Seattle will soon replace a squat shopping mall with a giant high-heel. As part of a redevelopment plan for the city’s Metropolitan Tract–a downtown patch of land that formerly housed the University of Washington–the architecture firm NBBJ has designed a mixed-use tower to replace the shopping center at Rainier Square.
The 50-story building, which bears a striking resemblance to a high-heeled boot from certain angles, will be the second-tallest skyscraper in Seattle at 795 feet. Located next to the tapered silhouette of Rainier Tower, the new building will feature offices, apartments, and 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. There will also be an adjacent 15-story hotel–all in all, more than a million square feet of development for the block.
The unusual shoe-like shape of the building was meant to maximize the amount of floor space for office tenants on the lower floors while minimizing the impact on the neighboring Rainier Tower (a 31-story building designed by Minoru Yamasaki and NBBJ in the 1970s), according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. The tapering of the upper floors of the planned skyscraper reduces the blockage of views that comes from placing two towers next to each other.
The University of Washington still owns the site, and last week, the Board of Regents approved an 80-year lease with developer Wright Runstadlast week, giving the project the go-ahead. Construction is planned for late next year.