The direction for one mixed-use development under construction at the base of Capitol Hill might show the appetite for new office space in the neighborhood isn’t as strong as the downtown lodging market.
Pivot, the eight-story, 65-unit apartment and mixed-use building rising on the land where a surface parking lot once spread out on Pine just above downtown, is again, well, pivoting — this time, office space is out and a new era hotel service is in.
Developer Vibrant Cities CFO Ming Fung confirmed the new direction for the project with CHS and says two stories of planned commercial office space will be redeployed as lodging operated by Sonder, a startup dedicated to creating a network of tech and business worker appropriate short and longer term stay options in large cities around the world.
Fung describes Sonder as something like “a very organized Airbnb operator” that features stylish properties and complete living experiences including access to things like kitchens and washers and dryers.
When we first started reporting on the project that replaced a problem Pike/Pine parking lot, the vision for the development was centered on upscale apartments and ambitious gardened terraces that would be fully showcased on the property’s berth above I-5 across from downtown. But after a change in business for the developer, plans for the project shifted in 2018 toward incorporating office space amid calls for more daytime activity by the neighborhood’s business community. Much of that call may have been met — for now, at least — highlighted by 11th Ave’s massive project that is now home to the neighborhood’s WeWork.
Will we see more planned office space around the Hill dedicated to lodging? Fung says the change for permitting was no problem because the city treats office and lodging as the same use category.
Now, two floors of the Pivot building will be dedicated to the Sonder suites with the five floors above filled with residential apartments. Fung said the project is still on the hunt for a street level commercial anchor. Marketing for the main space shows two large 2,000-square-foot suites, one set up to host a restaurant kitchen. A smaller, 700-square-foot berth appears to be locked up. “Pivot is ideally positioned at the west end of the Pike-Pine neighborhood in one of the most sought after retail and restaurant corridors,” the marketing sheet reads. The marketers can now add probably hungry hotel residents to the pitch.
The Pivot building is expected to open by this fall.
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