Talaris

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Talaris Conference Center, Seattle

Talaris is a 18-acre site in Seattle, formerly home of the Talaris Research Institute, that was acquired by homebuilder Quadrant, a Bellevue-based unit of California’s TRI Pointe Group, in January 2018. Quadrant has proposed building 63 single-family homes on large lots "that homebuilders estimate could sell for about $2 million each." [Rosenberg, 19 Jan 2018].

Alternate proposals for the site, which is currently zoned for single-family residential, range from maintaining it as public open space, to a new institutional tenant, to detached single-family housing, to higher-density apartment housing. 

Address: 4000 NE 41st St., Seattle, WA 98105. Google Maps.

Background

The Talaris site is located between the University of Washington campus and the Seattle Children's hospital complex, in the Laurelhurst neighborhood. It was developed in the 1960s as the Seattle Research Center of the Battelle Memorial Institute, a private nonprofit applied science and technology development company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio

In 1964, landscape architect Richard Haag teamed with architect Bill Bain, Jr. of NBBJ, Inc. to develop a plan for the 18-acre campus. The project was completed over two phases: four buildings by 1966; and three additional buildings and landscape improvements by 1971. Richard Haag Associates and NBBJ were known for their early use of Modernist design principles, a style which utilized strong Japanese overtones and reflects the influence of  traditional Japanese architecture and garden design. Haag also designed Seattle's Gas Works and Victor Steinbrueck parks.

"In 1997 Era Care Communities purchased the property for $6,125,000 and it was developed into Talaris Institute which focused on infant and early learning research of the brain. In 2000, Bruce McCaw under the name 4000 Property LLC of Bellevue, purchased the property for $15,630,000. The county has assessed the property at $14 million and sold in 2000 for $15.6 million." [Laurelhurst Blog, 22 Jan 2018]

"The property, when sold several decades ago, included an underlying Settlement Agreement in which Battelle Neighbors and the Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) are partnered together with the land owners of the parcel. The Settlement Agreement specifically states that major institutions can't operate within this property (no hospitals, colleges, etc). And the Settlement Agreement has specific restrictions attached which specifies the use of the property to protect the quality of life in the adjacent neighborhood." [Laurelhurst Blog, 22 Jan 2018]

Talaris Institute was a childhood-development research program funded by Apex Foundation, of Bellevue, Washington, the family foundation of telecommunication billionaire Bruce McCaw and his wife Jolene McCaw.  In 2012, most of Talaris Institute's assets were sold to Maryland company Teaching Strategies. Since then, Columbia Hospitality has been managing the property primarily as a conference center (still named the Talaris Conference Center), available for private events.

As of 2017, the property was managed by Bruce McCaw's property company Pistol Creek Management, and listed as owned by Greg Vik, with 4000 Property LLC, a company associated with Pistol Creek.  [Laurelhurst Blog 2017]. 

The owner proposed constructing up to 333 homes in multiple apartment buildings, leading to strong neighborhood opposition led by the Laurelhurst Community Club. The required zoning change from single-family residential to multifamily was not obtained by the owner, and in 2013, Friends of Battelle/Talaris successfully nominated the site buildings and landscape for landmark status. 

In 2017 the property owner put the property up for sale, noting the campus was available for redevelopment as a research institute or housing. Tom Pehl, Senior Vice President with CBRE Capital Markets. Pehl, along with Lou Senini and Dean Johnson, are listing the property on behalf of the owner.

In January 2018 it was reported that the Talaris site was acquired by homebuilder Quadrant, a Bellevue-based unit of California’s TRI Pointe Group. Quadrant has proposed building 63 single-family homes on large lots "that homebuilders estimate could sell for about $2 million each." [Rosenberg, 19 Jan 2018].

 
Laurelhurst neighborhood waterfront, Seattle
 

Advocates involved

 

Development proposals

Quadrant Homes (new owner)

 

Midrise (Doug Trumm)

Trumm, Doug. "18-Acre Laurelhurst Parcel Is Ripe For Midrise." The Urbanist, 10 May 2017.  @dmtrumm. 
https://www.theurbanist.org/2017/05/10/laurelhurst-midrise/.

 

Bruce McCaw (former owner)

"Bruce R. McCaw is currently co-chair of Talaris and Chairman Emeritus of Pistol Creek Company. Mr. McCaw was a co-founder and director of McCaw Cellular Communications, Inc. and Claircom Communications; cofounder, VP and Director of Horizon Air; chairman and founder of Forbes Westar, Inc; and former director of Alaska Air Group. He was the President of PacWest Racing Group; served as the director on the board of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART); and co-founded Auto Research Center in Indianapolis and currently serves as a board member. In addition, Mr. McCaw serves in various capacities for several charitable foundations including the Apex Foundation and the Friendship Foundation. He currently serves as a board member of the Seattle Opera, the National Air and Space Museum and the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. Mr. McCaw has been a volunteer at the Museum of Flight since 1979, a Trustee since 1985, a member of the Executive Committee for over twenty years, and served as Chairman in 2003 and 2004. He is a member of Quiet Birdmen, the Wings Club, NAA and NBAA. A pilot for over 40 years, holding commercial and instrument ratings and type rated in a Learjet, Falcon 50/900, and F-27 aircraft. In 2004, Mr. McCaw along with his family, received Seattle’s First Citizens Award. Mr. McCaw was also awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship in 2009. Mr. McCaw and his wife Jolene are proud parents of three children."
- [ARC Board of Directors info],

 

References