Located in a former industrial area, this mixed-use project blends 127 waterfront apartments, 5,200 square feet of ground-floor retail, and underground parking into a prime spot adjacent to public transit. Every residential unit enjoys a view of Seattle’s Lake Union, while retail shops front a busy avenue on the building’s opposite side.

Maximizing the steeply sloped, .86-acre site was the tricky part, according to John Eudy, executive vice president of Essex Property Trust. Terraced massing on the waterfront side downplays the density while opening up views, even for basement units. As the building steps down the hillside, it creates a series of shared rooftop decks and private outdoor patios. Maritime in its vocabulary, the building is clad in wood, metal, and concrete, with broad wooden decks and projecting triangular bays, which resemble ships’ bows.

Despite the small size of the units (averaging 670 square feet), the building achieves an upscale feeling and is a desirable place to live, especially because the apartments take advantage of the lake as a natural amenity. “From a design perspective it was a little more expensive than expected, but the rental rates we achieved were more than enough for it to pay for itself,” Eudy says.

And it seems to be doing just that, with 99 percent of the apartments now leased. The last remaining retail space was recently scooped up by a restaurant.

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