‘Pineapple express’ bringing $70 million hotel to downtown Seattle

Staff Writer- Puget Sound Business Journal
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Pineapple Hospitality Co. President Michelle Barnet said Thursday that she plans to develop a hotel tower at Second Avenue and Virginia Street.

Early plans call for an approximately 200-room Hotel Clare, named for Barnet’s mom, Diane Clare Foreman. The number of stories has not been finalized.

“We will probably be out of the ground in early 2016,” Barnet said. The project will take around two years to build and cost around $70 million, including the value of the land, she added.

The announcement caps a busy month for Barnet. In addition to heading Pineapple Hospitality, she is president of a Bellevue company, Columbia West Properties, which she owns with her mom and her dad, Richard Foreman. In March, Columbia West sold the property across the street from the Hotel Clare site to Continental Properties, which is planning to build  a 400-foot residential tower(subscriber content) there. The proceeds from that sale were put toward last week’s acquisition of the Hotel California, an 83-room property in San Francisco. Barnet plans to expand the San Francisco hotel to 92 rooms.

To finance the Hotel Clare, Barnet will use the equity from the land that her grandfather, the late Joe Diamond of Diamond Parking fame, bought years ago. Today, some old buildings and a parking lot are on the property. Barnet has set aside some other equity for the project and will finance the rest with a loan from US Bank.

Barnet has hired Ankrom Moisan Architects and Seattle interior designer Andrea Dawson to design the Clare, which general contractor Exxel Pacific will build. Chris Burdett and Matthew Behrens of CBRE Hotels in Seattle are advising Barnet on the project.

As Barnet envisions it, the Hotel Clare will have a transparent elevator on the outside of the building. Guests will ride the elevator to the lobby at the top of the tower.

Barnet is a former hotel industry executive who  joined Columbia West Properties several years ago. Columbia West owns land in downtown Seattle; an office building in the Bel-Red corridor on Seattle’s Eastside; Waterworks Marina on Seattle’s Lake Union; and six hotels in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. Hotel Clare will be the company’s largest.