Northwest Asian Weekly
The landmark building some have referred to as an “eyesore” is no more. The Chinatown International District’s historic Publix Hotel reopened on Aug. 24 as a shiny new apartment tower. It had been shut down for 13 years.
“In 1928, [the Publix] provided housing for a wave of young workers and now it reopens to provide housing for a new wave of workers moving to Seattle,” said Tomio Moriguchi, board chairman of Uwajimaya, which has owned The Publix and adjacent properties since 1974. “It provides an opportunity to live in one of our city’s most connected and culturally rich neighborhoods.”
The project cost a total of $40 million —which included the rehab of the building, constructing a new six-story building over the existing parking garage, and creating a total of 125 new apartments and 12,000 square feet of ground floor, commercial space.
The Publix Hotel lobby and original storefronts have been fully restored with high ceilings, wood paneling, and original marble detailing. Former boarding rooms have been combined to create modern studio, one and two-bedroom apartments with large, classic wood windows that soak the apartments in natural light. Amenity spaces include a penthouse community room with a kitchenette, rooftop deck with BBQ grills, outdoor lounge with views of the Seattle skyline and Elliott Bay, dog area, gym, community kitchen and party room, media lounge, and bike storage.
“The Moriguchi family took a big step in bringing The Publix back to life,” said Hal Ferris, principal of Spectrum Development Solutions, the development management firm for the project. “Their commitment from the beginning was to ensure this building’s longevity and make it significant again, while preserving the historic integrity, both inside and out. The final design truly reflects their dedication to community.”
Twenty percent of the apartments are available to households making between 65 to 85 percent of the area’s median income, approximately $46,605 and $60,945 per year for a family of two. The units are rent restricted through the City’s Multifamily Property Tax Exemption program. The apartment sizes range from just over 300 square feet in a studio in the historic building to 1,120 square feet in a three-bedroom unit in the new building. The apartment community is 60-percent leased before the grand opening. Most of the ground floor retail space is still available.
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