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SEATTLE, WA-With a handful of major development projects already in the works throughout Puget Sound, billionaire Paul Allen is partnering on the development a five-star, $200 million hotel in downtown Seattle.

City Investors Inc., a real estate subsidiary of Allen’s Bellevue, WA-headquartered Vulcan Northwest, and Seattle-based developer The Vance Corp. announced their partnership (known as Comprise LLC) for the development of the 300-room hotel.

Jim Falconer, principal in Seattle-based Vance with Mark Houtchens, tells GlobeSt.com the preliminary concept, for what is now only the Midtown East Development, calls for the inclusion of luxury condominiums above the hotel and retail below. Beyond that Falconer was unable to provide specifics.

Though preliminary designs have been drafted, the designs are not ready for public release, and the hotel’s architect has yet to be selected. As to the brand of hotel, Falconer says that, among others, conversations have been taking place with Ritz Carlton.

Falconer was eager to refute other news reports inferring the hotel would move forward only if the partnership determines Seattle’s competition isn’t too stiff. “We are not concerned about competition and plan to proceed no matter what,” says Falconer adding, “We believe what now exists and what is being planned in the downtown area is no competition for our hotel.”

A second adjacent site, Midtown West, will be developed by Comprise as well, says Falconer. The nature of the development is still up in the air. “We are still determining development feasibility for that property,” he says.

While this is Vance’s first hotel property, the firm is no stranger to Seattle’s commercial real estate market. In 1999, the Seattle-based company completed the 45,000-sf Roffe (office) Building at 8th Ave. and Howell. Its affiliates also own the downtown Tower and Lloyd Buildings.

The property where the hotel is to be built has been in Vance’s portfolio. Falconer confirmed that Comprise paid $11.5 million for the Midtown West property two months ago. Bordering the half-block site are Westlake Avenue, Olive Way, Seventh Avenue and King Street.

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