List of tallest buildings in Seattle
Seattle, Washington, the most populous city in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, has 154 completed high-rise buildings over 160 feet (49 m), of which 37 are over 400 feet (120 m) tall. An additional 65 high-rise buildings are under construction or undergoing planning and design review, as of 2016[update].
The tallest building in Seattle is the 76-story Columbia Center, which rises 937 feet (286 m) and was completed in 1985. It is currently the 24th-tallest building in the United States, and the tallest building in the state of Washington. The second-tallest skyscraper in the city and the state is 1201 Third Avenue, which rises 772 feet (235 m) and was completed in 1988. The 20 tallest buildings in Washington are all located in Seattle.[better source needed]
In terms of the number of skyscrapers over 493 feet (150 m), Seattle's skyline is ranked first in the Northwestern United States, third on the West Coast (after Los Angeles and San Francisco) and tenth in North America.
After the Great Seattle Fire of June 6, 1889, Seattle began reconstruction of the city's central business district under a new building code requiring the use of fireproof materials, such as stone and brick. By the end of 1890, 465 buildings had been built, completing the initial phase of reconstruction, and city boosters looked to build modern high-rise buildings after the infusion of new money from the Klondike gold rush later that decade. The Pioneer Building, whose observation tower surpassed 110 feet (34 m), was completed in 1892 and is regarded as the city's first modern high-rise building. The Alaska Building, completed in 1904 and rising 203 feet (62 m) above 2nd Avenue in Pioneer Square, is considered to be Seattle's first skyscraper and first steel-framed high-rise building. It held the title of tallest habitable building in the city until the completion of the 205-foot (62 m), 18-story Hoge Building in 1911. Both buildings had been surpassed in height by the clocktower of King Street Station, opened in 1906, which stands 245 feet (75 m) tall.
Seattle's continued growth at the turn of the century, bolstered by the hosting of the Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition in 1909 and the opening of the Metropolitan Tract to development, led to a building boom north of Yesler Way in the modern-day downtown. On July 4, 1914, firearm and typewriter magnate Lyman Cornelius Smith opened the 484-foot-tall (148 m) Smith Tower, the city's new tallest building. For several years, the 38-story tower would hold the title of tallest west of the Mississippi River, and dominate the Seattle skyline. By the end of the 1920s building boom, several new Art Deco high-rises above 200 feet (61 m) were completed in Seattle, including the Medical Dental Building (1925), Seattle Tower (1930), Roosevelt Hotel (1929), Washington Athletic Club (1930), Textile Tower Building (1930), Harborview Medical Center (1931), and Pacific Tower (1933).
New high-rise construction in Seattle was halted during the Great Depression and World War II, and slowed during the post-war economic boom in the 1950s, as suburbanization took hold in the region. The first new building in downtown to be built after the war was the Norton Building in 1959, a 19-story office building in the International Style with a glass curtain wall and simple exterior features, a departure from the previous Neo-Gothic and Art Deco styles used in high-rises. Seattle was selected to host the World's Fair in 1962, revitalizing the downtown area and bringing the construction of the fairgrounds' centerpiece, the Space Needle. The 605-foot (184 m) observation tower became the symbol of the fair and a landmark for Seattle, and was the first new structure to surpass the Smith Tower in height.
The 50-story Seafirst Building (now Safeco Plaza) became the city's tallest when it opened in 1969, standing 630 feet (190 m), and signaled the start of a major construction boom in Downtown Seattle. The boom would last well into the 1980s, despite an economic downturn caused by the Boeing bust and 1970s energy crisis, and introduce elements of Modernist and Postmodern architecture to high-rise construction in the city. During this period, 15 skyscrapers taller than 400 feet (122 m) in height were constructed in Seattle, including 901 Fifth Avenue (1973), the Wells Fargo Center (1973), the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building (1974), 1600 Seventh Avenue (1976), Rainier Tower (1977), 1111 Third Avenue (1980), 800 Fifth Avenue (1981), Union Square (1981 and 1989), and the Westin Building. In total, more than 14 million square feet (1,300,000 m2) of office space was added by new construction in the 1980s. In 1984, the 76-story, 943-foot (287 m) Columbia Center was completed, becoming the tallest building in Seattle and on the West Coast of the United States. During the 1980s, the suburb of Bellevue emerged as an urban center, boasting a skyline of its own that would continue to grow well into the 21st century.
The boom of the 1980s was capped by the Columbia Center and other downtown towers such as 1000 Second Avenue (1987), 1201 Third Avenue (1988), the U.S. Bank Centre (1989) and the Gateway Tower (1990), with new downtown office space in the decade surpassing what had been built over the previous 100 years in Seattle. The new wave of development sparked fears of "Manhattanization" in downtown that would push out lower-income residents and reduce quality of life. A downtown land use plan adopted in 1984 and shelved until 1986 required the addition of public benefits for major construction projects. Opposition to the new downtown plan, which would allow "generous" new construction unhindered by a height limit, led to the creation of the "Citizen's Alternative Plan", which would limit buildings to 450 feet (140 m) and restrict development to an annual limit of 1 million square feet (93,000 m2) of space per year. The plan was approved by voters as a ballot initiative on May 16, 1989, replacing the land use plan and introduced the city's modern design review process for new development.
Development of new high-rises slowed down across U.S. cities during the early 1990s recession as demand caught up to an over-built market, with Seattle's 1980s office buildings suffering from a lack of tenants that forced ownership changes or the threat of bankruptcy and foreclosure. By 1992, vacancy rates for office space in Downtown Seattle reached 14.7 percent, while vacancy rates in outlying suburbs remained much lower. The dot-com bubble of the late 1990s, including a local economy boosted by Boeing and Microsoft, led a cut of the vacancy rate to 6 percent by 1997; between 1997 and 1999, new office buildings created an average of 1.5 million square feet (140,000 m2) of additional office space per year. After the burst of the dot-com bubble and the early 2000s recession, downtown office vacancies shot up from 1 percent to 13 percent by the end of 2001.
Two major downtown projects, the IDX Tower (2003) and WaMu Center (2006), were completed during the early 2000s and were the first office buildings to be built since the Key Tower in 1990. By the mid-2000s, office vacancies in Downtown Seattle improved to below 10 percent, but office developers were hesitant to break ground on new projects. A new downtown zoning plan adopted in 2006 effectively repealed the 1989 Citizens' Alternative Plan and its modified 540-foot (160 m) height limit, favoring unlimited heights in downtown and 400-foot (120 m) residential towers on the periphery of downtown. The new zoning plan set off a wave of high-rise residential development in the late 2000s, including the completion of Fifteen Twenty-One Second Avenue (2008), Escala (2009), and Olive 8 (2009), coming at the peak of the United States housing bubble and the demand for downtown luxury condominiums before the Great Recession.
During the Great Recession, downtown office vacancies rose to a record 21 percent by the beginning of 2010, but dropped to 10 percent by 2013; the downturn was partially blamed on the collapse of Washington Mutual, which employed 3,500 in its downtown offices. The surge in demand for office space revived several proposed downtown high-rise office projects, including The Mark and Madison Centre, both exceeding 500 feet (150 m) in height and planned to open in 2017. Other planned office and mixed-use buildings in Downtown Seattle include 2&U, the stalled Civic Square project, and the Rainier Square Tower, proposed to be the city's second-tallest building at 850 feet (260 m). Since 2010, developers have also proposed high-rise residential buildings in Downtown Seattle, including a supertall 101-story tower named 4/C, which would become the city's tallest building at 1,029 feet (314 m), and the 880-foot (270 m) 888 Tower.
Recent high-rise development in Seattle has been concentrated in the Denny Triangle and South Lake Union areas to the north of Downtown Seattle, both rezoned to support development in the 2000s after decades of supporting industrial and low-rise commercial establishments. Office development came first to the Denny Triangle area in the mid-2000s, with the construction of the United States Courthouse (2004) and 1918 Eighth Avenue (2009). In 2012, Amazon.com announced their intention to relocate their South Lake Union headquarters to a complex of high-rises in Denny Triangle; the first towers, the 520-foot (160 m) Doppler and Day 1, opened in 2016, and at least three more towers are in development. The Denny Triangle will also host the region's largest hotel, the 45-story Hyatt Regency Seattle near the Washington State Convention Center, scheduled to be completed in 2018.
Residential developments in the Denny Triangle area above 400 feet (120 m) include Aspira (2010), Premiere on Pine (2015), Cirrus (2015), and the under construction Kinects, Stratus, McKenzie Apartments, and Tilt 49. The Denny Way corridor in South Lake Union, upzoned in 2013 by the city council, is proposed to support at least seven high-rise residential buildings above 400 feet (120 m) in height, including the under construction 970 Denny Way. Other parts of downtown Seattle have also been recipients of high-rise residential development, including the twin Insignia Towers in Belltown (2015–2016), Tower 12, Helios and 2nd & Pike near Pike Place Market.
Tallest completed buildings
This list ranks Seattle skyscrapers that stand at least 400 feet (122 m) tall, based on standard height measurement. This includes spires and architectural details but does not include antenna masts. The "Year" column indicates the year in which a building was completed. Freestanding observation towers, while not habitable buildings, are included for comparison purposes; however, they are not ranked.
|1||Columbia Center||937 (286)||76||Office||1985||
|2||1201 Third Avenue||772 (235)||55||Office||1988|
|3||Two Union Square||740 (226)||56||Office||1989|
|4||Seattle Municipal Tower||722 (220)||57||Office||1990||
|5||F5 Tower||660 (201)||43||Office/Hotel||2017||
|6||Safeco Plaza||630 (192)||50||Office||1969||
|7||U.S. Bank Centre||606 (185)||44||Office||1989|
|—||Space Needle[C]||605 (184)||5||Observation||1962||
|8||Russell Investments Center||598 (182)||42||Office||2006||
|9||Wells Fargo Center||573 (175)||47||Office||1983|
|10||800 Fifth Avenue||543 (166)||42||Office||1981||
|11||901 Fifth Avenue||536 (163)||41||Office||1973||
|12||Madison Centre||530 (162)||36||Office||2017|
|14||Day 1||521 (159)||37||Office||2016|
|15||Rainier Tower||514 (157)||31||Office||1977|
|16||Fourth and Madison Building||512 (156)||40||Office||2002|
|17||1918 Eighth Avenue||500 (152)||36||Office||2009|
|18||1600 Seventh Avenue||498 (152)||33||Office||1976|
|19||1000 Second Avenue||493 (150)||43||Office||1987|
|20||Henry M. Jackson Federal Building||487 (148)||37||Office||1974|
|21||Smith Tower||462 (141)||42||Office, Residential||1914||
|22||One Union Square||456 (139)||36||Office||1981|
|23||Olive 8||455 (139)||39||Hotel, Residential||2009|
|24||1111 Third Avenue||454 (138)||34||Office||1980|
|25||Westin Seattle North Tower||449 (137)||47||Hotel||1982||
|26||McKenzie Apartments||446 (136)||39||Residential||2018|
|27||Fifteen Twenty-One Second Avenue||440 (134)||38||Residential||2008|
|Premiere on Pine||440 (134)||42||Residential||2014|
|Insignia South Tower||440 (134)||41||Residential||2015|
|Insignia North Tower||440 (134)||41||Residential||2016|
|AMLI Arc||440 (134)||36||Office, Residential||2017|
|Stratus||440 (134)||41||Retail, Residential||2018|
|36||West Edge Tower||435 (133)||35||Retail/Residential||2018|
|37||Westin Building||409 (125)||34||Office||1981|
Tallest under construction, approved and proposed
This lists skyscrapers that are under construction in Seattle that are expected to rise over 400 feet (122 m), but are not yet completed structures.
|Year of completion
|Rainier Square Tower||849 (259)||59||Hotel, Office, Residential||2017||2020||
|Amazon Tower III (Block 20)||535 (163)||38||Office||2017||2019|
|Hyatt Regency Seattle||500 (152)||45||Hotel||2015||2018||
|Third & Lenora||440 (134)||36||Office, Residential||2017||2019|
|1200 Stewart Street Tower I||440 (134)||41||Residential||2018||2021||
|1200 Stewart Street Tower II||440 (134)||41||Residential||2018||2021||
|970 Denny Way||435 (133)||40||Residential||2016||2018||
|The Emerald||435 (133)||40||Residential||2017||2019||
|1120 Denny Way North Tower||425 (130)||41||Residential||2017||2020||
|1120 Denny Way South Tower||415 (126)||41||Residential||2017||2020||
This lists skyscrapers that are approved for construction by the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections that are expected to rise over 400 feet (122 m), but have not started excavation.
|8th & Pine||600 (183)||55||Residential/Hotel||—||
|2000 Third Avenue||499 (152)||46||Residential||—|
|1916 Boren Avenue||484 (148)||44||Residential||—|
|1901 Minor Ave I||440 (134)||39||Residential||—||
|1901 Minor Ave II||440 (134)||39||Residential||—||
|2300 6th Avenue Tower 1||440 (134)||41||Residential||—|
|2300 6th Avenue Tower 2||440 (134)||41||Residential||—|
* Table entries without text indicate that information regarding one or more of building heights, floor counts, and dates of completion has not yet been released.
This lists skyscrapers that are proposed for construction in Seattle that are expected to rise over 400 feet (122 m), but are not yet completed structures.
|3rd & Cherry||629 (192)||57||—||
|Altitude Sky Tower||579 (176)||50||2019|
|1933 Fifth Avenue||525 (160)||47||—||
|2019 Boren Avenue||485 (148)||44||—||
|2025 5th Avenue||475 (145)||40||—||
|2005 5th Avenue||475 (145)||50||—||
|Onni Showbox||440 (134)||41||—|
|8 Tower||440 (134)||41||2020||
|Denny Centre||440 (134)||41||—||
|110 Ninth Avenue||400 (122)||41||2018||
|824 Howell||427 (130)||33||2019||
|121 Boren Avenue North Tower I||400 (122)||42||—|
|121 Boren Avenue North Tower II||400 (122)||42||—|
|2301 Seventh Avenue North Tower||400 (122)||40||—|
|2301 Seventh Avenue South Tower||400 (122)||40||—||
|1001 John Street||400 (122)||40||—||
|1800 Terry Avenue||400 (122)||35||—||
* Table entries without text indicate that information regarding one or more of building heights, floor counts, and dates of completion has not yet been released.
Timeline of tallest buildings
This lists buildings that once held the title of tallest building in Seattle. The Space Needle is not a building, and is thus not included in this list; the 605-foot (184 m) tower was the tallest structure in the city from 1961 to 1969.
|Name||Image||Street address||Years as tallest||Height
|Pioneer Building||612 1st Avenue||1892–1904 (12 years)||110 (34)[D]||6|||
|Alaska Building||618 2nd Avenue||1904–1906 (2 years)||203 (62)||14|||
|King Street Station Tower||303 South Jackson Street||1906–1914 (8 years)||245 (75)||8|||
|Smith Tower||506 2nd Avenue||1914–1969 (55 years)||489 (149)||38|||
|Safeco Plaza||1001 4th Avenue||1969–1985 (16 years)||630 (192)||50|||
|Columbia Center||701 5th Avenue||1985–present||937 (286)||76|||
- C. ^ The Space Needle is not a habitable building, but is included in this list for comparative purposes. Per a ruling by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, freestanding observation towers are not considered to be buildings, as they are not fully habitable structures.
- D. ^ The height of the Pioneer Building was reduced to 92 feet (28 m) after the 1949 Olympia earthquake.
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