Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
CTBUH Seattle Tours Kiara
Thursday, 31 May 2018

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View of Seattle from the top of Kiara, a mixed-use, high-rise development at the southern edge of South Lake Union.

SEATTLE – The CTBUH Seattle Chapter was invited to tour Kiara (formerly called 970 Denny Way), which is being developed by Holland Partners, Weber Thompson (architecture and landscape) and Cary Kopczynski & Company (structural engineering). The mixed-use project is 440 feet (134 meters) with 15,000 square feet (1,394 square meters) of retail at the base and 461 luxury apartment units.

The project is located at the southern edge of South Lake Union (SLU), at the center of Amazon’s campus, and the Seattle tech hub that has recently seen the additions of Google and Facebook. The entire area has seen expansive growth in the last decade, with Amazon’s original campus in SLU expanding to the south into Denny Triangle, where the new Amazon Spheres and three new towers straddle the edge of what was once considered the northern edge of downtown.

Interior views of one of the units in Kiara, which will be available for occupancy in September 2018.

Kiara features a range of unit types, ranging from studios and one-bedroom units in the podium, to a luxury penthouse and townhouse units with 20-foot (7-meter)-plus-high ceilings, one of which was toured. Amenities, although not built out at the time of the tour, were spread across three levels, with a dog run and a pet owner’s lounge at the base off the lobby; a fitness center and an expansive roof deck on the seventh floor with a glass pavilion and lush landscaping; and various entertainment spaces on the entirety of the 41st floor, including a sports bar and exhibition kitchens. The tower’s location is on the northern edge of the city’s 400-foot (122-meters)-high zone, preserving views towards Lake Union and Mt. Baker on a clear day. The project is also the first tower of that height built north of Denny Way, giving it expansive views west towards the Olympic mountains and the Space Needle, as well as east towards Lake Washington and the Cascades.

The designers of the building carefully studied the existing building stock in the neighborhood, originally an industrial area, as well as many of the recently completed Amazon projects, which showed many different architectural styles and materials. The tower was intended as a contemporary expression of a high-rise residential building, while the podium recalls the pre-Amazon character and scale of the industrial South Lake Union neighborhood.

Tour attendees heard from the project teams about key project details and the construction timeline.
Prior to the property tour, Cole Verner and Shawn O'Leary, project managers at Holland Partners, provided a project synopsis, which included some key metrics of the expected residents, renderings of the finished spaces, and an overview of their construction schedule. They also provided some notable facts about the project, including that it features some of the fastest elevators in the city, traveling at 1,200 feet per minute (6.1 meters per second). The tour began at the roof deck, taking in views of both Lake Union and the west end of downtown, then traveled through the penthouse units, followed by more typical tower units, and eventually, to the podium amenity space. John Stout, Associate, Weber Thompson, was a designer on the project and was also present to answer questions. The visit ended with a trip to Sam’s Tavern for refreshments.


Mugdha Mokashi ArchEcology
Katherine Morgan ArchEcology
Joni Stokdijk ArchEcology
Kellie Filips Cary Kopczynski & Co.
Angelia Tanamal Cary Kopczynski & Co.
Abhinav Bhargava GGLO
Beth Dwyer GGLO
Carson Bowlin Heartland
Vanessa Ly LMN Architects
Julia Reeve LMN Architects
John Christenson NBBJ
Elliwati Elliwati NBBJ
Tim Whitcombe NBBJ
Adam Chudoba Northstar Electrical
Suraj Sidhu PCS Structural Solutions
Sarah Eddy Perkins + Will
Robert Ernst Perkins + Will
Noah Green Perkins + Will
Christina Lin Perkins + Will
Ryan Rideout Perkins + Will