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Luxury Hotel, Sls Seattle, to Be Sold Before It Even Opens.

I think I speak for many Seattleites when I say that one of my favorite buildings in all of Seattle was the former United Methodist Church on Fifth Avenue. I loved it because it was a beautiful building, but I also loved that there was a church sitting in between skyscrapers and in the middle of all of the hustle and bustle of the City. I would have loved it if it were never sold and sat just as it was forever. But, it was sold and Seattle’s second largest skyscraper was recently built. Fortunately, the church is incorporated into the design and much of it restored. It will be part of the building’s meeting space. I would rather it still be a church, but at least its beauty hasn’t been destroyed.

Speaking of beauty, the new building is modernly beautiful with lots of glass, windows serving as the outer walls. The building is angled back and forth, which is supposed to replicate the silhouette of Audrey Hepburn. I don’t know much about the design and construction process since I have been out of the game for the last couple of years, but I know the project had a rough beginning. And, I know the completed building is breathtaking. ZGF was the architecture firm and my former client, JTM Construction, whom I respect very much, the general contractor.

The building is mixed-use with a luxury hotel (SLS Seattle) occupying the first 15 floors and office space from floors 17 and up. The hotel space has a spa, gym, and over 21,000 square feet of meeting room space. Each hotel room -189 total- is designed differently with different angles of walls and ceilings in each room. The office space takes up 27 of the building’s 44 floors (520,000 square feet) and all of the office space has been leased out (most, if not all, to F5 Networks with a 15-year lease) with move-in to occur in 2019. But, the hotel is already for sale and it hasn’t even opened its doors yet.

SLS terminated its contract with the owner/developer in the past couple of days. I wish I knew why. There isn’t much information out at this point and both sides aren’t discussing it other than to make pretty vague public statements. In doing minimal research for this post, I found that SLS sold two other hotels in 2015; SLS Beverly Hills sold for $195 million and South Beach for $125 million. The Las Vegas SLS struggled as a hotel in Vegas, and sold this May.

So, what do you think? Did things go sour between the parties? Is SLS struggling in general? Or, did SLS see an opportunity to make a huge profit by selling now? All of these questions came to mind and are what I am seeing and hearing as well. Whatever the reason, I am personally bummed that SLS won’t be in Seattle. I’m sure that another cool hotel will buy, but I hope it will be one that brings as much luxury and uniqueness as SLS hotels do (and had planned for Seattle). Stay tuned as things develop. I will make sure I update my blog with any new information.