harris said

Financing hasn’t yet been arranged, Harris said, but Hedreen has hired architects, engineers and a general contractor.

The block is bounded by Eighth and Ninth avenues and Stewart and Howell streets.

Hedreen, developer of several downtown hotels and the Olive 8 hotel/condo tower, has owned the Greyhound terminal since 1995, and it has considered redeveloping the property before.

In 2008, for instance, it proposed a 51-story, 1,200-room hotel, but soon dropped it, in part because of the recession.

Development planning intensified last year after Hedreen acquired the only properties on the block that it didn’t already own.

The company first approached the city with the two-tower plan last summer. But Hedreen President David Thyer said at the time that construction could hinge on whether the nearby Washington State Convention Center expands.

The center’s expansion plans remain stalled. Harris said Friday that further research has persuaded Hedreen that “the presence of an expanded convention center isn’t essential.”

The project could even jump-start the convention-center expansion by generating more hotel-tax revenue to boost its financing, he added.

Harris declined to put a price tag on the Greyhound-block complex, but said it should cost less than $500 million.

Plans call for a six-level underground garage with parking for 1,400 cars. The complex probably would have three to five restaurants, Harris said, and perhaps a jazz club in the basement.

The project also would have two large ballrooms. One possible design calls for a 14,000-square-foot “event space” atop one of the towers with a glass ceiling, he said

Greyhound’s lease expires this spring, but could be extended for several months on a month-to-month basis, Harris said.

While the bus terminal is 86 years old, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Board determined in 2008 that the building had been altered too much to warrant protection as a historic landmark.

Eric Pryne: epryne@seattletimes.com

or 206-464-2231

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