BLUEPRINT DEVELOPMENT INSIGHTS: DOCKSIDE
As far as location goes, there aren’t many better than where Dockside, a recent Blueprint development, can be found. Sitting on the edge of Green Lake in Seattle, walking distance to every amenity imaginable, Dockside was the perfect site for another Blueprint class-leading SEDU (Small Efficiency Dwelling Unit) development.
SECURING THE DEAL
The existing site was owned and occupied by SPUD Fish and Chips, a well-loved restaurant and Seattle staple. Because of the highly desirable location, our team was competing against nine other potential buyers.
Understanding the importance of the SPUD restaurant to the local community, and recognizing the opportunity to keep an iconic part of the neighborhood, our team developed a creative offer that would see the restaurant back in the new building.
Our experience working with restauranteurs and other retail tenants, combined with our overall development expertise and scale inspired confidence with the seller and we were successful in winning the deal.
PLANNING & PRE-CONSTRUCTION
As with every one of our past projects, our team brought the experience and results from previous developments to inform the design and purpose of Dockside. We strive to build a culture of continual improvement and we aim to make that evident in each new property we build.
We also listen. To ensure the project could be as successful as possible, we conducted demographic studies and solicited feedback from focus groups including members of the local community, the brokerage community, and potential residents themselves.
In addition, our in-house construction and asset management teams work together through every stage of development - from the initial concept to lease-up – to design and deliver a project that meets Blueprint’s high standards.
Our asset management team looks at every facet of the proposed building from the perspective of a tenant – from the layout of each entrance, to the common area amenities, to the finish package of each unit. Our construction team takes that perspective and value-engineers the optimal way to achieve the end result.
UPZONING AND PLAN ADJUSTMENTS
As the Blueprint team was working through pre-construction, the Dockside parcel was up-zoned by the City of Seattle, which translated into the ability to add two more floors and increase the number of units to 98 from the originally planned 61.
For most developers, this would have caused extensive delays in planning and permitting, and set the project back significantly. However, because of our in-house land use and construction teams, the impact on our timeline was minimal.
OVERCOMING COVID AND SUPPLY CHAIN DELAYS
We broke ground on Dockside in the middle of the pandemic, which was a unique challenge in and of itself. Keeping all of our subcontractors safe and healthy on-site while adhering to changing directives and work restrictions was challenging.
Even more complicated were the downstream effects of COVID, which included dramatic supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and increased material costs.
Because we have our own in-house construction team and long-term relationships with our subcontractors, we were able to take all the disruptions in stride and keep our costs within 3% of our initial budget.
COMPLETION AND SALE
Almost as soon as Dockside was completed we were approached by the Low Income Housing Institute which was interested in purchasing the building as part of their mission to provide housing for low-income, homeless and formerly homeless people.
We previously worked with LIHI having sold them a project on Capitol Hill and were excited to again be part of solving Seattle’s housing crisis.
The purchase was financed under the City of Seattle’s Rapid Acquisition Program and included matching funds provided by the National Equity Fund.
As Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell commented at the time, “Expanding access to permanent housing solutions is a critical step in our plan to make progress on the homelessness crisis. Dockside shows how we can strategically deploy our resources to make an immediate impact, helping people get indoors and on a path to recovery.”
Dockside is another great example of Blueprint’s approach to real estate development. From site selection, to design, to construction and management, our coordinated team approach focuses on creating value at each step along the way. We believe our approach delivers value to stockholders, tenants and the community.