The construction boom reshaping the Seattle streets with new residential and office density is also transforming the city's skyline, as several skyscraping towers are currently planned or under construction throughout the downtown core, with many low-rise structures being intensified or completely redeveloped. The iconic Rainier Tower and sprawling three-storey mall, which occupy an entire city block between Fourth and Fifth Avenues and Union and University Streets are about to undergo a dramatic change. Developer Wright Runstad & Company is indeed proposing the construction of a new 58-story tower known as Rainier Square on top of the existing mall.
Designed by NBBJ, the $600 million Rainier Square Tower will add close to 70,000 square feet of office space on the first 40 floors or so of the 259-metre tower, with close to 200 residential units on the upper levels. The building's architecture will be characterized by its unusual shape, which has been compared to a ski jump. The shape creates a 2,800-square-metre floor plate at the base of the tower which gradually decreases as the building ascends towards the 40th floor, where it reaches 1,600 square metres in size and remains there all the way up to the pinnacle.
With 27 different floor sizes and even more possible layouts, the Rainier Square Tower aims to attract smaller, younger companies who wish to rent entire floor plates for themselves within a modern and efficient building, something that might not be possible in office towers boasting large floor plates. With the elevator shaft located on the side of the edifice, floor plates will feature unobstructed open spaces.
Along fourth Avenue, the developer intends to construct a separate 12-storey, 155-room high-end hotel featuring the same reflective glass facade. No announcements have been made so far as to which hotel group will take up the space. 2,800 square metres of retail spaces will occupy the base of both buildings when the project is eventually complete in 2019. Following the recent Seattle Department of Planning and Development approval for the complex, Wright Runstad & Company announced that construction on the project will start in early 2017, with the first tenants moving in by late 2018.