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SEATTLE-Locally based Kauri Investments hopes to break ground next year on a 16-story apartment tower that will sit across Interstate 5 from Downtown Seattle on Seneca Street.

Kauri last February paid $1.3 million for the 8,100-sf parcel on which the 73-unit tower will rise. At the same time, it paid $2.8 million for the adjoining 7,200-sf property, which holds the five-story, 56-unit Park Seneca Apartments that the firm recently renovated.

The properties sit just east of Freeway Park, a five-acre multi-level concrete plaza that caps Interstate 5 and provides quick access between the First Hill neighborhood and Downtown Seattle. East of the properties themselves is Virginia Mason Hospital.

The new apartment tower will be anchored by five levels of below-grade parking. Kauri President and CEO Kent Angier tells GlobeSt.com the proejct is expected to cost about $13 million to construct and won’t be complete until early 2005, at which time he believes “the market will be much improved.” Angier adds that the project will likely include a joint venture partner.

“We looked at all the numbers and feel they will make sense,” says Angier, who is just now preparing the marketing program to release the Park Seneca building now that the renovation is complete. Angier says the renovation, which added five units to the building, dropped occupancy down to about 60%.

Designed in part by Warren Pollack of Seattle-based Pollock Lau & Associates, the proposed new tower has been through two early design review meetings that have gone very well, says Angier. “We’ve actually never had a project as well received as this one,” says Angier. “The design board has been very happy with it.”

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