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Cyrene’s Elliott Bay perch.

Downtown’s Pet Project

Saturday at 10am at this waterfront high-rise is dog walk o’clock. And so Robert, the concierge, just wrapping up his shift, waves as two excited terriers pull their owner through the midcentury modern lobby at The Cyrene. A cheerful chocolate lab rides the elevator to the 11th floor, back from his walk along Elliott Bay and up through the Pike Place Market. “You pretty much have got to love dogs if you want to live here,” Robert says. It’s hard to miss the two glass candy jars filled with dog biscuits behind the front desk. The emphasis on four-legged residents even extends to the rooftop terrace, which boasts a dog run along with barbecue grills and those postcard views. 

The Cyrene, open for about year, still looks fresh as a fluffy goldendoodle just back from the groomer. The floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the waterfront grant a one-bedroom’s 618 square feet the air of a far more voluminous lair. Humans who occupy these 169 units enjoy a few niceties, too: The top floor offers a theater room, chef’s kitchen, and large modern lounge with a pool table and a big white telescope pointed at CenturyLink and Safeco Fields, while the three floors of parking include electric and hybrid car plug-in stations. The building’s location at the foot of the Harbor Steps places all of downtown within easy walking distance, including a flagship local grocer once PCC opens in the Rainier Tower in 2020—hopefully with a well-stocked pet aisle. 

This Rooftop’s Got Game

Pioneer Square on game day is a blue- and green-tinged scene, but the crowds at Quality Athletics and the rowdy lines of ticketholders who filter into CenturyLink Field create a spectacle best taken in from 26 stories up, next to an outdoor fire pit, glass of syrah or pilsner in hand. Not to mention actual football and soccer games—you can see the action at CenturyLink Field from the rooftop at The Wave at Stadium Place. 

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This sparkling Jenga stack of modern, geometric glass towers over Pioneer Square. The 333-unit complex leans into its stadium-adjacent location with a sports-themed lounge where touchdown cannons echo from the field to the TV screen in a matter of seconds. Not that everything here revolves around sports: Residents can book a block of time at the wine lounge, complete with a long wooden tasting table. A wall of dark wooden lockers, all temperature controlled, allows residents to store their best bottles. This being the Northwest, of course, some also stash bomber bottles of IPA. It’s one of several communal spaces (a game room, two dog runs, a recliner-filled theater) that can make life in a studio or one- or two-bedroom apartment feel expansive. Or there’s always the two-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot penthouse, with a view that puts you nearly eye level with the top of Smith Tower. 

Peace and Proximity 

Even though it’s in the heart of that mad-dash stretch of Broadway, The Lyric is straight-up serene. That’s partly thanks to windows that block sound, but also because the tan brick edifice faces away from Broadway’s bustle and toward relatively calm 10th Ave East. Even more tranquil? Interior apartments overlook an enclosed courtyard with greenery and an etched-stone fountain made from the old First Security Bank sign (a holdover from the previous building). Residents use this space like a private park to read or hang with their dogs. 

Between that and the U-shaped roof deck eight floors up, dotted with fireplaces and barbecues, the 234 units pack in 32 different floor plans including studios and one- and two-bedrooms. Not to mention Ping-Pong, Pac-Man, yoga classes, stations for washing your car and/or dog, and a top-floor guest suite that residents can rent for visitors. The irony: Living here means you never have to leave Capitol Hill, despite the train station just footsteps away.

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The Lyric

A Scenic Runner’s High

The Cielo, near stately St. James Cathedral, stands tall from its perch on First Hill. And at the very top, on the 31st floor, people get their sweat on 24 hours a day while admiring some of the most impressive vistas ever witnessed from a treadmill, an elliptical, or even midburpee. Though its equipment is basic, the rooftop gym’s wall-to-wall windows look south over the cityscape and Mount Rainier. A separate group exercise room on the first floor offers free weekly spin classes along with the yoga sessions now practically standard in complexes of this scale.

Floor plans at this 335-unit citadel include two-bedrooms at up to 1,100 square feet and one-bedrooms that start as small as 670 square feet, but go up to 1,000; a rooftop terrace, catering kitchen with private dining space to rent, and open game room with shuffleboard and a pool table help augment close quarters.

An enclosed pet area grants direct access to Freeway Park for anyone who prefers their morning cardio in the form of a dog walk. A professional-grade dog wash station, too, called the Laundra-Mutt, is a salve for anyone who’s ever tried to wrestle a 40-pound muddy lab into an apartment bathtub.

First Business, Then Barbecue

By day, the 34th-floor Sky Lounge at Tower 12 in Belltown might as well be a coworking space: Residents on the fireside couches stare into their laptops and tap the free Wi-Fi, seemingly oblivious to the pool table and flat screen TV. Even on the rooftop deck, tenants study textbooks and spreadsheets. It’s no surprise that the business room equipped with a big screen for teleconferencing is the space residents reserve most—many work from home. Those tech capabilities even extend into apartment units, which feature biometric safes, solar window shades, and 24-hour call assistance. While the 600-square-foot studios went fast when the building debuted in May 2017, the 28 floor plans in this 314-unit property also include one- and two-bedroom configurations.

But after work comes play. The sound (and smoky aromas) of meat on an outdoor grill is common at the lower outdoor lounge, a covered brick fireplace burns year round, and the mini fridges in the theater room stay fully stocked with mixers (aka LaCroix and Perrier). Downstairs at Antonio Spa, residents get 20 percent off massages, facials, and lash extensions. 

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AMLI SLU’s varnish-scented workshop.

For Hands-On Hobbyists

The amenities at AMLI SLU, a two-building complex separated by a short walk, are South Lake Union by way of Brooklyn. A varnish-scented “maker’s lab” resembles a woodshop with projects of reclaimed wood and metal piping in various stages of completion. The “cooking lab” is equipped with brew kettle and kits for home beermaking (or maybe for pickling some vegetables, if that’s more your speed). A bike station in the parking garage stands ready for repairs and storage. Beneath a green living roof, a wood-paneled tunnel on the 3,600-square-foot upper deck leads to a private hangout area and a lower patio space with a fire pit surrounded by leather chairs and bamboo. One of the two gyms leans Crossfit, and man, there are some beautiful beards throughout. 

An airy two-bedroom, two-bath is around 1,000 square feet. Residents on the seventh floor score 15-foot ceilings (home-crafted loft bed, anyone?), gas ranges, and views of either lake or skyline. The 293-unit complex is down the street from REI and Kai Market. It fits right into its sustainability minded surroundings with energy-efficient appliances, eco-friendly landscaping, and LEED silver certification. 


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