Big news for fans of the historic Eitel Building at Pike Street and Second Avenue downtown: The long-vacant, seven-story tower has been purchased for $5.35 million by local urban real estate firm Lake Union Partners. The 45,000-square-foot building, built in 1904, fell into disrepair after most tenants (with the exception of ground-floor retail including the dubious teriyaki joint) vacated in the 1970s. It has seen a number of failed rehabilitation attempts over the last few years from various developers, including plans in 2012 to turn it into an 80-room hotel and most recently, Urban Visions' desire to transform the property into a mixed-use spot with a rooftop restaurant.
Back in 2014, Urban Visions' founder and ceo Greg Smith told KIRO Radio's Brandi Kruse that the current owner, Richard Nimmer, was "asking for too much money" for the blighted building. Its listing price at the time was $4.85 million, and Smith had said the project wasn't financially feasible.
Lake Union Partners, whose project portfolio includes the multi-family mixed-use building 19th & Mercer on Capitol Hill, purchased the building from Nimmer (the higher price reflects the change in market) and will transform Eitel into an independent hotel featuring a ground-floor restaurant and bar. Seattle-based Columbia Hospitality is slated as the operating partner for the hotel.
"The redevelopment of this once proud building is a significant turning point for downtown's Pike/Pine corridor," Mayor Ed Murray said in a press release. "The arrival of a new restaurant and hotel further improves the urban experience along this important pedestrian and retail corridor."
Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin during spring or summer of 2016 with opening plans for early 2018. Lake Union Partners principal Joe Ferguson said in the release that they "see this as the right opportunity to breathe new life into this beautiful historic building," and that "preservation is in our DNA."