Boom The Trophy Building
posted by February 29 at 14:15 PMon
Most of the block bordered by Denny Way, Yale Street, and Howell Street has been redeveloped in the past decade—save for a patch of land owned by Northwest Trophy Inc.
The family-owned award manufacturer holds the one-story building sandwiched between the Marriott SpringHill Suites and the Downtown Emergency Services Center on Howell Street. In 2006, the land was rezoned along with the rest of the Denny Triangle to allow for skyscrapers, so the Anderson family, which has owned the property for 25 years and resented the drunk new neighbors, put the land up for sale. Seattle design firm and developer Pb Elemental submitted a bid to buy it. “This is urban infill basically,” says Elemental principal Chris Pardo. On less than a 3,000 square foot parcel, the firm plans to build a 440’ tower.
The incredibly small footprint poses a structural challenge that Pardo says required guns from Magnusson Klemencic Associates, engineers behind the downtown Seattle Library. “It ends up being a flagpole,” he explains. The tower is supported by a 30’ hollow concrete spine, rooted 90’ deep in the ground. Each floor is only about 2,100 square feet.
“The name has nothing to do with ego or anything,” Pardo says of calling it the Trophy Building, a description normally ascribed to prestigious civic architecture. Nevertheless, the distinctively slender and flaring design makes for the sort of landmark that will define Seattle. But such monuments rarely contain residences afforded by ordinary folks. The Trophy will be no exception. Lower units will begin at $2 million; upper penthouses, which consume two levels, will top out at $18 million.
The building will contain only 19 units.
But because there are fewer than 20 units, the building is exempt from the city’s design-review process, according to Pardo. He says that falling through the loophole was inadvertent. (My calls to the Department of Planning and Development to verify this loophole haven’t been returned.) It’s interesting, perhaps even alarming, that a skyscraper can be built without some sort of design guidance from the city. And in the case of the Trophy Building, it’s particularly surprising because it will be 40’ taller than surrounding proposed skyscrapers, such as 1200 Stewart and the Stewart Minor Tower, which are subject to extensive design guidance.
The Trophy is allowed to exceed 400’ by optimizing its rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The Trophy facade may include solar panels, the roof could hold a postage-stamp garden, and the roof might integrate a wind turbine.
Despite the tower’s fuzzy, green potential, my only criticism of this building is how it relates to the street. The narrow base requires a vertical parking mechanism that either sends cars down or up to their spaces. It will consume the basement and bottom five floors of the building. This means the residents closest to the street will be sixty feet up, removing eyes from the sidewalk, and thereby making an already-sketchy area ripe for criminal activity.
But that concern may be for naught. NW Trophy’s Mike Anderson says, “Well, we think it’s not going to go through from what we found out. The gentleman has changed his mind or is not going to step forward with money.” He continues, “It’s still for sale and we have a few more offers in the works. “ However, when I called Elemental this morning, the receptionist told me that plans for the design were featured in the company’s March newsletter.