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November 24, 2014

SF hotel developer plans 50-story project on Fifth Avenue

The Seattle Times

Sanjay Bhatt

A partnership led by Stanford Hotels Group proposes to build the hotel and residential tower on a parking lot at the downtown Seattle corner where the monorail crosses Stewart Street, according to plans filed with the city.

A San Francisco hotel developer proposes to build a 50-story hotel and residential tower on a parking lot at the downtown Seattle corner where the monorail crosses Stewart Street,according to plans filed with the city.

A real-estate partnership controlled by Stanford Hotels Group paid $16.75 million last year to acquire the 12,960-square-foot lot at 1903 Fifth Ave.

The group intends to seek permits for a tower consisting of a 284-room hotel, 90 apartments, 133 condominiums, street-level retail and parking for about 200 cars, according to papers filed earlier this month.

Stanford Hotels is scheduled to meet with the city's design-review board at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 to receive feedback on the proposal.

The company, which also plans a 15-story hotel in South Lake Union, didn't respond to requests for comment Monday.

There are many hotels near the Fifth Avenue site: The Westin Seattle, a large convention hotel, is across the street.

Within a short walk is the 229-room Warwick Seattle Hotel, at Fourth Avenue and Lenora Street, and the 160-room Mayflower Park Hotel, at Fourth and Olive Way.

But any new hotel is more likely to compete with other new hotels, said John Gordon, a senior vice president at commercial real-estate brokerage Kidder Mathews.

And there are plenty of hotels proposed or under construction in downtown Seattle, which this year is on track to set new records for hotel occupancy and room rates.

Gordon said the shortage of hotel rooms is due to the city's job growth, especially from South Lake Union employers like and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Stanford Hotels' proposed hotel at Fifth and Stewart is likely to attract leisure and individual business travelers, Gordan said.

Over the summer, Stanford obtained a permit to demolish the three-story Bio-Rad Systems building at 300 Terry Ave. N. next to Amazon's South Lake Union headquarters, where it plans to build a 15-story, 283-room hotel with a restaurant and 11,000 square-foot conference center, records show.

Seattle developer Touchstone's Hill7 project on Boren Avenue between Stewart and Howell streets is expected to have a 222-room Hilton Garden; the developer also plans to open in 2016 a 12-story structure at the northeast corner of First Avenue and Stewart Street with 159 rooms and 97 extended-stay residences.

And two blocks north of Stanford Hotels' parking lot, Everett-based Path America has broken ground on a 40-story tower that it says will include a 142-room Hotel Indigo and 342 apartments.

The biggest pending hotel project in Seattle, R.C. Hedreen's proposed 43-story convention hotel at Ninth Avenue and Stewart Street, would include 1,680 hotel rooms and 154 units of affordable housing if the city grants it an alley vacation. But if the city denies Hedreen the alley, it's pursuing a 45-story hotel with 1,264 rooms, records show.

Last month, Hedreen received a favorable decision from the city, but a union that represents hotel workers has appealed it.

The full block development between Stewart and Howell streets and Eighth and Ninth avenues was once a Greyhound bus station.

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