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Downtown Olympia Welcomes Two Exciting New Mixed-Use Waterfront Developments

The Olympia Downtown Alliance is excited to support the opening of two new mixed-use multi-family housing developments in the heart of downtown.

Lurana, on the corner of State Street and Columbia Street, right on the boardwalk at the site of the old Les Schwab, houses 44 apartment-style dwellings, a restaurant, a chocolatier and a 1,500 square foot retail or office space still available for lease as of mid-August. Approximately 75 percent of the apartments have been leased. The restaurant, ROW Seafood, will offer indoor and outdoor sit-down dining as well as a walk-up window on the boardwalk for tasty snacks like fish and chips and ice cream.

“The city’s comprehensive plan is trying to emphasize, develop and celebrate that waterfront,” says Josh Gobel, the project manager at Thomas Architecture Studio (TAS) who oversaw the Lurana project from start to finish. “We’ve created all these wonderful pedestrian amenities. It really aligns with our community goals.” Residents and patrons of Lurana will enjoy gorgeous views from anywhere in the building with Budd Bay and the Olympic Mountains to the north, the Capitol Dome to the south and Olympia cityscape to the east.

Gobel and the team at TAS worked closely with developer Urban Olympia to give the structure a look and feel that compliments Olympia’s downtown vibe. The subtle color scheme and white facades work with the city’s many white painted bricks to harmonize the new building with our historic structures.

TAS worked with developers Ken and Julie Brogan for the Views on Fifth project. Three separate structures comprise this development. Located on the isthmus between Fourth Avenue and Fifth Avenue, “The Tower” of Views on Fifth encases the structure formerly known as “The Mistake on the Lake.” The Brogans engaged with as many stakeholders as possible throughout the design and permitting process due to the building’s controversial history. 

“One of the goals of Views on Fifth was to change the narrative of this building,” Josh explains. The Tower is now flanked by the Northwest Building and the Southwest Building and boasts dozens of one- and two-bedroom apartments, studios and micro units.

The Northwest and Southwest Buildings house a restaurant space facing the park and the fountain, a four-story automated parking garage, and a number of live-work units that feature retail or gallery space on the ground floor and an attached apartment on the second level. Josh explains how TAS worked to reduce the vertical visual impact of The Tower by adding the two lower buildings and reskinning it with gray-blue glass to reflect the sky.

Approximately 25 to 30 percent of the Northwest and Southwest Buildings are leased and tenants are moving in. New residents of The Tower are targeting a mid-September move in date. Keep your eyes peeled for new things to see and do as our community puts these spaces to use with creativity.

“There is so much opportunity in downtown Olympia for amazing urban mixed-use living,” Gobel says. “We should be grateful that we have developers who are so sensitive to our sense of place and who are trying to develop projects that not only align with our comprehensive plan, but that are executed with integrity. We are creating an Olympia that we can all be proud of as it grows.”

*Photo Courtesy Thomas Architecture Studios (TAS)

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