|By Eric Pryne, Seattle
TimesMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jan. 31, 2008 - Developer R.C. Hedreen has filed applications with the city to demolish the downtown Seattle Greyhound bus station and build a 51-story, 1,200-room hotel on the site.
It would be the second-largest hotel in the city, trailing only the Sheraton Seattle Hotel in number of rooms.
The project also would include 100,000 square feet of convention and meeting space, shops and restaurants at street level, and underground parking for 1,100 cars.
The city's downtown Design Review Board, an advisory body, is to review preliminary plans March 11.
But David Thyer, Hedreen's president, said construction probably wouldn't start for three or four years, and the upscale hotel probably wouldn't open for seven.
"We're at the very early stages here," he said. "In seven years, we think the city will be ready for a hotel like this."
The bus station, at Eighth Avenue and Stewart Street, was built in 1927. Hedreen has owned the property since 1995, and Thyer said it has been looking at redevelopment options for several years.
Greyhound's lease can be canceled by either party with one year's notice, he said.
Greyhound spokesman Dustin Clark said the bus company intends to continue serving Seattle and already is looking for property for a new station and garage.
The city is considering acquiring Greyhound's existing garage on Denny Way as a site for a new power substation to serve the fast-growing South Lake Union area.
While decades old, the Greyhound station is not a city-protected historic landmark.
Thyer said Hedreen is required to nominate the building for landmark status now because of its age, but that he doubts it will be designated because it has been altered significantly over the years.
"It'll be interesting to see what people say about it," said Lawrence Kreisman, program director for nonprofit Historic Seattle. "I don't know that there's that much love for it."
A city Department of Neighborhoods survey of potential historic buildings several years ago concluded that "in its present state, the building could be considered marginally significant from an architectural historical point of view, but perhaps cannot be completely dismissed."
Hedreen has developed several hotels in Seattle, and is building Olive 8, a 39-story hotel/condo project one block from the Greyhound station.
It's one of several hotel construction or expansion projects in the pipeline in downtown Seattle. Hotel consultant Andy Olsen of The Chambers Group said it's hard to say whether the market will support 1,200 more rooms in seven years.
"But the market's extraordinarily strong," he said, "and Hedreen knows how to build [hotels]. They know how to operate them."
The area around the Greyhound station has become a hotbed of development. Schnitzer West is building a 14-story office building just across Stewart Street and a 36-story office tower a block away, at Eighth Avenue and Virginia Street.
One block to the north of the station, Los Angeles-based Urban Partners broke ground in 2007 on a 37-story apartment tower at Terry Avenue and Stewart.
"It's sort of the cutting edge of downtown development at the moment," Thyer said.
Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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