** apartments are worth more than hotel units?
As construction on the buildings rising above Capitol Hill Station is completed, the project’s lead developer has been looking for ways to put the properties and their hundreds of new apartment units along Broadway to use as quickly as possible. You might see a new hotel operating in the neighborhood next to the busy transit station — for a while, at least.
Developer Gerding Edlen is securing permits for a possible temporary transition in plans from apartments to 60 hotel rooms managed by the WhyHotel chain on the project’s southwest edge above Broadway and E Barbara Bailey Way, Jill Sherman of Capitol Hill Station master tells CHS.
WhyHotel is a Washington, D.C. based player in the growing “apartment hotel” industry that is targeting a more premium, extended stay and work housing-focused cut of the hospitality market. CHS reported in January on Sonder, another industry startup, stepping in to replace planned office space in an 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. Two floors of the under construction building will be dedicated to the hotel units while the rest of the upper floors will be standard apartment units. The change in plans in this project was a simpler effort — the city treats office and lodging as the same use category.
The proposed plan on Broadway, meanwhile, comes as a solution to construction on each of the “transit oriented development” buildings set to be wrapped up over the course of the rest of year. Some, like the 110 affordable units in Station House are being planned to be ready for new, qualifying residents in only a matter of weeks.
Others like the “premium” apartments being planned for the “B-South” building overlooking Cal Anderson won’t be ready until August at the earliest, Sherman said. The hotel proposal could help put the “Building C” property into motion — and generating cash — as soon as its construction is complete.
Building C is lined up to be part of more than 400 new apartment units and thousands of square feet of commercial space above Capitol Hill Station. The Exploration Academy is lined up to make the ground floor of Building C its home. The Wallingford Center-born daycare will have space for around 74 pupils across four classrooms and will be able to use Cal Anderson Park as a playspace. Parents who commute via light rail will only need to walk a block or so while others will be able to take advantage of the more than 200 spaces in the development’s underground parking. An unidentified dentistry practice will also be part of the building below its upper floors of apartments.
A representative for Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections confirmed the existing use of Building C “is permitted as residential use (apartments or condos).”
“However, a 6-month temporary use permit has been requested to allow the building to be used as lodging (hotel) in the short term,” the rep writes. “Once a permit is issued, a series of 6-month renewals can be requested for up to a length of two years. Afterwards, the use reverts back to the permitted residential use.”
The temporary hotels are a bit of a trend in the city’s most recent development. At 210 Wall Street, a similar proposal is in the works. “In that case, the applicant stated that high rise residential buildings take an average of 12 to 24 months to fully lease, leading the applicant to propose to change the use to lodging, as a temporary use, for four floors of the completed building,” the city rep said.
Even with the permit in hand, a temporary hotel at Capitol HIll Station might not happen. Like most plans right now, concerns over COVID-19 could put everything on hold.
“Due to the current disruption to travel, this may not end up going forward,” Sherman said.
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