By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly
Renton might not be the biggest city in King County, but its recent groundbreaking ceremony for its $180 million, 4-star Southport Hotel would beat many of Seattle’s high-profile development projects in style and fanfare.
Its developers, Michael and Min Christ, brought in the Seahawks band, a lion dance, and a catered lunch for a village of 350 guests. The ceremony also included a Who’s Who of Washington state in a gigantic, transparent, 100-by-50 ft. tent.
The 350-room luxury hotel will provide 420,000 sq. ft. of convention space, residences, and retail, overlooking the mountains, Lake Washington, and the Seattle city skyline. The concept for the 12-story building is to honor the Seahawks’ “12th Man.”
“This is a model for development,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “It’s close to jobs, transportation. It is a great addition to the city. It’s a lot more than I expected.” Smith praised the partnership between the developer and city.
Several Renton officials were present, including Renton Mayor Dennis Law, who stated the project as a significant development for Renton.
“This is the first full-service hotel in Renton to offer large-scale meeting and convention space,” said Cliff Long, Economic Development Director of Renton.
During construction and operations, the project will bring over 2,000 jobs to Renton. Renton has over 21 percent Asians Americans out of a population of more than 90,000. The project is partially financed through the EB-5 program, which allows immigrant investors to live in the United States through investments of $1 million or $500,000. In this particular project, EB-5 grants permanent residency to immigrants and their families who invest $550,000 in the new hotel at Southport.
MulvannyG2 Architecture is the architect for the Southport development. Sellen Construction will be the contractor.
The hotel will add to the development of the 17.5 acre site, which began as a dream for SECO Development founder Michael Christ. An experienced developer, Michael bought the site from Puget Sound Energy in 1999.
SECO has developed projects in Bellevue and other cities. Michael’s wife, Min, came from China in the 1990s.
“This is the American Dream,” said Lieut. Gov. Brad Owen. It is to “find people to invest and help them to be a part of the American Dream.” (end)
Assunta Ng can be reached at email@example.com.