One of the chief complaints over Seattle’s construction boom has been the unrelenting sameness of many of the new buildings popping up.
Jeff Bezos did his best to add a little uniqueness to South Lake Union with the three giant spheres that are nearing completion at the base of Amazon’s new headquarters.
Now another developer is taking the sphere trend to new heights, planning to add a big see-through ball to the top of a proposed skyscraper.
Plans submitted recently for the Third Avenue and Virginia Street project in Belltown call for a 46-story building with apartments above a few floors of office and retail space, on a site that is now a parking lot.
The sphere at the top will stand about 59 feet tall, putting the top of the dome 499 feet above the street. It’s planned as a “residential amenity space” (so, sorry, you can’t come in if you don’t live there) and will also house mechanical equipment. A kitchen and lounge inside the sphere will lead to a rooftop pool, hot tub and lounge area just outside.
Like the Amazon spheres, the dome will also have some greenery, though not on the scale of the mini-urban forest being created by Amazon.
The skyscraper is tall enough to stand out from Elliott Bay and other vantage points, which should make it more visible than the skyline’s current standout dome — the Second & Seneca office building, also known as the Ban Roll-On or R2D2 Building, which features a blue/green dome on top of 22 stories.
The renderings of the planned tower certainly paint a serene picture. One shows a woman in a bikini sitting comfortably in a chair apparently suspended from the sphere’s roof, gazing out at the skyline view with a dog chilling at her feet.
In plans submitted to the city, design architect James K.M. Cheng Architects of Vancouver, B.C. and architect of record, Seattle-based MG2, describe the rooftop area as “a spectacular geodesic dome and cantilevered swimming pool.”
Vancouver, B.C.-based Westbank is developing the project, which a city design review board will give early notes on at a June 20 meeting. If approved at a later meeting, it would take a couple years for the giant ball to show up on the skyline.
By – Mike Rosenberg -Seattle Times business reporter (Originally published June 2, 2017 at 6:00 am Updated June 2, 2017 at 6:49 pm)