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July 22, 2021

ZGF plans 13-story tower for UW

Real Estate Editor

Rendering by UW/Sasaki [enlarge]
From the UW’s 2019 master plan, this view looks north at the West Campus, with possible new buildings indicated in magenta. The W27 project is just north of the existing green space, or belvedere, along the Burke-Gilman Trail.

There are many prongs and projects to the University of Washington's gradual phased expansion and renewal of its sprawling campus. About 6 million square feet could be added at various locations.

One such site is 3919 University Way N.E., in what the school calls its West Campus. It's now home to a parking lot and the old 16,000-square-foot Purchasing and Accounting Building, which is slated for demolition.

To replace it, on a site also bounded by Brooklyn Avenue Northeast and the Burke-Gilman Trail, ZGF Architects is planning a new 13-story home for the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds. That's a program within the UW's Clean Energy Institute. The mixed-use building is envisioned to total about 340,000 square feet. ZGF's recently filed plan hasn't yet entered design review.

The UW issued an RFP for the project in March; Wexford Science + Technology will be the developer, though the board of regents will vote on the final selection this fall.

The university expects the building also to house its Northwest Institute for Materials Physics, Chemistry and Technology (aka NW IMPACT). That's a joint research center with the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Labs (or PNNL).

The UW dubs the project W27, a name likely to change. Planning began in 2016. The university hopes to complete the design process no later than the summer of 2023. Depending on that, and the permits, demolition and site prep could begin next year. Construction and the building interiors might wrap up by the end of 2024. No general contractor is attached.

The W27 building will be the university's first new building in the West Campus. It'll have about 200 underground parking stalls. The architect indicates that LEED certification will be sought.

On the south side of the new building, part of the project may also include improvements to the existing parklet on both sides of the Burke-Gilman Trail. That represents about a half-acre of open space, which counts towards the West Campus plan. The UW calls it a “belvedere.” For now, there are a few picnic tables and, often, homeless encampments.

Seattle City Council has already approved the overall campus expansion plan. The other quadrants are East Campus (essentially east of Montlake Boulevard Northeast), South Campus (south of Northeast Pacific Street) and the Central Campus — which also includes a ribbon of old properties extending west along Northeast 45th Street. (In the latter, LPC West, Perkins + Will and GLY are planning an office building atop U District Station; that project is slated to begin this year.)

Wexford, of Baltimore, appears to be new to our market. It's a specialist in research, academic and medical buildings. Wexford has partnered with ZGF on past projects.

ZGF previously designed the UW's MolES and NanoES buildings for research into molecular engineering and nanoengineering. Hoffman Construction completed those circa 2017.


Brian Miller can be reached by email at brian.miller@djc.com or by phone at (206) 219-6517.

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