All technology companies in Seattle have to compete for talented workers. Aside from the opportunity to create something important and building financial security, workers also consider the environment where they will be spending their long hours when selecting the company they want to work for.

Below are some office space features that startup companies seek out when searching for the creative environment that attracts talent:

  • High ceilings with exposed beams and HVAC ductwork
  • Exposed brick
  • Interesting design features (paint colors, glass walls, hardwood or polished concrete floors, etc.)
  • Open space for workstations.
  • Lots of conference rooms.
  • Natural light into the space (with the ability to provide darkness for long hours staring at the computer screen)
  • Suite amenities (lunch room, lounge, views, decks, ping pong, beer pong, foosball, darts, pool table, poker table, video gaming area, nerf guns, kegerator, bar, etc.)
  • Building amenities (showers, bike lockers, fast Internet, etc.)
  • Nearby amenities (bus access, parking, restaurants, coffee, etc.)

While Fremont, Ballard, South Lake Union, Pike Place Market and a handful of buildings in the central business district also offer cool space, Pioneer Square is the neighborhood in Seattle that has the highest concentration of buildings with the features above.

Below are my personal picks for the Top 10 Coolest Startup Spaces in Pioneer Square.  These companies have been ranked based on the ‘coolness’ of their creative environment:

#10 Symform National Building, National Building – 1008 Western Ave

#9 Identitymine, 1201 Western Building

(Editor’s Note: this company is a client of Flinn Ferguson, where post author Brian Hayden is a broker.)

#8 Flowplay, Prudential Building – 114 Alaskan Way South


#7 Quote Wizard, Interurban Building – 157 Yesler Way


#6 SURF Incubator, Exchange Building – 821 2nd Avenue


#5 Morse Best Innovation, Coleman Building – 811 1st Avenue

(This company is a client of Flinn Ferguson)

#4 Climate Corporation, F.X. McRory’s Building – 419 Occidental Ave.

(This company is a client of Flinn Ferguson)

#3 Imperium Renewables, Provident Building – 568 1st Ave South


#2 Blink Interactive, Waterfront Place, 1011 Western Avenue


#1 Payscale, Reedo Building, 542 1st Avenue South


In developing this list, we surveyed over 50 buildings and several hundred spaces.  We searched for spaces that accommodate less than 100 people (hence ‘startup’).

It should also be noted that not all of the companies we approached were comfortable having pictures taken of their space (although we did get pictures of over 100 companies).  Finally, some of the companies listed above have been around longer than a couple years so you may not consider them a startup anymore.

Brian Hayden is a commercial real estate broker with Flinn Ferguson Corporate Real Estate. You can follow Brian’s blog here. Photos provided by Luke Perry; Mark Freidrich and individual companies. Disclosure: Identitymine, Morse Best and Climate Corp. are Flinn Ferguson clients.

[Editor’s Note: Also check out our recent video and gallery of HUB Seattle, a recently opened space in the neighborhood]

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  • Tom Leung

    Yabbly has a great office in Pioneer Square as well. You’ll notice there’s room for a couple of front-end and iOS developers…

  • Bill Nordwall

    Half of these offices are not in Pioneer Square (10,9,6,5 and 2). Not even close.

    • johnhcook

      Thanks Bill. We considered this the “Greater Pioneer Square Metropolitan Area.” :)

  • Brian Hayden

    Thanks for the comment Bill. When a startup asks me to help them find space in ‘Pioneer Square’ I usually include the buildings along the Western/Waterfront corridor up to University where the hill-climb begins. These buildings have some really cool spaces and offer many of the same amenities as Pioneer Square. Also, on average, the buildings you point out are within 2.3 blocks of the official geographical boundary of Pioneer square… So I’d say they are pretty close.

  • Vroo (Bruce Leban)

    “High ceilings with exposed beams and HVAC ductwork” is a negative not a positive, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know why exposed ductwork has become trendy, but drop ceilings can significantly reduce noise, and that’s especially important in open work environments.

  • Mr Ozio

    But do they have Talking Rain in the kitchette?

  • Phil

    Cool – but many of these companies do not consider themselves startups.. MorseBest? Payscale? Blink? Imperium? They’ve been around for years.. Therefore maybe it should be called the “coolest spaces in or around Pioneer Sq.”. And then of course Olson Kundig would reign supreme.

  • Natan Antolin

    goSolid has a awesome office in Georgetown in the old Rainier Bottling plant. We also have room for a PHP dev

  • Thiago

    One of my friends is getting HVAC work done next month. He has had ducting issues for weeks. Hopefully they can work out the issue easily. A startup in the area would have been a huge help. Thiago |

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