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$450 Million Development

$450 Million Development
On Tuesday we wrote about servers demanding amenities. (As Terminator fans know, it's one step closer to self-actualization.) So is it such a wonder that college students want them, too?
Spectrum Development Solutions principal Hal Ferris in his downtown office.
We recently caught up with Spectrum Development Solutions principal Hal Ferris, an advisor to the U of Washington's West Campus Student Housing Village development, a $450M, eight-year,multi-building, 4,500 bed whopper of a final project. (While it won't receive a letter grade, this is obviously a pass/fail kind of thing.) Hal, who lived in a fraternity as a UW coed in the '70s, sees remaking UW's dorms as a once-in-a-career opportunity: "You don't very often get a chance to make a neighborhood."

An aerial view of the new Poplar Hall on NE Campus Parkway in the U-District.
Three residence halls and an apartment building have cropped up on the southwest edge of campus during the past 12 months. To meet UW's need for more student housing, three more residence halls and another apartment building will be built to replace older structures, the last slated for completion in 2015. Hal says the university tries to create more of a "student village," with a mixed-use feel. That means fitness centers, yoga studios, bike parking, at least one large grocery store and a social lounge on each floor. (Oh, and study rooms too.) Bonus perk for students is that each room in the residence halls comes with its own bathroom. (Wacky roommate may or may not be included.)
Spectrum Development Solutions project Nordheim Court, on 25th Ave. NE just off campus.
But creating university housing for close to 10k is like building for a small city— everybody wants something a little different. "Students coming in were looking for more qualities, a more amenity-rich environment," Hal says. The goal of the UW project has been to provide different types of housing—from studios to four bedroom units, at a variety of price points. Above, Spectrum project Nordheim Court Apartments, for which Hal was the developer, opened off campus in 2003. Hal was also general contractor for the renovation of the elegant Commodore Duchess during the 1990s.
$450 Million Development
Spectrum's other big passion is workforce housing, specifically at 12th and Yesler, where it will be constructing 120 apartments in the first private project of the Yesler Terrace rebuild. Check out the video above where Spectrum partner Jake McKinstry (who looks like he should be TAing a graduate lecture somewhere) explains the company's passion for affordability in downtown multifamily units.
Bisnow reporter Blythe Lawrence looking studious with a couple friends at the University of Washington in 2003.
Believe it or not, our Seattle reporter (middle) lived in the old Lander Hall during her freshman year at UW. (True story: She also swam in Drumheller Fountain in her underwear. Note to students/ celebrating residence hall developers: If you're ever tempted to take a dip in Drumheller, the best time to do it is right after the fountain's been cleaned.)