1201 Third Avenue

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1201 Third Avenue Tower
1201 Third Avenue.jpg
Seen from Kerry Park in August 2015
1201 Third Avenue is located in Seattle WA Downtown
1201 Third Avenue
Location within downtown Seattle
Former namesWashington Mutual Tower
The Spark Plug
General information
TypeCommercial offices
Location1201 Third Avenue
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Coordinates47°36′26″N 122°20′10″W / 47.6072°N 122.3361°W / 47.6072; -122.3361Coordinates: 47°36′26″N 122°20′10″W / 47.6072°N 122.3361°W / 47.6072; -122.3361
Roof235.31 m (772.0 ft)
Technical details
Floor count55
6 below ground
Floor area103,572 m2 (1,114,840 sq ft)
Design and construction
ArchitectKohn Pedersen Fox Associates
The McKinley Architects
DeveloperWright Runstad & Co.
Structural engineerKPFF Consulting Engineers
Main contractorHoward S. Wright Construction

1201 Third Avenue (formerly Washington Mutual Tower) is a 235.31-meter (772.0 ft), 55-story skyscraper in Downtown Seattle, in the U.S. state of Washington. It is the third-tallest building in the city, the eighth-tallest on the West Coast of the United States, and the 97th-tallest in the United States. Developed by Wright Runstad & Company, construction began in 1986 and finished in 1988. 1201 Third Avenue was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and The McKinley Architects. The building was the world headquarters of the financial company Washington Mutual from the building's opening until 2006, when the company moved across the street to the WaMu Center (renamed the Russell Investments Center after the bank collapsed in 2008).


Kohn Pedersen Fox was hired to design the tower while visiting Seattle to be interviewed as a possible candidate for the job of designing the Seattle Art Museum. It was the first major office building built under Seattle's 1985 downtown zoning plan, largely implemented in response to the Columbia Center, which called for height limits, interesting profiles, and height and density bonuses for public amenities to create a 24-hour downtown.[5] The tower took advantage of all the height bonuses for public amenities that the 1985 plan called for including an entrance to the Metro Bus Tunnel (later renamed the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel), retail space, day care, public plaza, sculptured top, hillside public escalators, and lobby/atrium public access, as well as donating $2.5 million for off-site housing.[6] By providing the amenities the designers were able to add 28 stories to the tower and almost double the base floor area ratio of the site.[6] The building was built on the site of the 12-story Savoy Hotel which was imploded in 1986; however, the architects were able to incorporate two aluminum castings from the Savoy into the design of the tower. Another building on the same block, the historic Brooklyn (Hotel) Building was retained and this too was factored into the design of the tower.[7]

The New York Times named it one of the three best new office buildings in the United States in 1988, and in the May 1989 issue of Architecture Magazine Walter McQuade called it "perhaps the best recent addition to any U.S. skyline". Paul Goldberger said of the tower, "The building seems proud of its height; for all its classical elements it has a certain sleekness, and in this sense it is characteristic of our time, at least in intention, for it bespeaks a desire to combine the formal imagery of classicism and the energizing aura of modernity."[8] Seattlites have voted the 55-story skyscraper as one of their favorite buildings. The building is managed by Wright Runstad & Company.

MetLife Real Estate Investments and Clarion Partners bought the building in 2012 for $548.8 million.[9]

The building is home to a perch for Peregrine falcons, who are monitored using a public webcam that was installed in 1994.[10][11]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "1201 Third Avenue". CTBUH Skyscraper Center.
  2. ^ 1201 Third Avenue at Emporis
  3. ^ "1201 Third Avenue". SkyscraperPage.
  4. ^ 1201 Third Avenue at Structurae
  5. ^ Egan, Timothy (May 11, 1986). "A 55-Story Tower Inaugurates A New Downtown Zoning Plan". The New York Times. Retrieved August 12, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Gregerson, John (March 1990). "Seattle Tower Earns Its Place on the Skyline". Building Design & Construction. Retrieved December 6, 2007.
  7. ^ "I just love what you've done with the place". Just Wondering (blog). June 11, 2011. Retrieved Jan 11, 2019.
  8. ^ Goldberger, Paul (November 27, 1988). "Proud of Its Height, A New Tower Rules Over Seattle". The New York Times. Retrieved August 12, 2010.
  9. ^ "1201 Third Avenue office tower in Seattle sells for $548.8 million". Puget Sound Business Journal. November 2, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  10. ^ Bosch, Heather (April 5, 2017). "What happened to Seattle's peregrine falcons?". KING 5 News. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  11. ^ Garland, Alex (June 13, 2019). "How a Seattle skyscraper became a refuge for falcons". Curbed Seattle. Retrieved June 14, 2019.

External links[edit]