Waterfront Research Center renovation complete

Seattle – Lease Crutcher Lewis has completed a major renovation of the Waterfront Research Center at 201 Elliott Avenue West.  The 154,341 rentable square foot, five-story building overlooking Elliott Bay is now Class A life science space, and is already attracting strong interest from potential tenants. 

In early 2010, owner BioMed Realty Trust, Inc. (BMR) hired SABArchitects (SABA) and Lease Crutcher Lewis (Lewis) with a specific mission: capitalize on the outstanding location and foundation of the current building and create laboratory and office space which is flexible, attractive and well suited to the intensive needs of life science organizations.  

SABA had been involved in the first redevelopment phase in 2008 of this 1920s-era building, which included seismic and mechanical upgrades.  Initially, the second redevelopment phase focused primarily on lobby renovations, a moderate exterior facelift, additional mechanical upgrades, and a "spec" laboratory and office build-out.  

As the project moved forward, it was decided to do more.

BMR, SABA, and Lewis developed a new design concept: create a grand atrium, two stories tall, extending through the building to the windows overlooking Elliott Bay, and integrate the atrium with an equally strong statement at the building entry.  The atrium redesign required removing an entire bay between columns, and rethinking circulation and architectural finishes, as well as mechanical and electrical routing without changing the completion date or incurring significant added cost.  

SABA designer Stephen Wood called attention to the building entry by designing a stainless steel canopy that cantilevers eleven feet over the sidewalk.  Two metal panel columns were extended up the height of the façade to frame the entry, and the Exterior Insulation Finishing System (EIFS) entry and black building glass were replaced with a new clear-glass curtain wall.  These changes made the entry transparent in the day and a glowing lantern at night.  The lobby interior features ash wood panels, white stone floors, stainless steel panels, stainless steel railings, and a full–height, clear-glass interior storefront, creating an open spacious feeling.  

Tenant design in the leasable spaces was a major focus.  The team constructed a 7,000 square foot laboratory and office as a visualization tool for potential tenants.  Rather than one treatment for ceilings, walls, floors, columns or other elements, the team designed and built several of each.  Concrete structural columns were updated in bare sandblasted, skim-coated, and walled-off formats sustainably and affordably with components designed by lab suppliers for trade shows.  "This avoided waste and gives tenants a lot more flexibility," said Lewis Project Manager, Jim Lorenz.  

Other major consultants and contractors included ABKJ for structural engineering, MacDonald-Miller for design-build mechanical, Nelson Electric for design-build electrical, and Goldfinch Brothers for the curtain wall.  

The renovation project was completed on March 18, in time to host a meeting and tour for the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association and the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle on March 22. 

About Our Firms

BioMed Realty Trust, Inc. is a real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on Providing Real Estate to the Life Science Industry®. The company’s tenants primarily include biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, scientific research institutions, government agencies and other entities involved in the life science industry. BioMed owns or has interests in 85 properties, representing 147 buildings with approximately 12.2 million rentable square feet. The company’s properties are located predominantly in the major U.S. life science markets of Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York/New Jersey, which have well-established reputations as centers for scientific research.

Lease Crutcher Lewis has been a leading Northwest general contractor since 1886, and has been based in Seattle since 1939.  Lewis is active in numerous project types, including biotech, medical, office, education, retail, hotel, historic renovation, and others.  Common threads for its work include an integrated approach to working with customers and design partners, a focus on optimal use of technologies such as BIM, and performing a large percentage of its work with its own craftspeople.  

SABArchitects was founded in 2003 by Steve Erickson, Arthur Furukawa and Bob Vizenor.  SABA is located in South Lake Union and specializes in the design of life science facilities, corporate offices and early education centers.  SABA values their numerous long term clients and attributes these ongoing relationships to their emphasis on listening and understanding their client’s needs.  With their client’s goals clearly in mind SABA fosters a collaborative team atmosphere where owner, contractors, and the architect bring their collective expertise together to create excellent yet cost effective designs that meet their client’s definition of success.