Bold proposals will inform future legislative and regulatory efforts to advance conversion projects, optimize urban assets, and meet unique neighborhood needs
Mayor Bruce Harrell and The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) announced the winners of the City’s design competition seeking innovative ideas for downtown office space conversions. The winning proposals exemplified imaginative and achievable designs that integrate housing, commercial areas, and community amenities, fostering a thriving and inclusive urban environment.
The Call for Ideas: Office-to-Residential Conversion Visions for Seattle Downtown competition, invited design teams and building owners to submit proposals that explore converting existing office space into new residential and commercial uses. Part of Mayor Harrell’s Downtown Activation Plan, the design competition aims to spur the creation of innovative, sustainable, and achievable ideas to activate downtown, optimize the use of our urban assets, meet unique neighborhood needs.
“Central to our Downtown Activation Plan is a commitment to creating a robust downtown neighborhood with the amenities and housing that ensure this isn’t just a great place to work, but a place for families and residents of all kinds. As we learn and apply the best lessons from the pandemic, we know our downtown will evolve and we as a city are taking steps to be on the forefront of innovation.” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “This design competition sought bold ideas from partners that are best positioned to help us design and build a downtown where we can all live, work, learn, shop, play, and so much more. The proposals submitted represent how we can be bold, go outside the box, and embrace Space Needle thinking to transform our downtown. We will use these ideas to explore and inform next steps to increase housing in our city core and activate our streets with new and diverse businesses and services at the ground level.”
Thirteen ideas from 12 design teams were submitted to the city. Together, the submitted design proposals offer a glimpse into the possibilities of future downtown communities, including co-living, shared work, and collective garden spaces. The top three submittals were selected for their designs that were both imaginative and achievable. They include:
- Project Team: Hybrid Architecture, LLC with Tom Geeslin, Project Architect; Great Expectations, LLC; and Diamond Parking whose winning entry suggested the conversion of the Mutual Life Building built in 1890 into a co-living space that would provide affordable units, creating environmental, economic, and socially responsible housing.
- Gensler, Seattle Office Project Team: Case Creal, Senior Associate at Gensler; Marissa Brown at Gensler; and Jeroen Teeuw, Senior Associate and Design Director at Gensler who proposed a building with a more modern footprint, a centralized elevator core and a variety of unit mixes with great natural light. The submission highlighted code changes that would make a stronger case for conversion.
- Project Team: The Miller Hull Partnership (Scott Wolf, Margaret Sprug, Cory Mattheis, Claire Rennhack, Whitney Pearce, Tobias Jimenez, June Zheng, Chris Hellstern, Gabrielle Peterson), and Stanley Real Estate whose proposal focused on adaptive reuse of historic buildings in Pioneer Square, converted into residential units and a shared courtyard.