Washington Square (Bellevue, Washington)

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Washington Square is a 10.5-acre (42,000 m2) mixed-use neighborhood under construction in downtown Bellevue, Washington, United States. Developed by Wasatch Development Associates and designed by architect Collins Woerman, the project, also known as the "Superblock," will include four or five high rise towers with residential, office, hotel, and 160,000 square feet (15,000 m2) of ground level retail space. The community is planned to be “pedestrian friendly” and feature a dog park, fountain, landscaping, and walkways.[1][2]

The first phase, which includes two residential towers, was completed in the fall of 2008. Tower one and Tower two are 24 and 26 stories respectively. They stand at a height of 260 feet (79 m), and include 353 condominium units and 26 townhomes between them. Washington Square is the third chapter in the Bellevue redesign[clarification needed] following the Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square projects.

Washington Square as seen from The Bank of America Building across the street

Additional phases of this superbock have not yet been scheduled for construction.

Location and history[edit]

The 10.5-acre (42,000 m2) site is bounded by NE 8th and NE 10th Streets to the north and south and 108th Avenue NE and 106 Avenue NE to the east and west. Developer Eugene Horback acquired the properties comprising the block over a 17-year period spanning the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Following the technology recession in the late 1990s the project faced bankruptcy. In an effort to save the project from foreclosure, Horback brought in Utah based partner Dell Loy Hansen and his company Wasatch Development Associates to help save the block. BV Holdings in September 2002 acquired the superblock from E&H Properties Inc., the company owned by developer Eugene Horbach, for $30 million.[3] Horback died in 2004 shortly after development began.[4]

Retail space[edit]

Washington Square will have nearly 180,000 square feet (17,000 m2) of retail space. Tenants in the first 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) to be completed are Top Pot Doughnuts and Shnoo Yogurt. .[5]

Soil conditions[edit]

The footings and foundations at Washington Square rest on stable soil platforms.[6] Washington Square’s below grade garage was excavated to a depth of almost 60’ through material known as “glacial till”. The glacial till base consists of naturally formed gravel compacted to very high density by centuries of receding glaciers.

Foundation waterproofing[edit]

The four levels of garage at Washington Square have an exterior waterproofing system that directs water to a collection system at the lowest level where it is then pumped to the storm sewer. [clarification needed]

Column spacing[edit]

The two towers at Washington Square are constructed of steel reinforced concrete and are classified as “Type I Construction”. Each tower is 24-stories to ensure slab thicknesses and columns spacing at efficiencies that match the seismic and wind loading in the Northwest. By post-tensioning the tower floor slabs the weight is reduced and the greater column spacing offers unit layouts with greater circulation and exterior views than if the columns were closer together.

Seismic structure[edit]

DCI, the structural engineers for the Washington Square project, suggested an innovative structural system that further improved upon efficiency of a concrete tower and resulted in a stronger tower that was better able to address the seismic requirements of the building code. The concrete “shear core” which is normally located around the elevator shaft in high-rise construction was moved out from the elevator/stair core to the perimeter of the interior hallway which made it structurally stronger because of its larger cross section. By doing this, DCI eliminated additional columns and created quieter residential units because separating the public corridor from the individual units is a 24-inch-thick (610 mm) wall of very dense concrete. Washington Square was built to Seismic Category “D” which being one of the most stringent categories is intended to withstand an earthquake of 7-8 on the Richter Scale.[7]

Exterior curtain wall and windows[edit]

The curtain wall system is a $6 million upgrade. Because the exterior is unencumbered by rectangular columns, it can be clad with a “curtain wall system” that is a metal panel with insulation within the panel itself. The curtain wall is hung from the edge of the building further isolating the interior from thermal extremes. In addition to the sleek exterior aesthetics, in a curtain wall system there are very few ledges or caulk joints through which moisture can enter. The Low E glass coating helps block the UV rays in the summer and keeps heat in during the winter.

Energy efficiency[edit]

Washington Square uses a heating and cooling system. The cooling towers and mechanical pumps and the quick recovery, redundant boilers are on the roof. Each unit has its own upgraded heat pump unit. The system is capable of delivering simultaneous heating or cooling to individual units on every floor.

Corridor ventilation[edit]

The towers use fresh air for pressurizing the public areas.

Tower elevators[edit]

Three Otis elevators are located in each tower. The belt driven Gen2 Elevator uses about 6% less energy than the older cable driven elevators.[citation needed]

Smart panel[edit]

Each home is provided with a smart panel with fiber optics in each unit offering a port for phone, data and media equipment. Qwest “Fiber to the Home” with speeds of between 5 and 10 Meg will be available as opposed to the traditional 3-4 Meg available through shared cable and DSL service. Washington Square is the first[citation needed] “Fiber to the Home” development in the Northwest.

Fireplaces and decks[edit]

97% of all of the tower units at Washington Square have fireplaces and decks. All the fireplaces at Washington Square are metered separately so the residents will only pay for their own gas usage.

Solid core doors and mortised entry locks[edit]

All the doors are 1 ¾” solid core wood doors[citation needed]. The entry door is supported with a mortised lock hardware system, which provide much higher quality and security to the locking exterior door. Instead of doorways that enter right on to the hallway, most units have a small recessed entry alcove for added privacy and security.

Floors and walls[edit]

The flooring at Washington Square is a natural wood floor systems. The wood flooring is called “upo-floor” from Finland. Applied over an engineered sound dampening system this product delivers the same acoustical isolation that is the standard in the finest quality high rise residential buildings. This is a “green” product with an M1 Certification, the highest available rating for wood flooring. It is combined with 9” -11” double studded sound wall system.

The finish in the bathrooms is a mix of imported tiles and stone. The carpeting is very dense fiber. The ½” 100 ounce rubber pad (as opposed to rebond pad) beneath the carpet is another example of attention to acoustical isolation. 32 oz. 100% Stainmaster Tactesse BCF nylon carpeting is used at Washington Square.

Sound transmission[edit]

Washington Square was designed and site tested to meet the highest sound rating in residential construction. Demising walls have sound insulated, double studs with 2 layers of sheetrock on each side. Acoustic sealant is applied to both the top and bottom of the wall. Plumbing and mechanical elements are fitted with sound isolation couplings between every unit. Heating and cooling equipment was designed to control airborne noise and vibration. 7 ½” concrete floors combined with the flooring materials deaden footfall and vertical impact sound transmission. One of the leading sound engineering firms in the country inspected and tested the construction at Washington Square to assure that the highest federal sound rating was actually achieved.

Plumbing fixtures[edit]

Kohler architectural series, solid brass fixtures[8] with chrome finish was used at Washington Square. Faucets feature a ceramic disk valve for on/off function. Faucets also use a temperature limit to prevent burning[citation needed]. Laminar flow aeration screening is used to stream water. Cast iron vertical stack piping was incorporated.


Washington Square will have concierge services that will serve the residents, subject to the determination of the homeowners association. When combined with controlled and monitored entry points for cars and people the security features will provide safety and security 24/7. There is a single point entry into the residential garage with its own surface street. Security cameras are installed.[9][10]


Coordinates: 47°37′08″N 122°11′53″W / 47.61889°N 122.19806°W / 47.61889; -122.19806