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Originally published May 9, 2012 at 4:00 PM | Page modified May 14, 2012 at 6:03 PM

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Hedreen deals could put high-rises on Greyhound block

Seattle developer R.C. Hedreen, which already owns most of the downtown block dominated by the aging Greyhound bus station, is buying the remainder of the block and plans to apply for permits for a high-rise hotel and office complex.

Seattle Times business reporter

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Seattle developer R.C. Hedreen, which already owns most of the downtown block dominated by the aging Greyhound bus station, is buying the remainder of the block and plans to apply for permits for a high-rise hotel and office complex.

"It's a site that sort of cries out for some action," said David Thyer, Hedreen's president. "It really is the connective tissue between South Lake Union and downtown."

The block is bounded by Eighth and Ninth avenues and Stewart and Howell streets. Current plans call for a 900- or 950-room hotel on its south end, and a 600,000- or 700,000-square-foot office tower on the north end, where the Greyhound terminal now stands.

The towers would share a "podium" with retail and other uses. Hedreen expects to submit a preliminary design to city officials for review in late summer, Thyer said.

Last week the developer bought one of the two parcels on the block that it didn't already own, paying Sound Credit Union $9.7 million for a 6-story office building on Howell Street.

That leaves only a 5-story apartment building at Eighth and Howell — and Thyer said Hedreen has a tentative deal to buy it, which should close this summer.

But Thyer said any new construction on the block is at least two or three years away, and Hedreen probably will be looking for short-term tenants for the office building it just acquired.

Zoning allows towers as tall as 500 feet, about 50 stories.

Any redevelopment would require demolition of the 85-year-old Greyhound station, but the city's Landmarks Preservation Board determined in 2008 that the building had been altered too much to warrant protection as a historic landmark.

Last fall Hedreen gave Greyhound an 18-month notice to vacate, Thyer said, but it's possible the bus company's lease could be extended on a month-to-month basis after it expires in spring 2013.

The developer acquired the Greyhound station and most of the rest of the block in 1995, and has been eyeing redevelopment almost since then.

In 2008 it proposed a 51-story, 1,200-room hotel, partly in response to plans by the Washington State Convention Center to expand on the neighboring site of the Convention Place transit-tunnel station.

But Hedreen dropped that proposal — in part because of the recession, in part because the convention center's plan for financing that expansion hit a snag in the Legislature, Thyer said.

Any new development could be phased, he said, with the hotel built first. It's unlikely the office tower would be built without significant advance commitments from tenants, he said.

The Denny Triangle blocks around the Greyhound station have been a hub of development activity in recent years. Schnitzer West has built two office towers across Stewart Street, Urban Partners a 37-story apartment tower a block to the east.

Hedreen itself built Olive 8, a 39-story condo and hotel tower, kitty-corner from the Greyhound block. And the block is just a couple blocks from Amazon.com's proposed three-block high-rise office complex — Hedreen made an unsuccessful pitch to the online retailer to build instead on the Greyhound block, Thyer revealed.

Hedreen's specialty is hotels — its portfolio includes downtown's Grand Hyatt, Seattle Hilton and Renaissance Seattle.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or epryne@seattletimes.com

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