Chinn up! Historic building to get a new crown.

It's the time for positive affirmations, not unlike the adage "Chin up princess or the crown slips." Replace the crown with a hard hat and you've entered the RailSpur project's construction site at 419 Occidental Ave. where people are working especially hard to stay positive and keep the forward momentum going in spite of COVID-19.

Chinn construction is in charge of the transformation of 419 Occidental, formerly the Manufacturer's Building and most recognizable for it's once iconic tenant F.X. McRory's. And its crown? A cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure for a penthouse addition, designed by Swenson Say Faget (SSF) in partnership with developer Urban Villages and SHED Architects.

The building size will increase only by about 2% - from 89,000sf to roughly 96,800sf and the team is targeting LEED Platinum certification. As you can imagine, getting to this stellar finish requires a very nimble cohesive team as they navigate unforeseen conditions inherent to century old buildings.


There have been logistical challenges due to the project’s location in Pioneer Square, i.e tight working environment, minimal lay-down area, and hoisting challenges. To compound the snarls, Seattle City Light work has disrupted use of the alley between the buildings, causing further workarounds. Oh, and then there's this pandemic situation. Safe Start regulations necessitated a whole new work plan as well as ongoing analyses by Hainline's scheduling sharp-shooter, RIchard Shiroyama, to keep the project on course for the completion of the first phase in November 2020.

When finished, Railspur will be a true gem in the neighborhood with an activated alley along with new retail and office space. The adjacent - and also historic - buildings at 115 & 119 S. Jackson are included in the redevelopment plan and will eventually have their own new sparkle as well. The team has planned for 26 apartment units and a penthouse to occupy the top two floors while the ground level will be a mix of micro-retail and restaurant spaces.. This is also an Urban Villages / Chinn / SHED collaboration with Hainline providing scheduling analyses and guidance.


Images are property of SHED Architects.




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