There was a groundbreaking February 9th in the parking lot of the Publix Hotel located at 5th Avenue and South King Street in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District. There was a traditional Asian ceremonial elements for good luck and Japanese tea.
It was attended by members of Uwajimaya, the hotel development team, investors, and the community to celebrate the start of construction of The Publix.
Those in attendance included:
Tomoko Moriguchi-Matsuno, President & CEO, Uwajimaya, Inc.
Tomio Moriguchi, Chairman of the Board, Uwajimaya, Inc.
Kenneth Louie, VP of Real Estate, Uwajimaya, Inc.
Denise Moriguchi, VP of Marketing and Strategic Planning, Uwajimaya, Inc.
Miye Moriguchi, Development Manager, Uwajimaya, Inc.
Hal Ferris, Principal, Spectrum Development Solutions, and others.
The project will create a total of 125 apartments. The $24 million dollar construction project will include the extensive rehabilitation of The Publix and the partial demolition of an adjacent building to make way for a new wing of apartments and retail space. The Publix will open in early 2016.
“The Publix was built in 1928 to house transient immigrant workers from Asia in order to meet the demanding workforce needs of burgeoning Seattle,” said Nicholas Vann, State Historical Architect for the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. “Single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels were in high demand in the 1920s and 1930s. At one time the International District/Chinatown had more than 65 SROs catering to waves of migrant workers from China, Japan and the Philippines. Today, only one third of those SROs remain. “The location of the Publix, directly across the street from Union Station, likely attracted significant volumes of passengers coming into Seattle. The hotel was also a significant social gathering place for short term and long term guests alike,” added Vann. “The Publix is one of the largest SRO in the International District, and today it still retains a high level of historic integrity”
“Today, there is a shortage of market-rate housing in Chinatown/International District” said Tomio Moriguchi, board chairman of Uwajimaya. “Like the 1930s, we have thousands of workers moving to Seattle and we want them to have the opportunity to not only visit but live in the Chinatown/ID.” (end)