Sit Down With Deep Green Developer Skanska USA


Developer Skanska USA has been busily working towards plans to create what will be one of the greenest buildings in Seattle under the City’s Living Building Pilot Program (now the Deep Green Pilot Program), based on the “Living Building Challenge,” a program dedicated to building the most eco-friendly structures possible, which also allows developers meeting those high standards of sustainability to apply for overrides in certain building codes in order to achieve those standards. Stone 34 is scheduled for completion in early 2014 and will cover 120,000 square feet in the Fremont neighborhood, with Seattle running shoe guru Brooks Sports occupying 80,000 sf of that space. The building is scheduled to begin construction this year and the ground breaking change in construction will ultimately be a huge step towards Seattle’s dedication to sustainability.

Photo Courtesy of Skanska Usa Inc.

Last week we consulted with Lisa Picard, Skanska’s EVP and Regional Manager to gain an inside perspective on the building’s progress. Stone 34 has been met with some resistance from the Wallingford community, who have questioned if the project is working towards enough of the building’s Living Building requirements, in order to obtain overrides and building incentives such as extended building height. When asked how Skanska is working towards the requirements outlined in the Living Building program, Picard said “The building responds to the Living Building Pilot Program imperatives with a 75 percent reduction in energy and water, encouraging car-free-living and urban agriculture, and creating an 8,000 sq ft public plaza for neighborhood gathering. Some of the unique features of the project are a little geeky, like hydronic heating and cooling, storm water capture and reuse, heat capture and reuse, daylight design and the use of sourced and non-toxic materials. It’s greener than 99.9999% of commercial office buildings according to Denis Hayes, president of the Bullitt Foundation.” Stone 34 also plans to meet 80-97% of the Living Building Challenge requirements, and 100% of the newly appointed Deep Green Pilot Program requirements. “The site design includes edible landscapes, and a spacious community plaza with seating rooms, local art, and bike parking stations,” said Picard. “Probably the best thing about the building, besides how much less energy it will use, will be the retail at street level. A great deal of attention is going into selecting local stores and restaurants that energize the street fronts and public areas encouraging all kinds of active connection.” Picard assured us that the incentives they’ve requested, such as an extended building height all contribute to meeting the building’s high sustainable requirements. “The primary goal with Stone34 is to demonstrate a way to provide deep green buildings that can attract commercial tenants at competitive, market rates, within a framework that allows them to change corporate mindset at a comfortable pace. Two critical elements in making Stone34 successful are pushing for great retail on the ground level (through a FAR departure); and narrower buildings that push daylight deeper into the building (the height departure).” For more information on the building’s progress, please visit Stone 34.

The Renter’s Essential Toolkit

When you find the right rental, making it look like home is an essential part of calling it home. Just because you don’t own your humble abode, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have good toolkit around for emergency repairs, home improvement needs, and decorating! Many new renters don’t think of keeping these household items around until they need them, so here is a thorough list of must-haves to consider getting now before you run into stressful situations.

  • Power Drill
  • Screw Driver set
  • Duct Tape
  • Hammer
  • Extension Cords & Power Strips
  • Wire
  • Flashlight
  • Small Ladder
  • Hose
  • Level
  • Scissors
  • Fasteners & Hooks
  • Pliers
  • Light Bulbs

You never know when you’re going to run into a DIY situation, so it’s always best to be prepared beforehand, and you might even feel a boost in self esteem after accomplishing  something on your own!

Mercer Street Clean Up: Two Way Traffic Up and Running Monday

As far back as I can remember, the Mercer Street corridor cluster has always been one of the prime spots to get stuck in traffic in Seattle, and one of the worst if you need to be anywhere on time. But all that might change, now that Mercer will finally experience 6 lanes of two way traffic beginning on Monday.

That’s right, for the first time since 1968 drivers leaving I-5 will be able to go straight towards Seattle Center instead of wrapping around in the stop and go traffic along Valley Street. Eastbound I-5 traffic isn’t looking promising to improve congestion, but  according to the Seattle Times, westbound drivers leaving I-5 could save a few minutes in their commute. Although lanes will start to open next week, there is still a lot of work to be done, and construction will continue along Fairview Ave N, making it tricky to get on I-5 after work hours. Traffic police will be assisting drivers navigate side streets during this time to aid the congestion, and two crosswalks will close to make it easier to right turn on Mercer and gain access to I-5. For more information on the construction process, visit the SDOT.

Tips For Choosing the Perfect Rental

The Rental market has become quite competitive in recent months, with long time homeowners swiftly switching back into the renting along with prospective renters, all in search of the perfect rental. While everyone seems to be scrambling to find a home, there are a few things to keep in mind while searching for the right rental for you, before you sign the lease.

Make sure you know what you want before you go shopping. What are your personal requirements for renting? Do you need covered parking, a good pet policy, or washer and dryer in the unit? What are your wants vs needs? Make sure that you’re open to different options, and that you don’t expect the landlord to add additional amenities just for you. It’s also important to connect with the landlord; you don’t have to be best friends, but you want to make sure you’re able to have a working relationship with them. Being aware of possible scams is a good thing to keep in mind when you’re searching rentals on Craigslist, Zillow, other sites where anyone can post a listing. Don’t give financial information to just anyone, or even personal information if you don’t have legitimate information on the company or landlord first. For more information on rental listings, visit Ewing & Clark Inc.

Vacationing Late Summer? Review Home Security Tips to Keep Your Residence Safe

Summer is prime time for vacationers to pack up and get in the car, and it’s smart to make sure your home is secured before leaving the humble abode for an extended weekend or longer. Zillow has compiled a precautionary checklist to review before leaving your home alone, and the first item on the list is to consider having a house sitter or consulting with your friends and neighbors to see if they’re able to check on the house while you’re gone, which could be simple if you’re having someone check on your pets, or water your plants.

It might be wise for a neighbor to park in front of your home while you’re away, creating the illusion that someone is home at all times. Shutting off a main valve might be a cautious step to take before you leave to avoid any pipes leaking, which can cause extensive damage, and become very costly. You could consider putting up motion sensor lights (check with your landlord to see if this is feasible) or electrical timers for inside lighting, again you could also have your neighbors stop by and do the same thing. For other tips on securing your home, visit Zillow.

King County Home Prices Up 7% in July

As we’ve mentioned a few different times, King County Home Prices are on the rise, and according to the Seattle Times, the stats for July are all up across the board too. Last month, King County home prices rose 7.2% compared to July 2011, making this the fourth straight month in a row to see an increase. While the rise continues, July didn’t see as big of an increase as June had; with the median home price listed for $375,250 in July which was about a 1% drop from June.

There has also been a drop in inventory of homes on the market, which is a huge factor. According to the Times, inventory in King County is the lowest it’s been since 2006, and the number of potential buyers vs. sellers is playing a huge role in the market. More people are opting to rent to avoid costly mortgage debt, as they’ve seen more frequently than before. One thing is certain, the confidence in buyers in Seattle is spreading, and sales could have even possibly been higher if the lack of inventory were higher.

Mars Hill Plans to Move Out of Belltown

You’ve most likely seen a Mars Hill Church somewhere  in the greater Seattle area, as it’s one of the biggest, and fasted growing churches around the Pacific Northwest. They’re continually outgrowing their current Belltown location, in the building that previously hosted Tabella’s night club, and have settled on a decision to move into downtown, in the First United Methodist Church, on 5th ave and Marion Street.

Mars Hill current Belltown location, Photo courtesy of

The building has previously served as the Daniel’s Recital Hall, offering free concerts to the community, and according to the Seattle Times, will still offer concerts that don’t conflict with Mars Hill activities. Apparently the deal for the new location almost didn’t happen. Tom Graff of Ewing & Clark Inc said “Mars Hill looked at the First United Methodist Church building a year ago but Daniels didn’t want to sell or completely relinquish control.” Graff also mentioned he had the lead pastor and Kevin Daniels (developer, and gentleman responsible for saving the historic building in 2007) get together in person, and they came to an agreement on a 5 year lease. For more information on the move, visit the Seattle Times.

West Seattle Home For Sale: $2,250,000

This West Seattle Estate has breathtaking bluff views of the Olympics and the Northwest Islands! The beautiful grounds, including the garden out front have been well maintained and the deck out back practically sells the estate itself. This 5 bed, 3.25 bath has old world charm, with all of the amenities, a wonderful sun room, and the grace of a by-gone era. The living room and kitchen have huge bay windows looking out across the Sound, as do the majority of other rooms in this massive 6,350 sf space. For more information on this luxury home, or other properties in the surrounding Seattle area, visit Ewing & Clark Inc.

Status: For Sale
Bed/Bath: 5/3.25
Price: $2,250,000

Skanska Gets Approval for Taller Greener Building

Running shoe guru Brooks Sports submitted a proposal to move their headquarters from Bothel to Wallingford at the bottom of Stone Way, and have been approved for an extra green, and extra tall building. The building’s developer Skanska USA, has made plans for the building, dubbed Stone 34, to be 20ft higher than that property’s zoning normally allows. According to the Seattle Times, Seattle City Council voted 9-0 to allow the extended height for the “Living Building Challenge” program in Seattle, which works to plan the most Eco-friendly buildings possible.

But several members of the local community such as the Wallingford City Council, and the International Living Future Institute (who designed the Living Building program) has expressed their disapproval of the project, claiming that Skanska isn’t working towards enough of the Living Building requirements. They’ve expressed that extra incentives such as extended height should only be awarded to those attempting to go extra green. For more information on the building plans, visit Stone 34.