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This Could Be A New Condo Tower on First Hill

By August 22, 2013

800 Columbia, Downtown, First Hill

Last night, the East Design Review Board blessed a sleek 30-story residential project at 8th Ave and Columbia St. on First Hill. It means that we’re one step closer to adding another cool Weber-Thompson design to the Seattle skyline, and there may be better news on the horizon.

A consultant representing the developer, Alecta, told Urban Living that the building could be offered as condominiums. “It’s possible,” said William Justen of The Justen Company. “It will depend on the market and financing among other factors.”


Rendering of “8th and Columbia” at 800 Columbia St.


Rendering of “8th and Columbia” at 800 Columbia St.

While the project is currently planned for 287 apartments, the possibility of those units turning into condos is welcome news for buyers looking for more inventory of new and modern living spaces. Before the Insignia project started rising in the Denny Triangle a few months ago, a new condo tower hadn’t broken ground around the downtown core in five years.

The 8th and Columbia project still has a ways to go before any dirt is moved, including getting its Masters Use Permit and building permits. But judging from the positive reception last night from the Design Review Board members and its future neighbors across the street, the 30-story building shouldn’t face too many hurdles getting the green light.

In the meantime, we can appreciate the renderings and imagine what will surely be awesome Puget Sound and downtown views from the upper floors. To orient you, the site is just south of the M Street Apartment building, west of the St. James Cathedral and a block east of I-5.


M Street Apartments is on the left. St. James Cathedral is on the right.


My favorite design feature, aside from the abundance of glass, is the gently-curved “wing” at the top of the building. (In the image above, it’s labelled the iconic roofline). Blaine Weber, founding principal at Weber Thompson, said the feature is “a sculptural and iconic expression that seeks to enhances the skyline by sympathizing with the vocabulary of other new towers on this part of First Hill.”

Roof top deck

Roof top deck

The elegant design makes up for the one downside of the building, which is that it will block the prime view of St. James Cathedral as you drive on I-5 through downtown and look to the east.

A number of the Design Review Board members and residents praised the park on the south side of the building as it will provide a nice open space for the general public.

First Hill residents attend Design Review Board meeting for 8th and Columbia.

First Hill residents attend Design Review Board meeting for 8th and Columbia.

All renderings courtesy of Weber Thompson, Alecta and The Justen Company.

A two-level park that will be open to the public

A two-level park that will be open to the public…

Bocce Ball

…complete with bocce ball.