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SEATTLE-Locally-based real estate developer R.C. Hedreen Co. is close to obtaining the necessary approvals for Olive 8, its planned 36-story hotel-condominium development on the southwest corner of Olive Way and 8th Avenue in Downtown Seattle. The lower 15 stories are slated to be a 350-room hotel and the upper 19 floors will house 198 for-sale residential units.

David Thyer, president of the locally based developer, tells GlobeSt.com that he expects to have final approval for the project in late September or early October en route to breaking ground in early 2006. The project will take two years to complete, he says. The general contractor is Skanska. Locally-based Williams Marketing will open a sales office for the project this fall.

The glass façade-covered concrete building is being designed by renowned New York architect Richard Gluckman in collaboration with local firm MulvannyG2 Architecture. Nonetheless, the project has been “hung up somewhat” in design review, says Thyer.

“Certain people on the design review board felt the two portions of the building – the hotel and condominiums – were not combined architecturally,” he says. “I think we have responded appropriately and have a building that is both attractive and meets their objective of having compatible architectural treatments for different elements of the building.”

The hotel will have 15,000 sf of meeting space, a 65′ pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room, yoga and fitness center, spa services, dry cleaning services, 24-hour room service, housekeeping and a concierge. Thyer says he is currently in final negotiations with a preferred hotel partner and expects a deal to be secured within the coming weeks. The ground floor will have about 6,000 sf of retail space.

Common area amenities for residents feature a game room, a 1,700-sf lounge and a 3,225-sf patio that includes a designated pet area and a full-time doorman in a separate condominium lobby. The condo units themselves will have at least 10-foot ceilings, private balconies and fireplaces, and each will be wired for high speed Internet and cable or satellite TV. Most units will range in size from 650 sf to 1,600 sf. Unit pricing has not yet been finalized. Larger penthouses will start at 2,500 sf and, depending on VIP interest, could be much larger, says Thyer.

Despite being two-and-a-half years from opening, Thyer says Williams Marketing has received more than 500 inquiries about the project. “The condominium market in Seattle is red hot,” he says. “Buyers have a number of new choices, but we are seeing a lot of curiosity in Olive 8 from people who are still undecided.”

Luxury Downtown developments combining high-end hotels with condominiums are a new concept in the Seattle area, but it has caught on fast. Several such projects scheduled to open between 2006 and 2008.

On the site of the former Warshal’s Sporting Goods store at First Avenue and Madison Street, 1000 First Avenue Properties LLC is developing Madison Tower, a 24-story tower with 38 condominiums above a 120-room boutique hotel. At Westlake and Denny, locally based Vulcan Inc. and Milliken Urban Limited Partnership are developing 2200, a mixed-use project that includes 261 condominiums, a 160-room Pan Pacific Hotel and a 50,000-sf Whole Foods grocery store. Near the Pike Place Market, Seattle Hotel Group is developing a Four Seasons Hotel featuring 150 hotel rooms capped by 30 condominiums.

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