Seattle’s skyline has been in a constant state of transformation over the last decade, and as of this week, another future icon of the Jet City topped off in a ceremony that celebrated innovation and tenacity. Skanska’s 2+U building, a 38-story office tower currently under construction at 2nd and University St. in downtown Seattle, placed its last beam on the building, marking the end of a very significant phase of the construction process. Now, as the building steadily takes shape, so does the city and the neighborhood around it.
Located at 1201 Second Ave., the in-the-works office tower will include 665,000 square feet of office space, 18,000 square feet of street-level, retail and footplates that measure between 18,000 and 30,000 square feet. Some of the building amenities will include tenant event spaces and view decks, bike storage and service stations, a fitness and yoga studio, valet services and electric vehicle parking stations, and high-touch concierge-style property management.
Skanska USA is the developer and the general contractor for 2+U. The project team also includes Pickard Chilton (design architect), Kendall/Heaton Associates (architect of record), Swift Company (landscape architect), Graham Baba Architects (architect and experience design), Magnusson Klemencic Associates (structural engineer), Hum Creative (brand design) and Bianco Artists (photography and video styling).
And it was the effort put in by everyone that helped transform this into an iconic structure that will be proudly featured by the city of Seattle.
“This job has been built on relationships,” said Tim O’Neill, project executive for Skanska Building, who spoke at the ceremony.
“We opened up the commercial development side in 2011. That same year, we look at the site and we couldn’t put it together then,” added Murphy McCullough, and executive vice president for Skanska Commercial Development in Seattle. “It took us a couple of years to figure it out, but this site is one of those sites that we like to say is the last best site in the city.”
The site itself is central to the city’s downtown core. It is next to the Art Museum, the Symphony Hall and just blocks away from Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market. With broad views of the sound and the surrounding structures, its location will only be enhanced as the city’s waterfront transforms and the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel comes into realization.
“We call it the seam of the city,” added McCollough.
Set for completion and possible tenant move-in in the middle of 2019, the project has been a long time coming. Building permits for the development were granted in 2016, and initial excavation began in 2017, while various tenant improvements will be added to the building throughout 2018 and 2019.
The nearly 40-story undertaking will be lifted to 85 feet, revealing a 24,000 square foot outdoor urban village at the foot of the structure that will include arts and entertainment spaces, gathering spaces and restaurant and retail opportunities that will be open to the public and accessible throughout the year.
According to Christian Gunter, vice president of development at Skanska USA, the unique design move of the building will allow it to become more ingratiated with the surrounding streetscape and neighborhood. “The design not only improves views for building occupants but [also] creates a vibrant pedestrian environment for the neighborhood and urban village surrounded by a half-acre of programmed public open space,” he said. Additionally, the building will also hope to plug into Seattle’s arts and culture community. “2+U will also include an arts and culture space, free to the community for the life of the building for emerging artists, creatives and cultural organizations,” Gunter added.
Some of the unique design features of the building include a continuous glass facade that wraps around the building and increases natural daylight into the interior environment and work areas, and dual elevator cores that allow for flexible tenant entries into the tower. Programmatically, there are a variety of work spaces for potential tenants to choose from, with a clear separation between quiet work focus areas and collaborative work spaces. The interior of the space will be comprised of a variety of individual work stations, private offices, 2-person offices, informal conference rooms and training/auditorium rooms.