September 27, 2019

U District tower project ready to apply for building permit

Renderings provided by Runberg Architecture Group [enlarge]
The tower, designed by Runberg Architecture Group, will have 237 apartments and ground-level retail facing Northeast 45th Street.

A three-story commercial plaza with an elevator will wrap from 45th up along the alley.

The developer of a 24-story apartment tower at 1200 N.E. 45th St. in Seattle’s University District plans to submit for a building permit in October, but construction is not yet scheduled, the architect said.

In a press release, Runberg Architecture Group said the building will have 237 market-rate and affordable workforce apartments, including studio, one- and two- bedroom units.

There will be a residential lobby and leasing center off 12th Avenue Northeast and ground-level retail space facing Northeast 45th Street wrapping the corner to 12th Avenue Northeast.

Tenants will have a rooftop deck above the 22nd story, a lobby lounge, fitness center, bicycle room, dog run and dog lounge, media and conference rooms, and a common amenity room adjacent to the deck.

Runberg said the project plans to pursue the city’s multifamily tax exemption program. That program provides a tax exemption on new multifamily buildings in exchange for setting aside 20-25% of the homes as income- and rent-restricted. Also, to make rents more affordable, many of the units are being kept small and the building will include small efficiency dwelling units, the architect said.

The site is within a block of the new University District light rail station, scheduled to open in 2021.

MRM 1200 Development LLC, which is associated MRM Capital, bought the property — the Washington Federal bank building — in late 2018 for $10.8 million, according to King County records. It added a small adjoining alley-side parcel in 2019 for $840,000. MRM Capital is the investment office for the Razore family.

Runberg listed Barrientos Ryan as the tower’s developer and MRM 1200 Development LLC as the client but did not specify who owns the project.

The architect said the building’s generous setbacks allow the 3,300-square-foot, three-story commercial plaza to wrap from Northeast 45th Street up along the alley. The plaza’s public elevator will provide access along the thoroughfare, enhancing pedestrian and bicycle connections. The architect said the neighborhood wants alleys to be used as pedestrian connectors.

In this case, the open space improvements connect to the newly approved HUB U District luxury student housing tower project on the opposite side of the alley at mid-block, and Touchstone’s proposed office building on the north side. Runberg said concentrating the open space along the alley is particularly important as a significant alley grade at the south end lends itself to three levels of hill climb.

Exxel Pacific is providing pre-construction services. The team also includes Coughlin Porter Lundeen, structural engineer; Red Barn, civil engineer; Ecotope Engineering, MEP engineer; Two-Nine Design, interior designer; and Karen Kiest Landscape Architects.

Runberg said a Seattle review board has approved its design for the project.