Location Location Location

This view got me to thinking that if I was going to develop a highrise luxury condo/hotel, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t give the thumbs up to a site that had a hulking, 479 foot tall concrete bunker directly across the alley to the southwest.  It’s not like that was the last available infill site in the entire Denny triangle.

There’s something sort of embarrassing about how close those two buildings are to each other, when most of the other buildings in the area have lots of breathing space.  And the building heights are painfully close to being equal, but different enough to look awkward together.

One can only assume that they did the math, and found that the lower cost of land offset the estimated loss in value due to blocked views.  Or what am I missing?


[  Looking west:  Olive 8 coming out of the ground, right on the heels of the Olivian, adjacent to the northeast.  ]

21 Responses to “Location Location Location”

  1. Ellen

    The buyers at Cosmo are facing similar concerns with the office tower going up right across the alley from them. With Olive8 we can only imagine that the scale of the two buildings might have looked better before they decided to tack the few extra floors of condos on after construction has started. With the market as it is, I wonder how that choice is working out for them.

  2. TR

    everything about that project is nauseating. Is it possible that all parties involved in its planning were messed up on goofballs?

  3. LB

    Holy crap – aren’t there any regulations about minimum distance between towers?

  4. joshuadf

    I’m guessing the location was more about the hotel than the condos: it’s very close to the Convention Center and Paramount Theater, while still being walking distance of the retail core and perhaps Broadway on a nice day. Also, perhaps you can charge even more for the few corner units that do have a view when those buyers know their neighbors are looking at the Qwest Plaza. :)

    By the way, the Olive-Stewart triangle site in the bottom right corner of your second photo is the location for Mithun’s Center for Urban Agriculture, their “coolest project not yet built – vertical farming in downtown Seattle.”

  5. Matthew

    I’m equally dumbfounded. There’s another massive screw-up a couple blocks away that I recently posted to my blog: http://www.abollendesign.com/blog/2009/02/room-with-view-of-room.html

    Nice that city screwed up not once, but twice at the same time. Though the one I wrote about is slightly different, being that both buildings are relatively new. The condo buyers should have done their research before shelling out for the west facing views…

  6. wes

    Maybe it qualifies them for LEED points for shading western windows.

  7. Andrew

    That quest building is actually attractive.

  8. Matt the Engineer

    I say this is a great start. All we need are about 5 more nice looking buildings in the right locations and we can completely encase the concrete mess, improving our skyline.

  9. justin

    Two ugly peas in a pod.

  10. Sabina Pade

    I think the Olive8 design team has to take the brickbats for this one.

    The hulking Bell bunker surely isn’t an easy office pile to love. Yet it also isn’t likely to fall down, or be torn down, any time soon. Why did the Olive8 team choose not to acknowledge its existence? Had they designed Olive8 to complement, rather than ignore the concrete monolith just across the alley, the aesthetic and functional result could have been beneficial for both structures. Seattle might have found itself in possession of an impressive, even captivating, urban ensemble. What Seattle got instead is an embarrassing one.

  11. spencer

    I’m with Matt. We love our density but this is one of the issues we have to address when going up with more units. Not every scenario will be perfect but it keeps increasing the supply.

    This building is a shame, maybe, they could have stepped it back after a few floors. I do like the trippy spots I see in the corners of the windows. It’s like that old mind game….

  12. Matt the Engineer

    Heh. I was trying to be sarcastic. I do think you have a point, but only if you combined it with Sabina’s.

  13. David

    seen from the west, you can tell there is actually not THAT much overlap between the two buildings. It does look pretty bad from this angle, but in this pic (below) you can see that most of the building face is not directly facing the Quest Building.

    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=449693&page=31

    see third pic down in #604

  14. Joe G

    I think that this is perfectly fine. As all of us know Seattle seriously needs density. Look at cities like New York, these situations pop up all the time. It is something that we are all going to have to get used to. Buildings are going to get closer together and thats the way it is. I think the cities plan for density such as this in the core is a good one and that it would make a lot less sense to see this sort of building in outer parts of the city.

  15. Spencer

    David, those pictures made my neck sore.

    I’m with Joe. Sometimes density has to mean building close to another building.

  16. dan bertolet

    Damn the torpedoes, I appear to be accused of objecting to density! Never!!!!!!!!

    All I was pointing out is that it sure seems like a pretty dumb choice for a site, assuming there were other choices, which I am, in fact, assuming, given that there are so many old lowrise buildings and parking lots in the area.

  17. Rob A

    Looks fine to me. I agree it looks like NYC style density – love it!

  18. Rob A

    And, it doesn’t quite work the way you think it does Dan.

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