Greg Smith, his Urban Visions development group and partners have big plans – and big balls. Toward what seems to be the tail-end of the first global pandemic of our lifetime, which changed the way most people work – or don’t work, they are planning a new 36 story office building in downtown Seattle.

Never mind that downtown Seattle has looked much like a ghost town for months – and that many if not most Seattle area residents refuse to go there because of the homelessness and crimes issues that have only gotten worse due to inept local government and their defunding of the Seattle Police Department. Never mind that hundreds of Seattle business have given up the ghost and called it quits, moved across the bridge to the Eastside – or even moved out of state to safer areas which are more conducive for business.

Even though a good number of former downtown retailers have suffered and failed through the Black Lives Matter protests, violence and looting, Urban Visions is still looking for a very brave business to be their anchor tenant. According to their press release they won’t start construction until they find the right tenant to sign a pre-lease commitment.

It is admirable that Smith and his team are attempting to design the “next-generation office building”, but potentially a huge risk considering everything that has happened in Seattle, the US and around the world in the past year.

They say that 75% of workers would like to resume office work in “some form” once restrictions life and health and safety measures are in place. But will those workers really decide they want to be in an office building with hundreds of others? Will they want to brave the crime ridden, drug infested and feces soaked streets of Seattle to get to and from? What say YOU?

Here’s the press release from Seattle-based Urban Visions:

Environmental sustainability and human health are at the heart of a new downtown high-rise office building that could open as early as 2024.

The latest development from Seattle-based Urban Visions, The Net, hit a milestone today as demolition began at Third Avenue and Marion Street. The future 36-story, 807,000-square-foot tower integrates climate-friendly and wellness-focused design features to meet current and future public health and environmental realities. Construction will begin after a pre-lease is signed with an anchor tenant.

In pursuit of LEED green building and WELL Health-Safety ratings, The Net is on the leading edge for Seattle office buildings when considering the physical, social, organizational and environmental health of its future tenants.

“The Net will be a next-generation office building, benefiting from the latest design and technology focused on human health and wellness,” said Urban Visions Founder and CEO Greg Smith. “It has long been our philosophy to develop spaces that support the whole person, while reducing our carbon footprint. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, these design features change from nice-to-have amenities to critical necessities for any future office development.”

The Net will be the first Gold pre-certified WELL project in the Pacific Northwest with a forward-thinking design that establishes a new standard for a healthier workspace. Led by the International WELL Building Institute, WELL is part of a global movement to transform buildings into healthy spaces. WELL certification applies rigorous building guidelines backed by the latest scientific research that aim to advance human health and wellbeing.

The post-COVID ready development will include a state-of-the-art ventilation system that filters airborne contaminants along with smart technology that allows people to move throughout the tower without touching a surface to maintain hand hygiene.

The Net is a welcomed addition as employers and employees look ahead toward returning to the office. In spite of reports of a drop in office space demand due to the pandemic-related social distancing guidelines, an overwhelming majority of office workers say they are eager to return to the workplace.

A recent survey found 3 in 4 workers would like to resume office work in some form once restrictions lift and health and safety measures are in place. The survey also makes clear that workers don’t want to return to just any office. Rather, they are looking for spaces that prioritize collaboration with co-workers, access to nature, and technology that supports hybrid in-office/remote working models.

The LEED Gold inspired tower will have all-electric mechanical systems that eliminate the need for fossil fuels and an open floor plan that maximizes daylight, movement and collaboration space. The building also will feature a resource efficient system that minimizes water and energy usage. And three tiers of rooftop green space will offer a connection to nature in the heart of downtown Seattle with sweeping Elliott Bay views, fresh air and trees.

Urban Visions is joined by development partner Mitsui Fudosan America. In addition to pursuing LEED and WELL Gold certification, The Net will seek Salmon-Safe certification and Wired Certified Gold. Salmon-Safe certification recognizes urban developments that protect water quality and maintain water quality health. Wired Certification distinguishes buildings with the highest level of digital infrastructure and connectivity rating.

About Urban Visions
Urban Visions is a privately owned Seattle-based real estate development firm applying innovative, sustainable approaches to promote smart growth and transformational place-making in the Puget Sound region. Urban Visions’ guiding principles are based on the philosophy that urban areas are engines for growth and positive social change.

About The Net
The Net is an Urban Visions development located at 875 Third Avenue in downtown Seattle. With a focus on climate and human health, the 36-story, NBBJ designed office building incorporates a side loaded core and circulation staircase that maximizes floor plate efficiency and natural light, promoting collaboration spaces and movement. Other key elements include a state-of-the-art ventilation system, touchless features from street to suite and rooftop green space. The Net offers multimodal transportation options, dedicated bike parking, and high walkability, transit and bike access scores as well as six levels of underground parking with 392 spaces.

About Mitsui Fudosan America
Mitsui Fudosan America is the US subsidiary of Japan’s largest real estate company, Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., a publicly traded company with approximately $70 billion of assets. MFA is responsible for Mitsui Fudosan’s real estate investment and development activities in North America, and is headquartered in New York, with branch offices in Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Honolulu.

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