400 Westlake To Be World’s Most Sustainable Building Of Its Size
The historic Firestone Tire Building at 400 Westlake is on its way to becoming the greenest building of its size in the world. The 15-story building will use 75 percent less energy compared to the 2012 Seattle Energy code by implementing a number of state-of-the-art sustainability practices. The MSRE team is planning to break ground on this project in Spring of 2018 and complete the project by the end of 2019. The property at 400 Westlake is MSRE’s first building in South Lake Union.
“We’re expanding into Ballard and South Lake Union for the first time, as a way of diversifying our portfolio” said MSRE Managing Director Jordan Selig. “We’re excited to introduce our product to the neighborhood.”
History of the Firestone Tire Building
Today, South Lake Union is one of the fastest growing hubs for technological and biomedical innovation in the country. Now home to innovators such as Amazon, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and many up-and-coming tech companies, a few decades ago the neighborhood was known as one of Seattle’s most prominent “auto rows.” During the late 1930’s into the World War II era, Westlake Avenue was a hub for auto-related companies with over 40 automotive businesses in the area. Among these included the Ford Plant, opened in 1914, Kenworth Trucks, until 1946, and Firestone Auto Supply & Service Store at 400 Westlake, now known as Firestone Tires, built in 1929.
As it stands now, the Firestone Tire Building at 400 Westlake was built in the Art Deco style, characteristic of the era in which it was built. The building was first renovated in 1937, then in 1943, with much of the plans created by well-known Seattle architect Victor W. Voorhees. Martin Selig acquired the building in 2015, and has since been planning renovations and updates for the space.
Bringing This Historic Building Into The Future
The Firestone Building is a Seattle Landmark building. Current renovation plans include restoring the Western and Southern façades, to include the existing windows and Firestone insignias.
The updated building will include 15 stories of rentable space designed by Perkins + Will. This building will include about 176,000 square feet of office space and an additional 14,500 square feet of retail space on the building’s ground floor. Tenants will benefit from custom build outs, a rooftop terrace, and ample parking space for cars and bikes. This building’s sustainability features, however, are what truly set it apart from the many commercial office spaces in South Lake Union.
An Unprecedented Standard for Sustainability
The 400 Westlake Building is a part of Seattle’s Living Building Pilot Program, which sets stringent sustainability standards for new and existing construction. Requirements include achieving Living Building Petal Certification in addition to using 75 percent or less energy than the 2012 Seattle Energy Code Targets and collecting rainwater in a cistern for flushing toilets and irrigation.
“We want to do what’s right for the planet,” Selig said. “We also want to take steps towards creating spaces that improve the productivity and health of those who spend their days in our buildings.”
To reach these top notch sustainability standards, the building will implement a number of novel green features including:
- A high-performance, curtain wall system enhances the sculptural presence of the building’s form
- A sustainable water management system
- Solar energy collecting fins that take in sunlight to turn into usable electricity
- Structural design to maximize natural light within the building to avoid using fossil fuels for lighting where possible
Adhering to these strict sustainability standards will make this property the most sustainable building of its size in the world to date.
“We’re really pushing the edge with this project,” Selig said. “We hope to set an example for the rest of the world with what we accomplish.”