Urban Visions is literally making way for the development of The Net with the recent commencement of demolition of the old structure at the site of the upcoming 807,000-square-foot office project.
The company plans to kick off construction of the new tower after securing a prelease agreement with an anchor tenant for the sustainability- and health-centric development.
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“Urban Visions believes the definition of ‘demand’ is evolving dramatically as we slowly come out of the pandemic. Tenants are going to be demanding office space with the health and wellness features The Net is providing and we are positioned ahead of that curve,” Greg Smith, founder & CEO of Urban Visions told Commercial Property Executive.
Urban Visions is developing The Net with Mitsui Fudosan America, which joined the project in September 2020, when Urban Visions formed a joint venture with the company and sold the development site into the new partnership in a transaction valued at $127.7 million, according to King County records. The three-story, 64,000-square-foot office structure that currently occupies the property at 801 3rd Ave. is now being removed and ultimately, The Net will sprout up in its place with the new address of 875 Third Ave.
The plan for The Net, designed by architecture firm NBBJ, is for the project to not only change downtown Seattle’s skyline, but also alter the city’s concept of the office workplace. A next-generation office building melding climate-friendly elements with wellness-focused design, The Net will offer a state-of-the-art ventilation system; smart technology allowing for touchless movement from street to suite; rooftop green space in the form of a three-tier skypark; dedicated bike parking; and multimodal transportation options. The 36-story tower will also feature an all-electric mechanical system that will eradicate the need for fossil fuels, a resource system that reduces water and energy use, as well as an open floor plan and circulation staircase that maximize natural light and collaboration space. Smith added, “The Net’s side-core design makes for extremely adaptable floorplates, matched with a technology backbone to meet post-pandemic office needs.”
The Net will hold the distinction of being the first Gold pre-certified WELL project in the Pacific Northwest. The building will also pursue LEED Gold certification, as well as Salmon-Safe certification and Wired Certified Gold designation.
“Because of the wildfires that have unfortunately become commonplace throughout the West Coast over the last several years, Urban Visions has been focused on creating spaces that support air quality and health, as well as our climate—and we have gotten even more focused on those features as a result of the pandemic,” said Smith.
Seattle office scene
In providing the optimal climate-friendly and healthy workplace, The Net will incorporate the kind of cutting-edge technology that will likely prove enticing to tech tenants. “Urban Visions definitely expects interests to come from the tech sector, as well as the traditional downtown financial services, insurance, real estate type tenant,” Smith noted. “The technology backbone of The Net will be state-of-the-art from a connectivity and cybersecurity perspective, which will certainly attract tech companies, but has also become critical infrastructure for most other downtown office users.”
Seattle’s otherwise strong office market suffered the same pandemic-induced hindrances as that of other major metropolitan cities, recording reduced absorption and higher vacancies in 2020. However, the outlook appears bright across the Puget Sound region. According to a report by JLL, which is spearheading leasing activity for The Net, COVID-19 vaccines have instilled optimism in the market, and widespread immunization is anticipated to lead firms back into the office environment in earnest. JLL projects that leasing activity will pick up in the latter half of 2021.
Urban Visions is keen on the future of the Seattle office market as well, but the company does foresee change. “A year from now, Urban Visions expects demand for Class A office space in the Seattle regional market to remain strong. But the usage of office space may be different and evolve over time,” Smith said. “Urban Visions is expecting more demand for collaborative working spaces and offices that seamlessly support a combination of in-office and remote work through technology.” Pending an anchor-tenant commitment, The Net could make its debut as soon as late 2024.