Oh, life before 2020. Back then, people used to work in shared offices with kombucha on tap, and were happy to have a hot desk next to – and sometimes even living with – strangers. We all know what happened next: WeWork, the pioneers of co-working, teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. Then Covid ushered in the era of working from home.
So what should a commercial property developer do with a brand new 36-storey project? If you are Martin Selig Real Estate in Seattle, you make hub control for all hubs. The illustrious building, located at 255 Lenora Street in Belltown, was originally intended for nine floors of WeWork co-working offices and 23 floors of the WeLive co-housing branch. It all crashed when the company caught fire.
This spring, after construction delays caused by the Covid virus, the project was launched to the public with a new identity as a 216-unit luxury apartment building, complete with an elegant title: The Modern. If iteration of WeWork was built for budding entrepreneurs and independent freelancers, then Modern is for people who are already very successful.
Studio apartments start at 495 square feet and start at $2,700 per month. A two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit of 1,178 square feet? These start at $7,250 a month.
Architectural firm Perkins and Will, which designed the UW Life Sciences building, incorporated design details that somewhat justify those stunning rentals. Every unit, even studios, has floor-to-ceiling windows for expansive views of the waterfront, Elliott Bay or the Space Needle. All kitchens are quartz counters and integrated appliances to the highest standard. Even the bathroom mirrors are lit. Perkins and Will somehow manage to stuff high-end finishes into just about every square inch, right down to the wide wood floors, clever thermostats, and soft-closing drawers.
But Wi-Fi-enabled outlets don’t make for a luxury apartment, and they certainly don’t justify these rentals. The main reason for this exorbitant price is the amenities. And in an eerie way similar to WeWork’s origins, there are plenty of them.
Located on the top two floors of the Modern, the Conservatory is a common space with different areas following a very specific naming convention: library (The Loft), formal events space with pool table (club room), large screen area (video wall), and bar (bar), and groups of seats for resting (lobby).
There’s also a rooftop patio, where the Modern’s Lifestyle Manager is – yes, there is such a stand – and the team hosts weekly sunset meditation and yoga sessions. This is where the bee farm is located; The honey ends up blended with custom cocktails served at the bar. (For the record, Chateau Ste. Michelle has an exclusive wine blend on offer, too.)
The concierge team at The Modern will prepare snacks from a special after-hours menu, send a personal waiter to an apartment upon request, lend a paddleboard or bicycle from the building’s collection, and look after the children for time in the residents. Day care center only. The Modern also has weekly classes available in its fitness suite. Needless to say, yes, they do wash cars and do dry cleaning.
In basic terms, the Modern is luxurious with a large L, and he has no qualms about flaunting his stature as such. Now what could be more modern than that?