Trailblazing: Hiawatha, Seattle, WA
“In the Center of Culture and Diversity”
“Excuse me while I kiss the sky.”
- Jimi Hendrix
Seattle’s Central District is a vibrant and diverse residential neighborhood just outside the hustle and bustle of downtown Seattle. Once home to Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Lee and Quincy Jones, the area has rich history in arts and culture. Over the last decade, several apartment projects have been built to accommodate an influx of new residents drawn to the area because of its strong community and proximity to downtown. In 2021, Pathfinder acquired Hiawatha, a 2014-vintage apartment community in the Central District.
Hiawatha is a 112-unit, mid-rise apartment project located two miles east of downtown Seattle. The property lies at the crossroads of major transit lines and freeways (Interstate 5 and Interstate 90), providing residents with easy access to Seattle’s employment centers and amenities. To the north of the property is Capitol Hill, a popular neighborhood known for its thriving dining and nightlife scene, and to the south is First Hill, home to three major healthcare facilities – Harborview Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center and Virginia Mason Medical Center.
Hiawatha includes a mix of studio and one-bedroom apartments averaging 584 square feet. The apartments feature modern finishes and fixtures, washers and dryers and oversized windows. Select units offer balconies and skyline views. Residents enjoy secured parking, electric car charging stations, 24-hour package lockers, bike storage, a courtyard community area and two rooftop gathering spaces with views of Mount Rainier and the Seattle skyline.
Pathfinder purchased Hiawatha from a local family who self-managed the property and utilized short-term debt; their business plan was to quickly renovate and reposition the property. Because of delays associated with the pandemic, they were unable to execute their plan and refinance and listed the property for sale.
Hiawatha was 80% occupied when we went under contract in April 2021 and is now 93% occupied. Last year, we repainted the building’s exterior and upgraded the common areas with new furniture, a barbeque and outdoor games. We also added value by repurposing the vacant ground-floor commercial space into two additional apartments, a leasing office and a gym. Since acquisition, we have renovated 59 apartments (61%), upgrading the countertops, paint, flooring, lighting and baseboards.
The neighborhood is highly walkable and residents enjoy nearby recreation and entertainment options including Judkins Park (six blocks of grass fields, sport courts and water features), Jimi Hendrix Park, Lumen Field (home to the Seattle Seahawks) and T-Mobile Ballpark (home to the Seattle Mariners) – both about 1.5 miles from the property. At Hiawatha, residents don’t have to travel far to enjoy the best of Seattle.
Seattle: Did you know?
Seattle’s Downtown Design Review Board recently approved BioMed Realty’s Denny Park South, a two-tower high-rise development encompassing over 600,000 square feet of life science and technology. The project will span a full city block (1.6 acres) in the heart of downtown Seattle along Denny Way and Dexter Avenue; less than three miles from Hiawatha.
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