The future of Museum House, which is next to the Frye Museum, and WB1200, which is in the Denny Triangle, is, at this moment, unknown. Is anyone working on these buildings? This question is asked because, according to a recent story in the Globe and Mail, their developer, Vancouver BC's Westbank, "faces [an] onslaught of litigation for Canadian, U.S. projects due to unpaid bills."

...Westbank, founded in 1992 by current chief executive officer Ian Gillespie, who has made “fight for beauty” a tagline at his company, is one of the largest and most well-known Canadian developers to see such an onslaught of litigation. Although the amounts of some liens are not large, the volume of claims and the litigation is notable, painting a portrait of a developer that is in conflict with its trades on many fronts.

The Seattle Times reported about Westbank's financial woes a year ago ("Flashy Seattle high-rise planned with a jet on site faces delays, liens"). And the progress made on these buildings between then and now has been either snail-slow or imperceptible. Museum House, the other Westbank project, at least looks complete. It has all of its glass together. And so its troubles are not visible to pedestrians, bikers, or those on I-5. The same cannot be said about WB1200, which was supposed to include a fuselage of a Boeing 747. The tops of its two 47-story towers, which are crowned by lifeless cranes, have no glass. The project, which, as with Museum House, began in 2018, was supposed to be completed in 2021. Westbank now hopes the whole damn business will be done in 2024. 

"That place has been cursed," said a youngish man who works in the Denny Triangle (he asked not to be named). "People are still waiting for the Trader Joe's. I don't care about the plane, which was supposed to be a piano jazz club or something. I wanted the Trader Joe's. But, man, it's just weird to see unfinished buildings in Seattle. I've lived in this city my whole life. And I have seen the pit. You know, the one by Pioneer Square [by City Hall]. That's it. But nothing like this. Two towers. Just sitting there in the elements. Pigeons and seagulls might be living up there. Or someone is up there using the free electricity for some Bitcoin scheme."

The pit, also known (in polite circles) as the Civic Square, has been there between Fourth Avenue and Third Avenue, doing nothing since 2005; and in 2008, people with access to the kind of credit that makes the world of developers go around and around wanted it to be site for a building designed by the starchitect Norman Foster. That, of course, didn't happen. The site is still empty, and the developer who presently owns it, Bosa Development (also based in Vancouver BC), has, according to the Daily Journal of Commerce, "paused all efforts to build condos there." (Bosa's attention is on the city across the lake, Bellevue, where it plans a very ambitious "trio of 27-story condominium towers.")

Now, I do not want to make any predictions, but I do want to make this observation about capitalism: It's a system that never develops at a gradual pace. Slow growth or long-term returns are, according to its mode of existence, deadly. Capitalism's lifeblood is, precisely, irrational exuberance. A bubble in its markets is not an anomaly, but the norm. This goes all the way back to the Tulip mania (1634 to 1637) of the Dutch Golden Age. If economic expansion is not at a feverish pace, then nothing's doing. Seattle's market is, for sure, still comparatively hot (it tops the list of US cranes in operation, 45), it's clearly losing steam. There is less and less irrational development, which, for the most part, is the only kind of development there is—if this wasn't the fact of the matter, then we would not have a homeless crisis. 

Now, without (or with declining) irrational exuberance, how will the remaining nakedness of the towers in the Denny Triangle be covered with glass? How will the whole project be completed? Will it become a pit in the sky? Will it become Seattle's Torre de David or, more impressively, Ryugyong Hotel? And what happened to the latter? Let's end this bleak post with the second paragraph of Wikipedia's page for the doomed "pyramid-shaped skyscraper in Pyongyang, North Korea." 

Construction of [Ryugyong Hotel] began in 1987 but was halted in 1992 as North Korea entered a period of economic crisis after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. After 1992, the building stood topped out, but without any windows or interior fittings. In 2008, construction resumed, and the exterior was completed in 2011. The hotel was planned to open in 2012, the centenary of founding leader Kim Il Sung's birth. A partial opening was announced for 2013, but this was cancelled. In 2018, an LED display was fitted to one side, which is used to show propaganda animations and film scenes.