Mention a density of 150 units to the acre, and this is not the sort of project that comes to mind. Shouldn’t it be taller? Or more cramped? Located in a former industrial area in the midst of a renaissance, this mixed-use enclave weaves 127 waterfront apartments, ground-floor retail, and underground parking into a prime spot adjacent to public transit—and still manages to create killer lakeside views for every resident. Terraced massing on the waterfront side not only mitigates the density, but opens up views (even for basement units) and forms a series of shared rooftop decks and private outdoor patios. Public stairs along the property’s north edge link the busy avenue up above to garden and lakeside areas below.

The region’s maritime flavor is picked up in the building’s varied palette of wood, metal, and concrete, as well as in forms such as broad wooden decks and projecting triangular bays, which resemble ships’ bows.

Catering to singles and couples, Eastlake 2851 sits within walking distance of dining, shopping, and markets, and the building itself will soon house its own restaurant and additional small commercial space—a perfect place, no doubt, to live, work, and play.

Award: Grand for low-rise apartment project
Builder: Excel Pacific, Bellingham, Wash.
Developer: Essex Property Trust, Palo Alto, Calif.
Architect: Runberg Architecture Group, Seattle
Land planner: City of Seattle, Seattle

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Seattle, WA.