The Downtown Design Review Board will take its first look at a design proposal for a 14-story hotel at 103 Pike St on Tuesday, October 3rd. Across from Seattle’s premier tourist destination which attracts more than 10 million visitors per year, the project aims to connect with Pike Place Market through high-quality pedestrian amenities. The developer promises to attract a boutique hotel operator to create a “small destination hotel” that becomes a “landmark for the city” with a rooftop bar activating the neighborhood late into the night and offering stunning views. Ankrom Moison is the architecture firm tasked with achieving that vision.

Tuesday night we will find out if the review board thinks architects are on the right track in early designs. The architects’ preferred plan is a pivot concept that would skew the tower slightly off the street grid, which they argue would activate the southwest corner and provide visual interest from First Avenue. The preferred scheme would include 121 hotel units, five residential units, and about 7,200 square feet of commercial space–slightly less total square footage than the other two options presented.

The PIvot would swing the hotel section off the retail base. (Ankrom Moison Architects)

The 14-story tower would max out allowed buildable height for the parcel’s DMC-145 zoning, which has a base floor area ratio of 5.0, maxing out at 8.0 with incentives. Just to the north and east, the zoning jumps as high as 440 feet with DMC-440, but the block adjacent the market is zoned less high, likely in deference to the bustling relatively low-slung public market.

Many nearby buildings are much taller. For example, the 2nd and Pine project under construction two blocks north is 400 feet. (Ankrom Moison Architects)

The existing building occupying the site is three stories tall and hosts a handful of businesses including Seattle Coffee Works, Seattle Shirt Company, Pho Mililani, a smoke shop, and the Green Tortoise Hostel.

Existing building from Pike Place pedestrian scramble. (Google Maps)

In addition to boasting a prime location for people walking, the site is near the Westlake Center light rail station and will soon be adjacent to a streetcar stop when the Center City Connector opens, which is anticipated in 2020. Downtown’s premier protected bike route in Second Avenue is just a block north. Given the wealth of options, the project proposes no parking.

Transportation access with circle showing a rough five-minute walkshed. (Ankrom Moison Architects)

Architects hope to echo the spirit of Pike Place Market with their two floors of retail and their design choices with similar steel and glass touches proposed. The existing building scores relatively well on the Jan Gehl door index with five along its small street frontage, so hopefully that important aspect carries over as well. Architects do envision more transparency than the obscured windows of T-shirt company, smoke shop, and pho restaurant currently provide.

Design cues are taken from Pike Place Market. (Moison Ankrom Architects)

The design review meeting is at 7pm tomorrow (Tuesday, October 3rd) at Seattle City Hall Room L280 and includes a chance for brief public testimony.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I think losing this facade will really screw up the look of that iconic intersection. Sure, go up and above that facade, do the pivot above that facade (maybe) but for goodness sakes, save the facade and the neon tortoise sign. Am I the only one who thinks so?

    • That was my same thought. That’s a nice facade. I suppose it’s a bit easier for construction if you can just wipe the whole building over and start from scratch, but I think it’s worth preserving what’s there.

    • Yeah I think preserving the facade and signage would be worthwhile, especially if the windows could be made larger and more transparent at the street level.

  2. Oof. Could we at least have red brick? The heck with them working so hard to “echo the spirit” – the theme of the place just isn’t that complex! Agreed that keeping the facade would be a nice touch, but heck, at the LEAST make the brick red!!

  3. Supposedly the Green Tortoise is one of the better hostels in the US. Aside from that, it’s a shame to see a $35 a night hostel replaced with a $300 a night hotel.

    Also, given the much higher density of people staying in a dormitory style hostel vs a luxury hotel, this building probably isn’t increasing the capacity over the hostel much.

    It would be nice if they required providing space for the hostel in the new building…

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