Boom Hope You Like that Hole at Second Ave and Pine St
posted by March 1 at 15:37 PMon
Construction of the luxury 1 Hotel & Residences is on hold until at least late summer while the $200 million downtown Seattle project undergoes a redesign to become more appealing to lenders, its developer says.
The project — first in Seattle to offer “condo-hotel” units — has been stung by slow sales and the national credit crisis, Paul Brenneke said Thursday. “It’s obviously a difficult credit environment out there,” he said, “and we’re trying to position this project in the best possible light.”
This could be a bellwether of a slowdown in downtown’s development. Or it could just be that 1 Hotel & Residences was a poorly marketed, crappy idea all along. I’ve disliked the project since I saw a 17-page ad in an in-flight magazine billing it as the “New Urbanism.” Seriously? A building that contains all the amenities a millionaire wants in one exclusive fortification isn’t New Urbanism. It’s a gated country club that happens to be downtown. Cosmopolitan centers don’t need imposed mechanisms for getting people lunch and massages; that’s what downtowns naturally do.
So the main problem here is a bad model, not the national credit mess. Plenty of other Seattle developments, from luxury towers to squat apartment buildings, are moving right along. However, the luxury condo market is small, and to compete, developers must build residences that are distinctive and exquisite. 1 Hotel & Residences was neither. The developers are smart to pause and rethink the business model. If they can’t create something truly magnificent—and the designs thus far haven’t been—the developers of this project and other luxury high-rise condos downtown should revamp their plans and build smaller units and sell them for less.