New construction news: Robots, elephants and townhomes, oh my!

Construction is booming in our region on many fronts. From an iconic car wash becoming a high-rise tower and an ‘80s relic transforming into stylish new townhomes, to a splashy new town center in Sammamish to two cute little blue robots improving construction safety and quality assurance, here’s a look at what’s on the rise.


  • The Sammamish Town Center project is entering its next phase, adding additional housing and commercial retail space for a restaurant, a pub and other retailers. This phase of the planned 90-plus-acre development will include 86 townhomes (6 of which will be designated as affordable housing), approximately 300 multifamily units (77 affordable) and a senior living community. The multiyear process will result in a more walkable, connected, transit-friendly city, with a focus on more affordable housing, homes for first-time buyers and downsizing options for a well-rounded, intergenerational community.


  • A 1980s-era office building off Interstate 90 will soon be demolished and developed into 67 townhomes after receiving an OK from Bellevue City Hall. Homebuilder Intracorp bought the 3.7-acre property in Eastgate about a year ago for $18 million. The Bellevue Development Services Department gave the project an environment determination of non-significance on May 30, greenlighting demolition of the nearly 61,225-square-foot office building, former home of the Washington State Department of Ecology. The current proposal – designed by Freiheit Architecture – is for 11 four-story buildings housing 67 three-bedroom townhomes in four different floor plans, each with a two-car garage. This may be the beginning of the end for the struggling Eastgate office market, where office space may no longer be the highest and best use.


  • Where once a pink elephant posed, Sloane will rise. The residential portion of the 44-story Ivey on Boren in Seattle has sold for $328 million and the seller – NASH Holland – says it will begin building a similar-sized tower on the property at Seventh Avenue and Denny Way, where Elephant Car Wash operated. The Ivey sale is the region’s largest real estate sale since February 2022 and works out to $807,882 per unit. NASH Holland is immediately starting construction of the new Sloane 44-story tower, which will have 455 apartments. Such a large project despite high financing costs speaks to the strength of the multifamily market in the tech neighborhood of Seattle, occupied by Amazon, Apple and others.


  • Construction zone: Watch for … robots? AI-backed robots are part of the Skansa construction crew that is building out Kaye, a 31-story apartment building in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. The Didge robots from Boston-based Nextera Robotics use high-resolution, 360-degree photography to give architects and the Skansa development team nearly constant eyes on the job. Just two robots can replace one person’s 40-hour workweek, the expected time it would take a human to capture the images. In addition to tracking the build progress, the robots assist with quality assurance and quality control, as well as job site safety compliance. Believe it or not, the Didge robots are the second robot solution on the Kaye site. A Dusty Robotics android is printing directly on concrete slabs to show where walls and more are supposed to go, another example of how autonomous bots are being used on the job site.

This post was based on information found on Puget Sound Business Journal, 425 Business and GeekWire. Photo credit to: Sammamish Town Center

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