Thursday, February 25, 2010

Urban Visions in Seattle Business Magazine

Seattle Business Magazine ran an article in their March issue titled "The Commercial Real Estate Crash".  Click here for the full article.  

"Broderick Smith, vice president at Urban Visions, a real estate development and brokerage firm in Seattle, says landlords and building owners who used high amounts of leverage in the 2005 to 2007 boom years may encounter an "equity gap" when it comes time to refinance, due in large part to tighter lending criteria from banks. Though a building may still be able to cover its debt service at maturity, other factors have shifted in the capital markets. These changes make it challenging to replace a note with terms similar to one written in the stronger climate, Smith says. Landlords will have to bring new equity to deal.

What will happen to the banks when faced with building owners and landlords who can't pay? "If a bank ends up taking an asset back, it may be less willing to unload assets at 'fire sale' prices after watching how much money investors made in the '90s buying bank-owned real estate," says Smith.  "Either way, we do not anticipate banks will own more commercial real estate in the coming years. The fact of the matter is that they are not in the business of owning real estate. They will want to get the real estate off their books."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gates To Address Climate Change

Bill Gates announced he is going to refocus efforts at The Gates Foundation toward curbing climate change; he now sees climate change as the paramount challenge we face as a planet.  Last week at the annual TED conference in LA, Gates declared that the only way to alleviate climate change is to not simply reduce our carbon emissions, but to eliminate them altogether.  According to Gates, the world’s climate emissions are the result of four factors: population, services, energy, and carbon (expressed CO2 = P x S x E x C).  But in order to achieve a carbon-neutral planet, we need to use nothing but climate-neutral energy.  Given current energy solutions, however, this is not yet feasible—which is why Gates has decided to apply his  mega philanthropic resources toward advances in clean energy.  According to Gates, we should be living in a completely carbon-neutral society by 2050. 

On a related note, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is set to open its new campus at 500 Fifth Avenue North (across from the Seattle Center) in the spring of 2011:  

 - Ashley Smith

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

2nd & Pike Tower - February 9th EDG Meeting

The first Early Design Guidance meeting for 2nd & Pike Tower, (Project #3009156), was held last night at City Hall.  The project, a proposed 440 foot apartment tower housing 340 units plus skybar and restaurant, is being designed by Tom Kundig and Jerry Garcia of Olsen Kundig Architects under the guidance of owner Urban Visions and Greg Smith.

The Project Vision Statement is as follows:  

"The 2nd & Pike Tower will provide the missing link in the pedestrian intensive Pike/Pine corridor.  The project will restore this once significant corner to its place as an iconic landmark and extension of the region's ambition.  It will respond to its unique location and history with a multi-faceted building which is both transparent and dynamic.  

The southeast corner of 2nd Avenue and Pike Street was the home to the MacDougall Southwick Department Store from the turn of the 20th Century until 1964.  Once the center of the Seattle Retail Core and across the street from the Bon Marche, the area began to experience a downturn once the core began to move East.  The area eventually became neglected and urban renewal resulted in the destruction of many of the adjacent historic buildings.  The 2nd and Pike intersection has since been relegated to serving the retail core by providing surface and garage parking.  The goal of this project is to inject the site with a vitality and humanity it has not seen for decades. 

Urban Visions has established itself as a leading force in large sustainable designed projects.  The 2nd & Pike Tower will be the culmination of this commitment.  The building will achieve LEED Gold certification, gathering sun and wind from the site.  

A large street level restaurant and upper level Skybar with roof decks will further insure the building's engagement with its neighborhood and contribute to the richness of the Pike/Pine Corridor."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"A Student Of The Real Estate Game" Interviews Urban Visions

National commercial real estate blog, "A Student of the Real Estate Game", recently interviewed Urban Visions to discuss the company, sustainability, technology, and how these relate to the built environment.  Click the image above to be redirected to the interview, or click here

Monday, February 8, 2010

Urban Visions Launches New Website & Logo

Urban Visions' new website launched this morning - The new design facilitates a creative yet practical browsing experience for our visitors while allowing our team to regularly update the site with new content. Please visit the site regularly as we continually refresh with new material and news.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hard Rock Seattle Is At The 1 Yard Line

Below are photographs from a February 2nd tour of Hard Rock's forthcoming Seattle location.

Make sure to watch their website and FaceBook page for official opening date announcements: and Hard Rock Face Book Page