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The Launch Pad
This rendering shows the design for The Launch Pad, a planned office tower in downtown Seattle, featuring a soaring open atrium. (Urban Visions, CollinsWoerman)

The technology industry touches almost every corner of the Seattle region these days, and a planned downtown office building called The Launch Pad is the latest example. Developed by Seattle’s Urban Visions real estate firm, it’s being designed to attract tech tenants.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith

Currently in the design process, the building is slated for 1516 Second Ave., near Pike Place Market, where a four-story building was once home to Amazon.com. That bit of Seattle tech history is what’s behind The Launch Pad name, said Greg Smith, president of Urban Visions.

A rendering of the proposed building, by architects CollinsWoerman, shows a soaring four or five-story lobby/open space above two levels, with retail on the ground floor. Nine stories of office space (170,000 rentable square feet) sit on structural beams above the atrium.

Smith said the objective was to “design a building now that reflects today’s work culture” and that led to getting creative with the “meeting, thinking, playing” open space. If ping-pong and foosball are tech leisure staples, Smith wants us to perhaps add bocce ball to that list.

“We’re confident that it’s so atypical to what is being built,” Smith said, indicating that the plan is to break ground about a year from now with or without a tenant. He pointed out some of the building’s additional features that he believes make it an attractive space:

  • Iconic architecture missing from Seattle’s skyline.
  • Higher floor-to-floor heights that allow more natural light to all occupants.
  • Four outdoor decks per floor allowing employees the ability to sit outside, work, think, collaborate and enjoy fresh air.
  • A roughly 4,000-square-foot rooftop “party zone” with views of Elliott Bay.
  • Traditional elevator core moved from middle of the floor plate to one end allowing for wide open, naturally lit floor areas for maximum work space flexibility and collaboration.
  • Sustainable design goals and materials that are good for the planet.
  • Proximity to Pike Place Market and nearby food options.
The Launch Pad
The Launch Pad is shown in the center of a rendering of downtown Seattle. (Urban Visions)

Urban Visions paid $11.8 million for the Chromer Building in 2013. That building, which housed Amazon around the time of its IPO, and a surface parking lot would be razed and The Launch Pad would be constructed at a cost of over $100 million, Smith said.

The Amazon history, while figuring into the name, could also be preserved with some elements the online retail giant left behind.

“There’s still some cool little signs around that they had in their space, and some bookshelves that they left,” Smith said. “We’re going to take those and put them on display” for the next tech company that is looking for some of that “good mojo.”

While the design of the building may be geared toward luring the next tech hopeful, Smith pointed out that 200 Occidental, another Urban Visions project in Seattle, ended up attracting a non-tech tenant in Weyerhaeuser. The company’s new headquarters building is slated to be completed in August.

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