By Sarah Anne Lloyd

Already topped out in the South Lake Union area, the McKenzie is a 40-story tower, designed by Graphite Design Group and developed by Clise Properties.

From the outside, the building is visually distinctive; it’s elliptical, and when completed, it will include a large, steel spire extending beyond the height of the building.

This is the first residential project in decades for Clise Properties, which typically develops commercial property. Al Clise—the fourth Clise to run the company—told us that the last one was the Shorewood Apartments on Mercer Island, built in 1949.

“We’ll respond to the marketplace,” said Clise, who said the company isn’t working on any other projects right now. “We like to put our efforts into one particular project.”

Fitting for its massive size—similar to the AMLI Arc nearby—the building will house around 450 luxury apartments, ranging from studio apartments to three-bedroom penthouses. Curbed Seattle got a look inside a couple of model homes at the leasing center next door: a one-bedroom apartment at just over 600 square feet, and a 420-square-foot studio.

Courtesy of Clise Properties

A model home for a 620-square-foot, one-bedroom floor plan.

The units were relatively straightforward in luxury design; open floor plans mean the kitchen and the living areas both benefit from the window side of the apartment. The one bedroom we saw was big enough to fit a queen-size bed.

McKenzie apartments are deliberately a little smaller, so they come with small-space workarounds built in, like plenty of cabinet space, built-in shelving, and slide-out trash and recycling bins standard, without a trip to IKEA in your future.

Those homes sit above 8,000 square feet of retail space, much of it occupied by an additional location for downtown (and Bellevue) staple Wild Ginger.

As is typical for big, new construction, apartments scale up in fanciness the higher up the building goes.

On each floor, a trash shoot handles garbage, recycling, and compost, with a box depository next to it, to save a trip downstairs. Starting at the 26th floor, apartments have slightly higher-end appliances, including gas stoves. The top four floors have penthouse-style abodes, in two flavors: “clubhouse” penthouses of moderate fanciness on floors 36 and 37, and then a stepped-up version on 38 and 39.

Because the building’s elliptical, each apartment has at least some depth to its view, with a slight curve to the window in smaller apartments to a whole pie wedge of a view at the penthouse level. All of those have jetted tubs and high-end appliances; the upgraded ones also have gas fireplaces.

Rent ranges from $1,970 for a lower-level studio to more than $11,000—yep, per month—for the biggest and fanciest of the penthouse-style units.

The western view from the wraparound deck.

The building’s shape becomes especially apparent on the 40th-story deck, which wraps completely around for a 360-degree view of the city, peppered with fire pits and barbecues. Nestled within the deck, the standard package of luxury apartment features also benefits from the views: an outdoor dog run just outside a pet spa, a 10-person hot tub and adjacent steam room, an event space with moveable walls (like a church basement) for different group sizes, and a dining or boardroom with Wild Ginger catering available.

Other amenities include a yoga room with on-demand yoga videos, a media room, and spas with views. On the 39th floor, a 3,000-square-foot fitness center has a view of the cascades.

The building will have about 380 stalls, covering the majority of apartments in the building. That includes several private garages available to rent.

“We’ve always believed in having parking availability,” said Clise.

The building is likely to appeal to Amazon workers—it’s on the edge of the south campus, right across the street from one of Amazon’s many construction sites.

“We expect that Amazon will be very beneficial to this building,” said Clise, “[but] we’re not going for one particular type of tenant.”

The apartments open to tenants in July.

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