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Will New Hotels Mean Vanishing Views?

By September 5, 2012

1521, 8th and Stewart, Belltown, Downtown, Escala, Olive 8, Seattle Condos

We love homes with great views here at Urban Living.com and many of you do too. An alert reader pointed out that some of those views could vanish if yesterday’s front page Seattle Times story pans out.

The article notes that a wave of new hotels is planned for Downtown Seattle. So, we decided to check out the proposed locations and found that there will likely be an impact on surrounding condos and apartments, including the likes of Escala, Olive 8, and the 1521 condos. First, here’s a map of where eight of the planned hotels would go.

We acknowledge up front this is not a technical survey. We went to each site and looked up and around, just as any concerned homeowner would. It’s hard to show the potential impact with still photos from the ground so we have a video in the works. In the meantime, here is a recap in bullet form with aerial photos courtesy of Bing Maps

1st Ave. and Stewart – A 12-story hotel and apartment building planned for this lot near Pike Place Market could affect the northerly views of an office building to the south. But, other than that, we didn’t see any condo or apartment building that would see a major change.

2nd Ave. and Stewart – **UPDATE** We’ve learned that the proposed 38-story hotel would not be placed on the parking lot on 2nd & Stewart. Instead, it would be across the street on 2nd. That would mean any impact on the 1521 condo tower would be for those who look north since the proposed tower would rise up directly to the north. While the 31-story Escala Condo tower is several blocks away on 4th Ave, one could see how a 38-story building to the southwest could block out some view of Puget Sound, West Seattle and the majestic cranes at the Port of Seattle.

Aerial view of 2nd Ave & Stewart, courtesy of Bing Maps

2nd Ave. and Pike – A developer reportedly has a contract to buy and turn the historic Eitel Building on this block into a boutique hotel. If it’s only a renovation job with no need building, it obviously wouldn’t change the existing views. Though, it would surely spruce up the vibe in that corner since the building currently looks run down, with many windows boarded up. An improvement in the look and feel of the structure would also boost the prospects for the 1521 condo building, which is just up the block.

3rd Ave. and Pike – The Times notes that the owner of the Kress Building on 3rd has approached the city about building a hotel on top of the existing 3-story structure. Without knowing how many additional floors there would be, it’s hard to see what the impact would be. If the new hotel is tall enough, it could change the view for residents in the condo tower to the west on 2nd Ave, at least those who live on the east side of the building. But, there is quite a bit of separation between the two, including an alley, an empty parking lot and 2nd Ave.

5th Ave. and Stewart – City permit files reportedly show a Colorado developer is planning an 18-story tower at this location, which is across the street from The Westin Hotel. This hotel, if it proceeds, could cause the most significant impact on any condo views out of the eight proposed developments. This site, currently a parking lot, is just southeast of the 31-story Escala condo tower. The only thing separating them is an alley.

Aerial view of 5th Ave & Stewart, courtesy of Bing Maps

5th Ave N. and Broad – A developer is reportedly planning an 8-story building with hotel rooms and apartments at this location, which is across the street from the Space Needle, just north of Fisher Plaza. At just 8 stories, it should not affect surrounding views of the top of the needle, though there are some new apartments on Taylor Avenue a block away. It’s hard to tell whether residents on the first two floors, depending on the angle, may be affected.

8th Ave. and Stewart – This block is currently home to the Greyhound bus terminal. The developer is said to be considering a major structure that would house up to 1,200 hotel rooms and 600 apartments. A building of this size would surely affect the residents of the Olivian Apartments to the south and the Olive 8 to the southwest. That this block would get develop should not come as a surprise to newer buyers at the Oliver 8. I remember touring the model home in the building and the marketing reps pointed out the possibility of a major development at that intersection. Still, if it comes to pass, it would hurt, especially for those who paid for views of South Lake Union that would be replaced by a big building.

Aerial view of 8th Ave & Stewart, courtesy of Bing Maps

Boren Ave. between Howell and Stewart – A placard on the property says a 14-story structure has been proposed. The piece of land is northeast of the Aspira apartments. While a storage facility sits between the two, one could see a small impact on the views, at least for those living on the middle floors of the Aspira and who look to the northeast.

The Seattle Times was keen to remind readers that it’s far from certain that all of these hotels will get built, if at all. So if you live near these locations, your view may not be affected at all. But it’s good to know about the possibility. What do you think? Do you live next to one of these potential developments? Share your view…