Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. has been selected by the City of Seattle to develop an 800,000-square-foot, mixed-use innovation campus slated to include two office and laboratory towers, affordable housing, retail and a community center. City officials accepted Alexandria’s offer of $143.5 million in cash—a 40 percent increase over its first bid—for the nearly 3-acre site in the South Lake Union submarket, known as the Mercer Mega Block.
Alexandria, which already has nearly 1.5 million square feet of office and lab space in Seattle, plans to develop two 13-story state-of-the-art office/lab towers, known for now as the Mercer East and West Towers. The urban office REIT also envisions a chef-driven farm-to-table restaurant, ground-floor retail and a pedestrian walkway on Eighth Avenue surrounded by open and activated public spaces with outdoor seating and gathering areas.
The deal includes a $5 million contribution to initiatives to address homelessness in Seattle and a total of nearly $300 million in public benefits, according to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office. Key aspects of the negotiated plan include:
- 175 affordable housing units for families earning up to 60 percent of the area median income of $66,400 for a family of four. The units would remain affordable for 50 years without any public subsidy.
- A 30,000-square-foot community center, run by the Seattle Parks & Recreation department with rent waived for up to 40 years.
- Transportation improvements including the extension of Eighth Avenue as a pedestrian right-of-way through the site between Mercer and Roy streets, and the extension of the two-way protected bike lane on the north side of Mercer Street between Ninth Avenue and Dexter.