By Meghan Hall
Development is booming in Issaquah as investors and developers look to keep up with demand, and at the end of September, the city welcomed a brand-new office project that will serve as a gateway to the neighborhood and a precedent for a number of future projects in the pipeline. Called 2005 Poplar, the four-story, 70,000 square foot office development managed to stay on track with construction and open this month despite challenges posed by the current global health crisis.
Developed by Rowley Properties, the new building was designed by VIA Architecture and built by GLY Construction. The project team endeavored to create a high-class building inspired by the town of Issaquah itself and the blending of its urban, developing environment and the natural Puget Sound.
“2005 Poplar is the culmination of community input and a talented team’s vision. It is a testament to the ability to harmonize the built and natural environment to create a truly unique and special place that is true to the brand of Issaquah,” said Kari Magill, CEO at Rowley Properties. “We are proud to complete this signature project with our partners at GLY, and offer a fantastic, new workplace that will bring jobs to Issaquah.”
The building is situated within close proximity to recreation, trails and parks, and a fitness club complete with a lap pool and indoor soccer space is located next door. Other building amenities include flexible floorplans, electric vehicle charging stations, bike storage and shower facilities. Corporate neighbors include companies such as Costco, Microsoft, Swedish and SanMar.
The building features a four-story class staircase—dubbed by the project team as the “irresistible” staircase—which creates a lantern effect clearly visible from I-90 at night. Through the floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall, tenants will have views of Lake Sammamish and the Cougar and Squak Mountains.
“It is an important project because of its proximity to Interstate 90, which is just to the north of the property, and as you come east into Issaquah the building is very visible from the freeway,” explained Bill DeJarlais, principal at GLY. “The vision was to have a lot of transparency into the building.”
Brick is also used throughout the exterior of the building, anchoring the large windows and providing interest. DeJarlais added that as a material, brick is not as common in its application, allowing the project to stand out.
“I love the brick on the building,” said DeJarlais. “It’s a material that you don’t see that often anymore on new buildings…In this particular case, the specific brick that they did choose and how it fits within the composition of the other materials looks really great.”
The building also utilized cross-laminated timber (CLT) in its construction in an ode to the Pacific Northwest. Additionally, added DeJarlais, CLT helps to reduce the building’s carbon emissions and provides an overall healthier workspace. In recent years, CLT has been gaining traction amongst project teams, and 2005 Poplar is the first building within Issaquah to make use of the product in its construction.
“The roof cantilevers beyond the exterior wall and for that particular situation CLT ended up being a good product to use,” said DeJarlais. The CLT is visible from the underside of the cantilever, adding detail to the exterior of the building.
2005 Poplar broke ground in August of 2019, a few COVID-19 would make its mark on the industry. The project did indeed pause construction for six weeks as shelter-in-place orders took effect and officials released guidance on how to best proceed. Despite these conditions, the project was still largely delivered on time.
“This project happened smack dab in the middle of the COVID-19,” stated DeJarlais. “…As an industry we were fortunate to be one that was allowed to move forward again and be a test pilot for so many others to see if we can actually adapt with new guidelines in place… The industry as a whole rallied incredibly well to be able to get back to work.”
The project adds to Rowley Properties’ growing Puget Sound portfolio. A third-generation family business, the firm owns and manages approximately 80 contiguous acres in downtown Issaquah. The company has owned the acreage for 60 years, since it served as a dairy farm.
In December of 2011, the City of Issaquah unanimously approved a development agreement with Rowley Properties to develop all 80 acres—known as Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center—into denser, mixed-use neighborhoods. 2005 Poplar is just the second project to come out of the agreement, which permits that Rowley is permitted to develop up to 4.4 million square feet of space in the coming years.