If the owner of the Smith Tower gets what they want, you can add yet another condo to dozens already planned for downtown’s future. Walton Street Capital is hoping to convert the Smith Tower into condos:
Ninety-three years after Pioneer Square’s Smith Tower was built as an elegant business address, its new owner hopes to turn the 38-story landmark into residential condominiums.
Chicago-based Walton Street Capital filed papers with the city Wednesday to begin what could be a months-long process of getting approval to redo the tower as housing.
It seems that living in old buildings is more charming — and practical — than working in them.
“We bought it, frankly, as an office building, and it wasn’t until we found out we would lose the two largest tenants in the building that we really looked carefully at what our options were,” [Walton Street representative Michael] Allmon said. “We’ve just become excited about the possibility of changing its use.
“It’s important that all possible current and future uses be explored in the preservation of this iconic tower,” he added.
Allmon believes a condominium-ized Smith Tower would have little trouble competing with the dozen or so swank condo developments under construction in downtown Seattle.
“I think this really is a category unto itself,” he said.
I personally think it would be pretty awesome to live in the Smith Tower (that is of course if I worked anywhere near downtown). It’s always been one of my favorite buildings in Seattle. I made a crude LEGO model of it (crude compared to this one), and it is featured prominently in the only painting my wife and I own.
On the other hand, they’ll most likely be ridiculously expensive luxury condos, far out of reach for most people, and besides that, does downtown Seattle really need yet another tower full of condos, on top of the 49 others in the works? Really?
(Amy Martinez & Elizabeth Rhodes, Seattle Times, 02.22.2007)