Vulcan Inc.

Specialty: Managing investments for Paul Allen
Principal: Ada Healey, vice president for real estate
Year founded: 1986
Headquarters: Seattle
Largest project in 2002: Finished construction of Seahawks Stadium

2200 Westlake
Vulcan is teaming with developer Don Milliken on the 2200 Westlake mixed-use project in South Lake Union.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc. kicked its South Lake Union redevelopment activities into full gear in 2002.

The firm, which owns about 51 acres in the area north of downtown Seattle, solidified its deal with developer Don Milliken to turn the former Quinton Instruments site at Westlake Avenue and Denny Way into a mixed-use colossus called 2200 Westlake. Milliken and Vulcan say they’ll take the project into construction later this year. It will consist of a 48,000-square-foot QFC, 138,000 square feet of offices, 270 condos and other retail over 176 parking spaces.

Merck & Co.’s Rosetta Pharmaceuticals leased 133,000 square feet in the proposed four-building, 500,000-square-foot Interurban Exchange biotech office complex on Terry Avenue and Republican Street, giving the project its first signed tenant. Development partner Schnitzer Northwest promptly started construction of Building 3 for Rosetta, which will move from the Eastside.

UW regents authorized leasing 100,000 square feet in Vulcan’s “blue flame” building at 815 Mercer St. The UW will also take an option for 260,000 square feet that Vulcan would build at an unidentified later date on the south half of the blue flame block. UW already leases 50,000 square feet for biomedical research in Vulcan’s Rosen Building.

The Seattle Biomedical Institute and Children’s Hospital each leased half of a 100,000-square-foot research building that Vulcan and development partner Harbor Properties proposed at 307 Westlake, igniting construction there. The institute, which will move from Nickerson Street on the north end of Queen Anne, put in more than $6 million in equity. Children’s researchers will move there from Sand Point Way.

Harbor and Vulcan started construction on a 172-unit moderate- to market-rate apartment complex called Alcyone, on Minor Avenue west of the Cascade Playground.

Despite the recession, Mayor Greg Nickels pushed for the city to build a trolley line on Westlake, from downtown to Lake Union.

Seahawks Stadium
Finishing Seahawks Stadium last year put Vulcan in the public eye.
Photo courtesy of Public Stadium Authority

The large, prestigious NBBJ architecture firm agreed to lease 85,000 square feet in what would be a 400,000-square-foot mixed-use project on a full block west of the REI store. NBBJ would move its 400-plus Seattle employees from Pioneer Square in 2005, after a year and a half of project designing and permitting and another year and a half of construction. Vulcan and Pemco Insurance each own half of the block, and Harbor is the project’s development partner. The project’s details remain to be drawn up, but generally Vulcan expects it to consist of more than 200 apartments, 85,000 square feet of offices for NBBJ, a small amount of additional office space, ground-floor retail, underground parking and retention of the historic New Richmond Laundry building.

“We’re pretty busy with what we’ve got now,” said Vulcan Vice President Ada Healey, who became leader of Vulcan’s real estate activities at the start of 2002.

Vulcan manages a vast collection of other Allen real estate holdings, including its Union Station headquarters building, Seahawks Stadium, Experience Music Project, the Cinerama movie theater, an Issaquah office complex and 20 developable acres on the Lake Washington shoreline in Renton. Vulcan also manages Allen’s investments in about 100 companies and Allen’s charitable activities.

Vulcan began a lengthy environmental cleanup of the 20 Renton acres last year. Otherwise, “a healthy portion of our time and energy is being spent on South Lake Union,” said Vulcan spokesman Michael Nank.

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