For those not in the know, Northlake Commons is the name that has been adopted for the new development going in on Dunn Lumber property alongside the Burke Gilman Trail here in our neighborhood. The project, created jointly by the Dunn family and the architectural firms Weber Thompson, Hess Callahan Grey and Spear Street Capitol, was designed with extensive input from area neighbors which we have reported on here, and it has been in the works for several years.
Early plans called for a single building with three stories to the north, increasing to four stories as the structure stretched down the slope towards Northlake Way. Possible tenants for the upper floors at that early stage were unclear, but retail outlets such as restaurants and cafes were likely for the ground level – especially on the north side where seamless integration with the Burke Gilman, a Seattle Parks property, was considered essential.
Since then, the vision has evolved into something much more eye-catching that will surely transform that area of the lake (which, yeah, isn’t hard when you look around that area. But still, it’s a great looking project). Instead of just one building, there will now be essentially two. A western structure will have three floors and a roof-top deck while an eastern building will have four floors. Tenants on the upper floors will move between the two buildings by means of open-air sky bridges. (We’re not in Minnesota!) The general public will be able to move from the BGT between the buildings and under these sky bridges to a deck with expansive views of Lake Union. As befits a company like Dunn, the building will be constructed from mass timber, a very strong wood product that can be formed into beams and other structural elements thereby obviating the need for steel and concrete supports. The project is being heralded as the first, large commercial project in the city to be constructed using this material.
The two buildings combined will have about 165,000 square feet of rentable space, making the complex substantially larger than the Brooks Building on Stone Way (120,000 ft2), but smaller than the Tableau building near Gas Works (210,000 ft2). The street level will still support a bevy of retail businesses, cafes and restaurants. The upper levels will be outfitted as technology sector workspaces and laboratories. And, yes, Dunn Lumber will have some new space for themselves in their new development.
A ground-breaking ceremony was held back in February, and now, excavation is well underway. The project is expected to be done in the Fall of 2023.