With a Nearly $26M Construction Loan, 127 Uptown Units Close to Breaking Ground

May 13, 2021

Vibrant Cities has two nearby apartment projects in Lower QueenAnne, both designed by Jackson MainArchitecture. The eight-story, 93-unitRoystone is currently underway withPavilion Construction, with about three concrete levels now above grade.

Now the architect says on its blog that the eight-story, 127-unit Niwa, at 513 First Ave. N. has a construction loan and will break ground this year. Pavilion will build that, too. The old retail, Chutney's and a liquor store, has closed — and the midblock site isfenced.

Jackson Main's Dan Rasmusson said in a statement, “JMA designed this lively mixed-use building in 2017, and I am excited see this project through to the finish line. Thedevelopment will bring a fresh energy to this beautiful and historic Uptown neighborhood.”

A demolition permit was issued in March, and the other required permits were secured last year. Public records indicate a $25.8 million loan in March from Bank OZK, of Little Rock, Arkansas. Under a different name, Vibrant Cities acquired the site in 2015 for $3.2 million. The goal is to complete the project by 2023.

Conveniently, Pavilion already has a construction office around the corner from Roystone, so it'll be well positioned to build Niwa. The team there also includes Ken Large Landscape Architect; Robison Engineering, MEP; Decker Consulting Engineers, civil; Brienen Structural Engineers; Bush, Roed & Hitchings, surveyor.

Niwa will also have about 5,712 square feet of retail/commercial space. One level of underground parking, with 29 stalls, will be accessed from the alley to the west. A bike room will have 36 stalls.

Units will run from studios to two-bedrooms, with sizes from about 315 to 750 square feet. Part ofthe eighth floor will have a south-facing terrace, with about 3,000 square feet.

Total project size, including the parking, is about 97,000 square feet. The Mandatory HousingAffordability payment will be about $2.3 million.

On its south side, Niwa's midblock connector will extend west to Dick's Drive-In on Queen Anne Avenue North. That and a fence will also separate Niwa from the Inn at Queen Anne, which KingCounty will purchase to house formerly homeless men over age 55. That reportedly $16.5 million deal hasn't yet closed; the seller will be an LLC related to the Russo family and its Metropolitan Management.

A few steps north, the Roystone project is at 631 Queen Anne Ave. N. It replaced a former Texaco station on the corner of West Roy Street. That polluted site required extensive remediation.

Pavilion's Roger Woods said in a statement, “Approximately 16,235 tons of petroleum-contaminated soil, 62 tons of soil containing solvents and 1.47 tons of soil containing waste oil were removed and disposed of property.”

Seven old tanks were removed before site work began, in March of last year; and three more tanks were subsequently discovered and removed. Jackson Main says that BEE Consulting and EPRO Services used the latter's PreTak waterproofing and contaminant vapor intrusion membrane, 48 millimeters thick, to protect all the concrete work at and below grade. Emerald City Water proofing did the installation there.

The goal there is to complete the building by year's end.