Belltown Real Estate

One of the relaxed working spaces within the rotunda/ commons at Madison Centre.  Image:

Madison Centre, a 36-floor office + retail building with numerous features has opened at the southeast corner of Madison Street and 5th Avenue. Plans for this building were sidelined for 10 years during the economic downturn, but recently Schnitzer West, the real estate developers for this property decided to move ahead. They received comprehensive focus group feedback before proceeding to create a building striving to serve their tenants’ varying needs for collaboration, connectivity, and privacy, with relaxed amenities. The end goal was to increase everyone’s productivity and efficiency.  In essence, a “next-generation workplace”.  It’s LEED-certified and has an excellent walking score of 98, being centrally-located in the downtown Seattle core, near the downtown Central Library.

A suspended spiral staircase leads up to this 3-story high rotunda and commons area at Madison Centre. Image: NBBJ architects


  • Every floor has floor-to-ceiling windows, including the 3-story rotunda and commons area via a spiral, suspended staircase, accessed from the street
  • In the Gathering Place/Rotunda (i.e. Lobby)
    – Fireplace and its towering pillar, from a stone quarry in Minnesota
    – A suspended spiral staircase that leads up to 3-story glass rotunda area and commons
    – Exposed wood slats in rotunda, adjustable for natural light
    – A 5,000-plant Green Wall to improve air quality, reduce noise, and ease stress
    – Extremely fast elevators (from ground floor to roof in about 24 seconds
    – Premier coffee shop on NW corner of rotunda
    – 5-star concierge service
  • Rooms & Work Spaces
    – Site-Wide Connectivity:  Wi-Fi is everywhere, so tenants can work anywhere in the building.
    – Fireside Lounge
    – Common work spaces (both individual and team) and lounge areas off lobby
    – Cafeteria for tenants
    – Library
    – Private quieter rooms available for reservation
    – Multiple, shared conference areas: boardroom (elegantly furnished, fully equipped), other spaces with adjustable space
    – WA Athletic Club-run fitness center (5,000 SF) for tenants
    – Wellness Center (for health services, such as flu shots, etc.)
    – Conference Center with adjoining catering kitchen (12 to 130 people)
    – Able to control energy usage, lighting levels and temperature from anywhere
  • Other Spaces
    – a 480-stall Garage and Bike Storage with abundant security cameras. There is also showers and a locker room for those who pedal to work.
    – Rooftop deck with 15-foot glass walls to minimize wind. Lounging areas and green space are part of this deck.

Madison Centre is currently at 30% capacity, having newly opened last week, and tours are available.

Madison Centre’s rooftop deck.   Image:

WeWork inked a deal last Thursday, August 3rd for an expansion to its WeLive co-living program at 3rd Avenue and Lenora Street. The plan is for a 36-story building with 384 apartments plus co-working space, common areas and retail space on the ground floor. There will also be five floors of secured parking underground.

WeWork is working with Martin Selig Real Estate to develop the project.

In a statement, the head of WeLive, James Woods, said, “Together, WeWork and the Selig team are creating a building that will provide Seattleites with a place to live, work, and play, and create opportunities for both the We community and the Seattle community to come together and connect.”

The building is projected to open in 2020.

An historic Belltown basement where bands like Soundgarden and Pearl Jam got their start is being threatened with sale of the property, which would likely lead to development.

The Black Dog Forge, with its hallowed basement practice room, is currently leased and co-owners Louie Raffloer and Mary Gioia learned on May 18th that they had just two months to vacate the building. The building owners are putting it up for sale. “(I) nearly threw up everything. We were standing in the middle of 25 tons of art supplies. We were very nauseous about that,” Raffloer said.

Raffloer and Gioia operate a blacksmith forge above the basement, and rent the practice space to bands to this day.

For 25 years, the 30-foot basement practice room has been used by artists and musicians including Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, The Briefs and Presidents of The United States of America. “At the time in Belltown, there were bands making noise coming out of windows on every block,” Raffloer said. “There were clubs that blared music out to the street. There was never a class of people that was here to be offended.”

But now this beloved space may be looking at its last days. However, members of the artistic and musical communities are fighting to save it. Charity Drewery, host of Stalking Seattle: A Rock and Roll Tour (which tours the basement and other music landmarks around the city) is attempting to raise money via a GoFundMe in order to buy the building and save it. But with the real estate market as it is, their chances are less than slim. As of the date of this post, only $5,790 of the $4 million goal has been raised.

Drewery has hope, however, “There’s so much money in this city, there’s got to be somebody that would be willing to buy this place and continue to lease it to them,” Drewery said.

Featured photo source: GoFundMe

By Stephen Cohen

Seattle real estate may be going through a sphere stage — a period of circular reasoning, if you will.

Amazon‘s Spheres workplace at Sixth Avenue and Lenora Street downtown certainly added some softer edges to the city’s landscape, but while “Bezos‘ balls” are dwarfed by the surrounding buildings, a proposed skyscraper would place its orb atop its 46 stories.

The proposed building at Third Avenue and Virginia Street is being designed by Vancouver, British Columbia firm Westbank to house 453 apartments above retail and office space in what is now a parking lot.

But the most apparent feature is a glass and steel sphere perched atop the building, roughly 500 feet above the city streets below.

The dome, at nearly 60 feet tall, will house amenities for the tower’s apartment dwellers, such as the pool, according to a GeekWire report.

And while it might look an awful lot like the spheres of Amazon’s new campus, the company said the dome was inspired by Buckminster Fuller and his work on geodesic domes.

At 499 feet tall, the tower would also include 103,480 square feet of office space spread across six floors below the 38 floors of apartments. The first two floors will be retail space, according to the report.

Westbank has two other active projects in Seattle, and was involved in an earlier project in Bellevue in years past.

The project is set for a design review meeting later this month, but details on when the project might break ground weren’t immediately available.

Syndicated from

Want to peruse local artwork and also give your input on what you’d like our community to look like in the future? Stop by Thursday evening, April 27th  from 6-9 pm at Makers’ space (92 Lenora St.) in Belltown. The meeting is held by Project Belltown, a community-driven group, who would show maps, plans, and would like your ideas for how this neighborhood can thrive in days to come. Local art and imagery will be on display, and there will be food and drink as well.

Project Belltown has six areas of focus for improvements:
Creative Placemaking: Preserve and promote an art and entertainment district as a neighborhood center for Belltown; as a heart of Belltown. Invest in our public realm: our historic buildings, parks, alleyways, sidewalks, and open spaces.

Economic Development: Develop strategies to market and promote Belltown businesses, both as a destination for tourists and as a walkable community. Look at strategies to preserve affordable commercial rents, and align development with desired uses.

Environment: Implement the Growing Vine Street public art and water-reclamation project, build more green street projects. Promote sustainable development and explore the implementation of an EcoDistrict throughout Belltown.

Health & Safety: Advocate for increased community policing, while pursuing additional neighborhood strategies to address homelessness. Expand on community workforce development programs and increase access to services for those in need.

Mobility & Connectivity: Improve connections to the Waterfront, Pike Place, and the Seattle Center. Promote mobility through a Belltown Connector, pedestrian, and bike connections. Build out east/west connections to Denny Triangle.

Workforce Housing: Develop a Belltown-based strategy for affordable and workforce housing. Consider a district to preserve existing housing, in alignment with HALA recommendations, and using an expanded TDR program to fund new workforce housing. Consider incentive programs tied to up-zoning.

Interior of Makers, where meet & art will be held. Photo: Makers site

Makers, where the meeting will be held, is a co-working space for entrepreneurial spirits who see the benefit of a shared working environment, camaraderie, and resources.

Come join us!