creating True North, a 286-unit urban infill community in Seattle, Holland
Residential Partners appealed to a chief reason Pacific Northwesterners love
their location: the outdoor
environment. So the team looked to REI, the Seattle-based outdoor retail company, for inspiration. “If REI had an apartment building, what would it be like?” is the question the developers asked themselves in branding the community’s purpose.
In keeping with the rugged outdoors theme, True North sports a “base camp” with a bike-tuning station, a worktable for waxing skis, and storage for paddleboards and kayaks. In the fitness center is the bouldering wall for which the project’s marketing campaign was named. The wall, which changes climbing courses on a quarterly basis, is exclusive to True North among Seattle’s apartment developments. The unusual amenity includes a trailhead room with maps, books, backpacking gear, and two kayaks available for checking out. Outdoor terraces feature lake and city views and multiple grilling stations, a pizza oven, hammocks, and Skee-Ball.
To get interest brewing, Holland partnered with Forterra, a locally based conservation and community-building organization, under the group’s “Sign a Lease, Plant a Tree” program, to appeal to the environmentally minded target market. The building also boasts LEED Silver certification, low-flow fixtures, energy-efficient appliances, and low-VOC paints, adhesives, and flooring.
In branding the community, the marketing team left no detail untouched. First was the logo—a lowercase “n” placed over a square, with lines in the background, as if to evoke a map. Likewise, stationery items such as brochures, letterhead, and business cards were all designed with multicolored squares overlaying images of mountains and lakes. Even the restroom signage was included in the theme, with both the men’s and women’s lounges depicting figures holding backpacks and hiking sticks.