Publix Redevelopment Begins Today

Redevelopment of the Publix Hotel in Seattle’s International District is set to begin today.

The $24 million project includes redevelopment of the Publix building at Fifth Avenue South and South King Street and partial demolition of an adjacent structure to make way for development of a new wing of apartments. There will be a combined 125 market-rate apartments in the Publix building and the new building, which share a common ground floor lobby. The project should be done in early 2016.

The building will have 12,000 square feet of retail space and a public courtyard at ground level.

Uwajimaya owns the building, which has been vacant since 2003, and it is working with Spectrum Development Solutions on the redevelopment. Clark Design Group and Graham Baba Architects are designing the project, and Marpac Construction is building it.

The top floor will have a penthouse, community room and terrace with views of downtown. The building will also have a pet area, gym, community kitchen and party room, media lounge, bike storage and repair area.

The Publix Hotel was built in 1928 as a single-room occupancy hotel for immigrant Asian workers, Nicholas Vann, state historical architect for the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, said in a press release.

The lobby and original storefronts will be restored, and rooms will be combined into studio and one-bedroom apartments. The new apartment wing will also have two- and three-bedroom units.

At one point there were more than 65 single-room occupancy hotels in the International District housing workers from China, Japan and the Philippines. Today, only about one-third of the single-room occupancy hotels remain.

There will be a groundbreaking event at 10:30 a.m. today at the parking lot on the east side of Publix Hotel.