Tall and slender makes for a sleek building profile, but in this case the anatomical dimensions served an added purpose. To close the deal with the city of Seattle, Opus NWR Development threw in a $1.88 million donation (to fund affordable housing elsewhere in the city) in exchange for added height and more buildable area. Once the handsome, 143-unit tower took shape, the innovative design by Weber Thompson became a prototype for a new zoning code that encourages tall, skinny buildings as a means of revitalizing tired neighborhoods and creating density.

Situated on a mid-block site measuring just over one-third of an acre, the 440-foot-tall residence is partly flanked by landmark buildings, but the developer secured view easements to preserve panoramas on the other side. Floor plans feature no exterior columns thanks to an innovative “shear core” design that allows a glass curtain wall to fully wrap the tower. Each floor contains only three to five apartments which, in combination with a unique floor plate, gives nearly every home a view of the water in the distance. Each residence features a solarium with a folding window system. This alternative to the typical protruding deck allows year-round connections to the outdoors while preserving the clean lines of the building’s exterior architecture.

Marketing materials offering “penthouses” on every floor (each averaging 1,900 square feet) proved an ingenious move. The project achieved 98 percent presales with a closing price averaging $1.8 million per unit.

Award: Grand for attached housing project (for sale), high-rise eight stories and over
Builder: Opus NW Contractors, Bellevue, Wash.
Developer: Opus NWR Development, Bellevue
Architect: Weber Thompson, Seattle
Land planner: City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development, Seattle

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