Client: Columbia Pacific Advisors
Location: Seattle
Size: 265 units above a Whole Foods

A new product type at the junction of three distinctive neighborhoods.

High-profile raises the stakes

The Danforth is a high-profile project given its high-rise nature and location at the junction of three neighborhoods, so it was important to create a building that was authentic to each neighborhood and spoke to each potential audience segment.

A tower where three neighborhoods meet

The Danforth is a 16-story, 265-unit apartment building at the junction of Seattle’s Capitol Hill and First Hill neighborhoods, and the campus of Seattle University. It is the first new high-rise apartment building in the area and will include a Whole Foods grocery store. Red Propeller has been involved with this project starting in the planning stages, continuing through naming and branding, and into lease-up, which is ongoing.

Classic, contemporary, intellectual and charitable

Red Propeller built a strategy that focused on anchoring the three surrounding neighborhoods (a Danforth is a type of anchor) – speaking to the classic nature of First Hill, the contemporary character of Capitol Hill and the intellectual pursuits at Seattle University. We worked to make the Danforth a place for people who subscribe to any one of these attributes while, more importantly, seeing value in each of them. We developed an entire set of custom marketing tools and worked with developer Columbia Pacific on a substantial art program that will reflect the three attributes.

In addition to building and conveying the brand story, we developed a distinctive strategy for marketing the project in what is arguably the most saturated climate ever for new apartments in Seattle. While many competitors touted the concessions they were offering in an effort to drive pre-leasing, we focused for several months exclusively on a campaign that sought neighborhood input on which of three local nonprofits should get a $5,000 donation (the other two would get $2,500). This effort garnered more than 3,500 votes (along with the email addresses of voters, who were entered to win one of four distinctive experiences that reflected the lifestyle of the Danforth). The nonprofits also promoted the effort, including a local adoption event by Seattle Humane. The contest drew several hundred thousand mentions on social media, plus coverage by local and industry blogs and publications. In the end, the Danforth gave all three nonprofits $5,000.

While the campaign did not focus on pre-leasing, the Danforth was nearly 40% leased by the time of opening, and outpacing proforma expectations and leasing goals.