Home AEC Seattle’s Oldest Skyscraper Earns LEED Platinum Certification and BOMA 2019 International TOBY...

Seattle’s Oldest Skyscraper Earns LEED Platinum Certification and BOMA 2019 International TOBY Award

Seattle, Unico Properties, Unico Investment Group, Smith Tower, Building Owners and Managers Association, Pioneer Square,
Image courtesy of Unico Properties

SEATTLE (July 16, 2019) — Real estate investment and operating firm Unico Properties LLC, a subsidiary of Unico Investment Group LLC, announced today that the historic Smith Tower has earned a rare Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Unico Sustainability (https://unicosustainability.com), a division of Unico Properties, provided the LEED certification services.  

The 273,000-square-foot, historic Class A office building was built in 1914 – the oldest skyscraper in Seattle.  The high-rise building with street-level retail was the fourth tallest building in the world when it was completed, and it spent nearly 50 years as the tallest building on the West Coast.  This historic and prominent tower is protected by both the local and national landmark preservation boards.  As such, not only is the exterior façade protected, but many of the interior finishes are protected as well.  Unico invested significant capital and cosmetic upgrades to the building, celebrating its grand reopening with a new tour and visitor experience in 2016.

Unico will host a private, invitation-only LEED Plaque Ceremony at Smith Tower on July 16th to celebrate the milestone. Kimberly Lewis, USGBC’s Senior Vice President of Market Transformation, will speak at the event and present the plaque to the Unico team. Tours of the building will follow.

“It takes effort and leadership to achieve the highest level of LEED certification, especially at a historic and architecturally significant building like Smith Tower,” said Brett Philips, Unico Properties Vice President, Sustainable and Responsible Investments.  “Earning LEED-Platinum at a building of this vintage and national prominence is a true testament to the efforts of our team.  We’re pleased to further invest in Smith Tower with our commitment to sustainable stewardship, and we’re honored to achieve this milestone that further solidifies the building’s reputation as a premier city landmark and that offers a superior corporate image for both professional services and creative and technology firms.” 

Additionally, Smith Tower won the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) 2019 International TOBY® Award for The Outstanding Building of the Year in the Historical Building category.

The TOBY® Award is presented to buildings in the commercial real estate industry and recognizes participants for their excellence in building management. The competition begins at the BOMA local association level where winners move on to the regional level. Regional winners compete at the international level where the best of the best are honored and awarded at the annual BOMA International Conference. Buildings are evaluated on numerous criteria such as community involvement, site operations, tenant relations, and “green” policies and procedures. Rod Kauffman, BOMA Seattle King County President will also speak at Unico’s private event ceremony.

“We are honored to receive the prestigious TOBY® Award from BOMA International for our commitment to providing our Best-in-Class building operation, management and service at Smith Tower,” said Lynda Collie, Unico Properties Director of Real Estate Services. “It is our priority to provide first class management and operation of Seattle’s first skyscraper from the ground floor to the Observatory, bringing an exciting and captivating experience to tourists, tenants and visitors at Smith Tower.”

Some of the key highlights that Unico achieved at Smith Tower for the LEED® Platinum certification include:

  • Restroom composting program: Unico launched a Restroom Composting program in 2015 in which all the paper towels in the restrooms throughout the building are composted. Garbage containers in the restrooms were converted to compost waste with proper signage and compostable liners, while a secondary garbage container was added under each sink for non-compostable waste.
  • Energy conservation: Unico implemented the EnelX Energy Information System to help reduce energy while increasing net operating income. Since EnelX was installed in 2017, Unico has implemented eight operational efficiency measures resulting in a 15% reduction in energy use over the baseline.
  • Waste management: Unico’s Solid Waste Management plan aims to recycle at least 50% of all ongoing consumable waste, 100% of all durable goods, 90% of all construction-related waste, and 100% of all mercury-containing lamps and batteries.
  • Building operations and maintenance: Unico implemented a multi-layered preventative maintenance plan to ensure the building is continuously operating at peak performance.
  • Capital projects resulting in higher performance: Several energy saving capital projects were implemented over the last several years including high-efficiency boilers, LED lighting in common areas and exteriors, and an HVAC controls upgrade.

Located in the heart of historic Pioneer Square, Smith Tower was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River when it first opened.  The 42-story landmark has stood as a Northwest cultural icon for more than 100 years, delighting tourists and visitors and maintaining its status as a premier office space for companies of all sizes and industries. 

About Unico Properties LLC 

Unico Properties LLC, a subsidiary of Unico Investment Group LLC, is a commercial real estate investor, developer, and full-service operator focused on office and multifamily assets in emerging markets throughout the United States. Founded in 1953, Unico has been transforming the built environment by creating innovative, people-focused building experiences through a cadre of subsidiary companies that deliver boutique expertise and institutional execution for its own accounts and select third-party clients. The private equity real estate investment firm currently owns and operates 18 million square feet of commercial properties across the United States and continues to grow. For more information about Unico, please visit the firm’s website at https://unicoprop.com.