Lennar (NYSE: LEN) is proposing to build 330-foot tall buildings on the surface parking lot next to Town Hall, the cultural community center housed in a historic former church building. In records filed with the city, the project team said it's working with Town Hall and plans a public plaza on the west side of the facility.
Lennar's project is called the Spring Street North Block and will have around 550 apartments, 414 underground parking stalls and space for a small cafe in the west tower, according to documents the company submitted to the city.
The move shows how bullish Lennar is on the Puget Sound region where, according to real estate brokerage Kidder Mathews, local economists have revised their job growth projections for 2016 from the initial 1.8 percent to 3.1 percent.
Lennar is building two other large projects in the Seattle area, including one in West Seattle, which will have a Whole Foods Market (NYSE: WFM), and another one in Issaquah.
Lennar is proceeding with the First Hill project even though competitors are building thousands of new apartments. Around 1,225 new units were added over the last five years, according to Seattle company Dupre + Scott Apartment Advisors, and another nearly 2,600 units are planned between now and 2019.
The new apartments are leasing up. Kitty-corner from Spring Street North is Cielo, a 2-year-old tower. This spring, Cielo developer Bob Kagan of Laconia, said 90 percent of the 335 apartments had been rented.
Lennar plans to ask the city to sell it the alley that runs through the Seneca Street block, which is also bounded by Spring Street and Eighth Avenue and Hubbell Place. The company plans to create a through-block connection that will lead to the plaza that the developer said will be an entry into Freeway Park, which is across the street.
Lennar and the project architect, Perkins + Will, submitted drawings of Spring Street North to the city in advance of an "early design guidance" meeting at 6:30 p.m., Oct. 18, in the Seattle University's Admissions & Alumni Building, 824 12th Ave.
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