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Mar. 5, 2012

Vulcan Begins Stack House Project in Seattle

By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

Seattle—Vulcan Real Estate, the real estate arm of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s holdings, has broken ground on yet another Seattle property, the Stack House, a mixed-use apartment and office development located in the Cascade neighborhood of the city’s South Lake Union district. The development, which will include 278 apartment units, will consist of two new seven-story buildings adjacent to the historic Supply Laundry Building, occupying an entire block.

The project takes its name from the tall smokestack that rises from the Supply Laundry Building, which is a Seattle landmark. The Supply Laundry Building, built in stages beginning more than 100 years ago, was the site of a major commercial laundry operation until the 1980s and will be renovated as part of the project. The structure is also associated with a major 1917 strike by laundry workers, mostly women, who won better wages and an eight-hour day. The city of Seattle designated the property a landmark in 2005 at the urging of Vulcan.

Vulcan is targeting LEED for Homes Platinum certification for the residential component of Stack House development. The building’s design will included high-efficiency, air-source heat pumps in some units for heating and cooling, more natural daylight than is typically found in apartment buildings, rainwater harvesting for irrigation, and eco-friendly building materials, among other green features.

A less typical green feature to serve the development will be a nearby storm water treatment system installed by Seattle Public UtilitiesThe system will consist of four “bio-filtration swales”—shallow channels designed to filter out pollutants from storm water—that are part of a larger storm water filtration system the utility is installing in the neighborhood in a public-private partnership with Vulcan. The swales will greatly improve the quality of storm water runoff entering South Lake Union from nearby Capitol Hill, according to Seattle Public Utilities.

Vulcan has developed about 4.3 million square feet of commercial and residential property in Seattle over the last decade, most of it in the South Lake Union area, a former industrial district that once housed Boeing and Ford Motor Co. facilities. More recently, Amazon moved its headquarters to the area. It’s also a popular place for multifamily development (besides Vulcan’s activities). At the moment, about 1,300 apartment units are either under way or proposed in South Lake Union.

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