Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Planting New Roots: New World Headquarters of Timber Powerhouse Weyerhaeuser Is Making Its Mark in Downtown Seattle

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Planting New Roots: New World Headquarters of Timber Powerhouse Weyerhaeuser Is Making Its Mark in Downtown Seattle

Article excerpt

When state of Washington-based Weyerhaeuser, one of the world's largest private owners of timberlands, was looking to move its world headquarters from its wooded suburban setting into bustling downtown Seattle, the company found a perfect fit in the city's Pioneer Square neighborhood.

The company's new headquarters opened its doors at 200 Occidental in the fall of 2016. Adjacent to the building is Occidental Park, which boasts lush trees, woodcarvings and nearby European-style outdoor cafes. This new location allows Weyerhaeuser to embrace modern corporate surroundings while remaining connected to its natural, forestry roots.

Weyerhaeuser recognized a strategic opportunity in relocating to Pioneer Square: a chance to recruit and retain a wider pool of young talent looking to live and work downtown.

HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOOD

Known as Seattle's first neighborhood, Pioneer Square is located in southwest downtown Seattle. Historic brownstones and Renaissance Revival architecture help define the area. Like most historic neighborhoods, it has seen its share of ups and downs through its storied history.

In recent years, a number of tech companies, trendy restaurants and boutiques have moved into the neighborhood. Seattle-based real estate developer Urban Visions recognized Pioneer Square's potential for growth and had its eye on the area for several years. The right opportunity arrived in 2012, and work on 200 Occidental began. The company envisioned a modern, sustainable Class-A office building that would help further define the neighborhood. When Weyerhaeuser signed on to lease office space in 2014, the vision became reality.

INNOVATIVE DESIGN

Today, the innovative property is the tallest office building in the area, and 17,000 square feet of retail space wraps around the entire building. Custom-designed sliding glass storefronts open up to park land, complementing the overall pedestrian experience.

"The challenge was creating something that honors the neighborhood without mimicking it," said Broderick Smith, Vice President of Urban Visions, which also owns and manages the building.

Urban Visions rose to that challenge, creating a modern building that seamlessly blends with the neighborhood while providing a modern twist. The eight-floor building has brick and timber on three sides, and the fourth side is a high-performance glass curtain wall facing Occidental Park.

PERSONALIZED SPACE

"The reason this design works is that the fourth wall of the building reflects the trees in the park; it's like another dimension of the park," said Smith.

For Weyerhaeuser, 200 Occidental offered a unique opportunity to build out the interior office space with its own design vision and philosophy. "The interior of the building speaks to Weyerhaeuser's design theme: raw, industrial and natural," said Smith. This theme is obvious immediately upon entering the treehouse-like headquarters. The lobby offers an impressive homage to Weyerhaeuser's deep roots in the timber industry. One wall displays an oversized digital mural with high-definition photos of forests and employees working the land. Another wall welcomes visitors by acknowledging the company's rich history and commitment to sustainability, with concrete panels that feature a quote from company founder Frederick Weyerhaeuser: "This is not for us, not for our children, but for our grandchildren."

Weyerhaeuser worked with design firm Mithun to create the warm, natural interiors. Mithun utilized sustainable wood products throughout the building, incorporating wood panels in the elevators and Douglas fir beams lining the hallways. …

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