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Giant Rainier Square project gets a slight adjustment

No more hotel means a tiny change in design

A mid-rise building coated in glass on top of a two-story podium. Also on the podium is a skyscraper behind the small building and to its left.
Switching from 10 floors to eight taller floors means a slight change to the façade.
Courtesy of Wright Runstad & Co.

The Rainier Square project in progress at Fourth and Union—which includes the massive, 58-story Rainier Square Tower—is getting a slight of plans, the Puget Sound Business Journal broke last week. The project, designed by architecture firm NBBJ and developed by Wright Runstad & Co., has abandoned plans for a hotel sharing a podium with a new skyscraper and the Minoru Yamasaki-designed Rainier Tower. Instead, that square footage will be devoted to additional office space.

The change means a slight tweak in plans, although Wright Runstad says it won’t be especially noticeable to passerby.

“We purposefully have redesigned the building to remain quite consistent with the original design,” said Wright Runstad CEO Greg Johnson tells Curbed Seattle over email. “The street level design is virtually the same—we anticipate a restaurant along Fourth Avenue, as the hotel design had included. The University entrance will look pretty much the same as the hotel design.”

The “primary change,” says Johnson, is eight taller floors instead of the hotel’s ten floors—but “the structure of the façade will look very similar to the hotel design.”

While the hotel was set to be in a smaller, mid-block building filling in the Rainier block, the headline of the new project is the 850-foot Rainier Tower skyscraper, which remains unchanged. It features a unique swoop shape which some call similar to a champagne flute, shoe, or ice cream scoop. Since it’s filling in the block next to Rainier Tower, it’s meant to be complementary to Yamasaki’s 1977 design next door, which features a tapered base.

Inside, the space holds office, retail, and residential space. The lower floors contain 80,000 square feet of retail, which will include a 20,000-square-foot PCC location and a gym. A whopping 722,000 square feet of office space was originally going to be entirely occupied by Amazon until the retail giant opted to sublease.

The very top floors—41 through 58—will be luxury apartments, which the project team says will be the highest in the city, with resident amenities on 39 and 40.

The building is scheduled to open about a year from now, in August 2020.

Rainier Tower

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