Rainier Square Tower

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Rainier Square Tower
Rainier Square Tower, May 2020 from 4th Avenue and Union Street.jpg
Under construction in May 2020
Rainier Square Tower is located in Seattle WA Downtown
Rainier Square Tower
Location in Seattle
Rainier Square Tower is located in Washington (state)
Rainier Square Tower
Location in Washington
Rainier Square Tower is located in the United States
Rainier Square Tower
Location in United States
General information
Address1301 5th Ave
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Coordinates47°36′33.12″N 122°20′05.89″W / 47.6092000°N 122.3349694°W / 47.6092000; -122.3349694 (Rainier Square Tower)Coordinates: 47°36′33.12″N 122°20′05.89″W / 47.6092000°N 122.3349694°W / 47.6092000; -122.3349694 (Rainier Square Tower)
Construction startedOctober 2017
Topped-outAugust 2019
Estimated completion2021
Cost$600 million (estimated)
Height850 feet (260 m)
Technical details
Floor count58
Design and construction
Architecture firmNBBJ
DeveloperWright Runstad
Main contractorLease Crutcher Lewis [1]

Rainier Square Tower is a mixed-use skyscraper in the Metropolitan Tract of downtown Seattle, Washington.[4] The 850-foot (260 m) tall, 58-story tower is located at Union Street between 4th and 5th Avenues adjacent to the existing Rainier Tower; it is the second-tallest building in Seattle.[2] The $600 million project was completed in 2021, and is the tallest building constructed in the city since the construction of the Columbia Center in 1985.[4][5]


The University of Washington, which owns the Metropolitan Tract, announced their intent to redevelop the Rainier Square shopping center in late 2013.[6] The shopping mall opened in 1978 and occupied three-fourths of the block around the existing Rainier Tower.[6][7] The university's board of regents had previously proposed demolishing the mall for a 26-story hotel in 2000, but the proposal was shelved.[8] In May 2014, the board of regents selected Wright Runstad to develop the property.[9] In November 2015, Wright Runstad raised the tower's proposed height from 800 to 850 feet, with an additional eight stories of luxury apartments.[10] On December 3, 2015, the city approved the master use plan, paving the way for construction to begin.[3]

The Rainier Square shopping center was closed in August 2017 and site demolition began the following month.[citation needed] Amazon.com was announced as the sole lessee of the office portion in October 2017, occupying 722,000 square feet (67,100 m2).[4][11] In February 2019, Amazon announced that it would sublease the tower while considering other options.[12] Steel core erection began in October 2018 and the building was topped out ten months later in August 2019. It was originally scheduled to be completed in August 2020,[13][14] but was later moved to early 2021.[15]

The retail portion will be occupied by an Equinox Fitness club and a PCC Community Markets store.[16][17] The 169-room hotel was originally planned to be operated by Equinox under their hotels division,[18] but the building was replaced with an eight-story office building (named "400 University") in October 2019.[19] 400 University was topped out in January 2021.[15]


The tower, designed by NBBJ, features nearly 200 luxury apartment units, 750,000 square feet (70,000 m2) of office space, and 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) of retail space.[3][20] Six levels of below-grade parking can accommodate up to 1,000 vehicles.[21] The tower has a "sloping" appearance, starting with a wide base and gradually becoming slimmer at higher floors. Early designs had the taper beginning at a higher floor, but it was lowered so as not to obscure views of the unique "pedestal" base of Minoru Yamasaki's adjacent Rainier Tower.[2][20]

The tower uses a "radical" shear wall core system that used steel plates in lieu of traditional rebar and formwork between concrete elements. This method reduced the amount of time needed to erect the floors of the tower.[22][23]

A separate, ten-story building on the southwest corner of the site, 400 University, will have 110,000 square feet (10,000 m2) and is set to open in 2021. The building will have a rooftop deck and 9,500 square feet (880 m2) of retail space.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ HILBURG, JONATHAN. "Seattle's second tallest tower rises on steel plates, without rebar". The Architect's Newspaper.
  2. ^ a b c "Latest scoop on proposal for Rainier Square tower". The Seattle Times. June 27, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c DeMay, Daniel (December 4, 2015). "Dramatic Rainier Square project gets go-ahead from city". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Miller, Brian (October 4, 2017). "With Amazon signed, work begins on Rainier Square redevelopment". Daily Journal of Commerce. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  5. ^ "Rainier Square Project Schedule". Wright Runstad & Company. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Bhatt, Sanjay (October 3, 2013). "UW has big plans for its prime downtown Seattle real estate". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  7. ^ "In fashion—smooth leather". The Seattle Times. November 9, 1978. p. F2.
  8. ^ Dudley, Brier (January 13, 2000). "Rainier Square might be razed". The Seattle Times. p. B1. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  9. ^ Bhatt, Sanjay (May 8, 2014). "UW plans 50-story tower on downtown block". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  10. ^ Bhatt, Sanjay (November 5, 2014). "Rainier Square redo will put apartments high in the sky". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  11. ^ Rosenberg, Mike (October 3, 2017). "Amazon still growing in Seattle, taking over what will be the city's 2nd-tallest skyscraper". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  12. ^ Feiner, Lauren (February 27, 2019). "Amazon reportedly pulls plans to expand into new Seattle skyscraper after abandoning HQ2 plans in NYC". CNBC. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  13. ^ Post, Nadine M. (August 12, 2019). "Erector Tops Out 850-Foot-Tall Rainier Square Tower in Only 10 Months". Engineering News-Record. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  14. ^ "Runstad tops out Rainier Square". Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. August 16, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  15. ^ a b Miller, Brian (January 25, 2021). "400 University tower tops out at Rainier Square". Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  16. ^ "Wright Runstad & Company and J.P. Morgan Announce Partnership, Ground Lease, Leasing and the Beginning of Construction of Seattle's 1.17 Million Square Foot Rainier Square" (PDF) (Press release). Wright Runstad & Company. October 3, 2017. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  17. ^ Romano, Benjamin (March 9, 2018). "PCC will put grocery in heart of Seattle's downtown". The Seattle Times. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  18. ^ Miller, Brian (August 2, 2018). "Rainier Square hotel will be Equinox". Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  19. ^ Stiles, Marc (October 31, 2019). "Rainier Square hotel tower will be office space instead". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  20. ^ a b Stiles, Mark (December 3, 2015). "Now with a more dramatic design, Seattle skyscraper project clears major hurdle". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  21. ^ "Development Portfolio: Rainier Square". Wright Runstad & Company. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  22. ^ Post, Nadine M. (September 27, 2017). "Steel Core System Could Transform Office Tower Construction". Engineering News-Record. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  23. ^ Fortmeyer, Russell (May 1, 2021). "Rainier Square by NBBJ". Architectural Record. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  24. ^ Miller, Brian (February 13, 2020). "On the Block: Rainier Square is doing just fine without Amazon, thank you very much". Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. Retrieved February 15, 2020.