MacDonald-Miller continues to help shape the Seattle skyline with the recent award of the iconic Rainier Square project in the center of downtown. This project is the dream of developer Wright Runstad, who was awarded the development rights by The University of Washington, based, in part, on the unique shape of the building’s design. UW selected general contractor Lease Crutcher Lewis and, consequently, the project was awarded to MacMiller after our pre-construction team identified and solved several design challenges that had been unresolved by our competitors. The project consists of three quarters of a city block, located at 5th & Union, and will redefine the remaining block around the existing Rainier Tower building. When completed, the 58-story tower will become the second tallest tower in downtown Seattle, trailing only the Columbia Center’s 76 floors. Rainier Square will include over 1.2 million SF of construction, including 40 stories of shell and core office space, with 18 floors of residential apartments on top.

Amazon is already committed to lease all 40 floors of the office tower. This will encompass over 772,000 SF, including a full cafeteria floor.

The project also includes a new 12-story, 168-room luxury hotel over a parking garage and retail podium. The hotel is being codeveloped with New York developer, Related Group, who plans to combine the Equinox health club brand with a hotel that targets the “fit-conscious traveler”. In addition to a full health club space, the hotel will also include a rooftop bar and patio space.

The street levels will include several restaurants and retail spaces including the recently announced PCC Community Market that will fill out over 20,000 SF. PCC hopes to service the urban and ever-growing permanent population that lives downtown, including the prospective residential tenants within the building.

Another unique aspect of the project includes the cutting edge structural design being employed on the project. The new modular composite steel core system will be the first of its kind in the world and is being called an ice cream sandwich – as the design utilizes half inch-thick steel plates as the chocolate cookies, and concrete as the filling. The structure will cut construction time by 40 percent over a traditional concrete core and steel beam system and is designed to perform very well in an earthquake. The concept required our Engineering group to work closely with our detailers to ensure all penetrations through the core were located and designed perfectly as they cannot be added later in the field.

The mechanical systems will include a 3,000-ton central boiler and cooling plant, heat exchangers and pumping stations, floor mounted water-cooled heat pumps, and vertical stack fan coil units for the high-end apartment units on top. The residential space will include guest dog run areas, an amenities level with gathering space, and high bay residential living spaces. The hotel will include heat recovery chillers, boilers and domestic hot water heaters, horizontal fan coil units and heat pump units serving lobby and common spaces. In addition to domestic plumbing systems, MacMiller will help install a state-of-the-art Building Management System to help monitor and control the energy usage throughout the complex. The project began underground plumbing work in May of this year and is scheduled for completion sometime in 2020.

Read more articles from our Perspective Newsletter.

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