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Local Experts Sum Up Seattle's Best Buildings in 2015

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As 2015 comes to an end, we wanted to close out the year by surveying local real estate & architecture luminaries as well as trendsetters & tastemakers to get a read on the highlights and lowlights of the past year of real estate and development in Seattle. Today is Part Two, where we look at everyone's thoughts on the city's buildings.

5. What was the best new building/construction in Seattle in 2015?

Brad Hinthorne, Perkins+Will

Allen Institute

Jeff J Reynolds, Urban Condo Spaces

As a condo guy, I would have to say Insignia. Although its expecting a few tall neighbors that will alter its views, it has AMAZING amenity space. The rooftop communal space is second to none in the city and the fitness/pool is going to be the best in the downtown market as well. I think the deign was thoughtful and the entrance into the Downtown market where we haven't seen a new condo project in 6 years is perfect timing.

Anthony Maschmedt, Dwell Development

I would say Emerald Star House in Ballard. Super efficient net zero energy spec. house. The first of its kind!

Kate Knight, Redfin Builder Services

400 Fairview! It's an office building by Skanska. The entire ground floor opens to the street when the weather is nice. The retail is small, local, and excellent, including one of the most beautiful roofdeck restaurants in the city. This project is a warm addition to the neighborhood and a work of art - raises the bar for Seattle.

Peter Orser , UW's Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies

It's Chophouse Row by Liz Dunn's Dunn + Hobbes. It's a small development, yes, but Chophouse meets the true definition of mixed-use. It's not the typical apartment complex with ground-level retail added as an afterthought just because it's required yet makes no sense for the market.

Matt Goyer, Urbnlivn

Fort Lawton at Discovery Park.

Christian Nossum, broker and co-host of Seattle Real Estate Radio

I'm most excited about Amazon's new office space that just opened named Doppler. That building is just the tip of the 4 million soft of office space that they are developing that will really cement downtown and Seattle in general as a great place to work, and attract more high tech companies to open up additional space near there in attempts to poach Amazon employees.

Matthew Gardner, Windermere Real Estate

Premiere on Pine immediately springs to mind, but I would also like to give a shout out to the Allen Institute for Brain Science. Premiere on Pine is a vision of density and design, while the Allen Institute showed us that you don't have to sacrifice history in order to build a modern, state-of-the-art facility.

Charles Strazzara, president of Studio Meng Strazzara

100 Stewart Hotel & Apartments. Between the scale, modernism and transparency of the street facade it seems like it is going to be really inviting. I'm looking forward to seeing it completed.

Seattlish's Hanna Brooks Olsen

Tiny homes for the homeless!!

Seattlish's Sarah Anne Lloyd

^^That.

Seattlish's Alex Hudson

Thirded.


Image: SounderBruce

7. What was the biggest Seattle-area building trend in 2015?

Brad Hinthorne, Perkins+Will

Living buildings

Jeff J Reynolds, Urban Condo Spaces

Shape. We are finally seeing shapes and angles after years of boxy builds. I love the new concepts by the Vancouver developers. I truly feel we should match our cities cultural diversity with a diverse skyline of thoughtful design/architecture.

Anthony Maschmedt, Dwell Development

The use of reclaimed or repurposed materials in all types of new construction. We use a ton at Dwell, but we are also seeing it in bars and restaurants all over the City, as well as offices and apartment buildings. Its really cool and interesting to see how other designers and Architects are incorporating these materials into new construction!

Kate Knight, Redfin Builder Services

Indoor-outdoor living. Our builders are opening walls, creating alcoves, roof-decks, outdoor fireplaces, and glassy garages to enjoy the Pacific Northwest in all seasons.

Peter Orser , UW's Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies

Apartment construction goes up and up and new-home construction activity keeps going up and up. But, clearly they're not rising at the pace required to meet demand, which yields rent- and home-price increases that have no relationship to affordability, even for those earning more than $100,000 per year.

Matt Goyer, Urbnlivn

Apartments, apartments, apartments.

Christian Nossum, broker and co-host of Seattle Real Estate Radio

Modern townhomes are still going up like crazy, and there are still many buyers that want them. That said, I think that there is an opportunity for builders to separate themselves and build more craftsman style townhomes again (like back in the early 2000's). There are a lot of buyers that still prefer that style to modern, and would be much happier buying that than the sometimes sterile modern townhome.

Matthew Gardner, Windermere Real Estate

The unstoppable wave of apartment construction.

Charles Strazzara, president of Studio Meng Strazzara

Apartments, in a big way. We're starting to see towers go up again after a big gap

Seattlish's Hanna Brooks Olsen

Slats. Slatted walls, slatted fences, slatted everything. Slats on slats.

Seattlish's Sarah Anne Lloyd

Boxes with accent boxes.

Seattlish's Alex Hudson

Changing your MUP after approval to convert your new development units from apartments to condos.

If you could build a new arena and bring back the Sonics as well as NHL hockey to the region, where would you build it?

Brad Hinthorne, Perkins+Will

Seattle Center

Jeff J Reynolds, Urban Condo Spaces

I'm 100 percent sold on SODO. Its would be a huge shot in the arm for the city and the SODO neighborhood as well. I imagine something like Chicago where the waterfront in our city is better utilized and there would be better housing options in and around the stadiums that would feed the frenzy of Seattle sports fans.

Anthony Maschmedt, Dwell Development

I would put it exactly where it's supposed to be...in SODO with Chris Hanson's group leading the way. Lets get the Sonics back...as well as some NHL (I hear NHL Hockey is incredible to watch live)

Kate Knight, Redfin Builder Services

In the tunnel leftover from Bertha if she can't keep moving.

Peter Orser , UW's Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies

I would do it as planned because it addresses the Port's mobility problems in the process, but the synergy created by having all the sports stadium facilities there, together, cannot be ignored.

Matt Goyer, Urbnlivn

I'd renovate KeyArena to bring it up to modern arena standards and make it NHL compatible.

Christian Nossum, broker and co-host of Seattle Real Estate Radio

I think keeping all of the arenas located together is a good idea, so I'd say the current SODO project is the best spot. The traffic infrastructure is already in place to handle the needs of another stadium, and the bars and restaurants that are in the area could definitely use the added revenue that those two sports would bring during the offseason's of baseball and football. That said, I always did like going to games at the Key Arena, and lower Queen Anne was really hurt by the Sonic's departure. If they ended up back at the Key, I wouldn't be surprised or sad. Either way, although I'm probably not going to be as big of a Sonic's fan as I was before they left, I'd still root for them. I'd also love to see some NHL in town.

Matthew Gardner, Windermere Real Estate

SoDo. It's a no brainer. I like the concept of a "stadium district", and even with potential scheduling issues that could arise from time to time, it's a natural fit for the area.

Charles Strazzara, president of Studio Meng Strazzara

In SoDo – the natural place for a new stadium is next to Safeco and CenturyLink Field. Why would I choose it? It's where they belong – you need to create a lifestyle sports district, where it can become the vernacular of the neighborhood.

Seattlish's Sarah Anne Lloyd

Pretty sure it's a lil late for the Sonics to just pick up their suitcases and come back—but if we were to build a new hockey-and-basketball arena, I'd love to see it somewhere besides the stadium district, even though I know a lot of people want the whole collection in one place. Maybe Northgate?

Seattlish's Alex Hudson

Inner Magnolia.