Developing the Most Sustainable Building of its Size in the U.S. at 400 Westlake in Seattle

Developing the Most Sustainable Building of its Size in the U.S. at 400 Westlake in Seattle

Once an anchor in Seattle’s most prominent “auto row,” the historic Firestone Tire Building is poised to change the way people think about sustainability in real estate development. When finished, 400 Westlake will be considered by many as the greenest building of its size in the world. Construction is set to commence by the end of the first quarter in 2019.

Today, Martin Selig Real Estate (MSRE) is making strides to preserve the architectural history of the space, while propelling it into the forefront of environmental design and sustainable technology.

Read on about the latest progress made in restoring this Seattle Landmark Building to its original luster and exactly how this new commercial real estate development is setting a new standard in hyper-sustainability in Seattle.

400 Westlake 2
400 Westlake rendering.

Leveling Up Environment Sustainability with Seattle’s Tallest and Largest Living Building Pilot Project

From the outside, 400 Westlake will be restored to honor the building’s historical and aesthetic relevance to the city but its new addition, a 15-story premium office building, will embody environment stewardship and sustainability.

The first building of its kind in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood (and the world!) 400 Westlake is breaking sustainability barriers. The largest of five proposed buildings participating in the city’s Living Building Pilot Program, and the first ever in a landmark building, it’s adhering to stringent sustainability standards and serving as a role model for the design of more high-level green buildings in the future.

The Living Building program requirements include achieving Living Building Petal Certification, as well as using 75 percent or less energy than the 2012 Seattle Energy Code. The global architecture and design firm, Perkins + Will, is leading the project’s unique design that will be measured against stringent sustainability standards from both the city and the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).

400 Westlake will be the first project to use the ILFI’s Offsite Renewable Exception to create a hyper-sustainable building that includes the following environmental features:

Energy Generation

400 Westlake will be net positive, producing 105 percent of the building’s energy needs. Solar energy will be generated onsite by a Lumos Solar Canopy composed of photo-voltaic fins on the 15th-floor rooftop deck. The solar canopy boasts 12 percent transparency, allowing daylight to pass through space in between the solar cells, creating beautiful dappled light. Using a dual-sided glass, the reflected light will generate energy on the underside, while its thin profile will provide an interesting aesthetic element to the 3,500 square feet rooftop amenity. The solar panels will also protect the rooftop amenities from rain and provide year-round exposure to the expansive 270-degree views to Downtown and Lake Union. The project plans to maximize carbon reduction off-site as well, with a solar energy grid in Eastern Washington that’s almost five times the size of the rooftop canopy.

Resilience & Energy Storage

Power outages can destabilize an urban center, causing mass panic and uncertainty. 400 Westlake will be designed to withstand a potential power crisis, serving as a beacon of hope and support within the community. The building will be designed with enough battery storage capacity to power emergency lighting and refrigeration for up to one week!

Equipped to respond to climate change and emergencies by remaining functional during power outages, it will serve as a hub of resiliency for surrounding buildings in times of energy crisis.

Water Reuse

Americans now use 127 percent more water than they did in 1950! It’s more important than ever to implement strong water recapture and reuse practices, ensuring the generations to come have access to safe, clean drinking water in sustainable abundance.

400 Westlake has been designed to use only non-potable water for non-potable uses, employing a greywater and rainwater capture, reuse system for toilets and landscape irrigation. In addition to these measures, water usage at 400 Westlake will be cut by low-flow appliances and a chilled-beam HVAC system will further reduce the energy consumed.

Human Health and Wellness

The project has been engineered to exclude materials listed on the Living Building Challenge Red List. An accessible rooftop deck on the 15th floor includes a 1,500 square foot green roof and a glass awning with building integrated photovoltaics for occupants to get fresh air, access to nature and expansive views of Downtown and South Lake Union.

 Pronounced Progress Made on the Exterior of the Original Firestone Building

Built in 1929, and first renovated in 1937, and then again in 1943, a clear objective for MSRE has been to preserve and enhance the existing landmarked building. Characteristic of the Art Deco style, the terracotta ornament located on the south and west sides of the building’s façade will be meticulously restored, in addition to the fluted piers, exterior windows, scalloped spandrel decorations and original embossed Firestone crests that adorn the outside of the property.

Over the last five months, MSRE has successfully scaffolded the historic three-story exterior of the building on the south and west sides. They are now carefully stripping and cleaning the exterior to expose the original blonde face of the 1930s terracotta. Partnering with architects that specialize in historic preservation, team members have removed seven layers of paint and are developing a new system to tie the terracotta back together, strengthening it to withstand weather damage for years to come.

Realizing their vision of making this space one of historical beauty and reverence, the first-floor entrance will celebrate modern modes of transit by prominently displaying the building’s commuter bicycles where Firestone automobiles were once on display.

Expect a New Addition that’s Compatible with the Original Firestone Building, yet in a Class All Its Own.

 Available in the spring of 2021 and pre-leasing now, this 220,000-square-foot luxury office building will include a 15-story office tower designed with a flexible open plan, street-level retail space, 195 bike stalls, a rooftop garden, and underground parking. 400 Westlake will cater to tenants seeking to work in luxury office space, located in the heart of South Lake Union. Here, tenants will enjoy unique rooftop amenities with gorgeous views of Downtown, Lake Union and the Puget Sound!

Surrounded by innovation and acceleration in the center of Seattle, we are excited to have the community embrace this cutting-edge sustainability initiative and welcome tenants to experience the greenest building of its size in the world, first-hand. Come be part of the green solution with Martin Selig Real Estate.

400 Westlake is available spring 2021 and pre-leasing now. Learn more about Martin Selig Real Estates newest developments, and don’t hesitate to contact us anytime. Don’t forget to stay current on company updates by following us on social media, too!

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