Vulcan Inc.

Specialty: Urban development

Management: Paul G. Allen, founder; Jody Patton, president and CEO; Ada M. Healey, vice president of real estate

Founded: 1986

Current projects: 2201 Westlake; Westlake/Terry Building; University of Washington School of Medicine, Lake Union Phase II; Rollin Street Flats; Veer Lofts; The Martin


Rendering by Callison
Vulcan’s 2201 Westlake project will include 300,000 square feet of office, 135 luxury condos and 20,000 square feet of retail. Across the street is 2200, a 550,000-square-foot mixed-use project that Vulcan completed in the fall.

Fresh off the completion of 2200 — the 550,000-square-foot hotel, condominium and commercial development that marks Vulcan’s gateway to South Lake Union — the firm has broken ground on its sister development, a 450,000-square-foot office, condo and retail project called 2201 Westlake.

A 24-7 neighborhood

Several other Vulcan projects are under way in South Lake Union, ranging from moderate-income housing to research labs. The developments are aimed at nothing less than transforming the mostly 9-to-5 commercial district into a 24-7 neighborhood, said Ada Healey, Vulcan’s vice president of real estate.

While 2200 has already raised the metabolism of South Lake Union, she said, Vulcan has completed only about 15 percent of its planned projects.

The next round of buildings, the largest of which include 2201 Westlake and the 320,000-square-foot Westlake Terry Building, should bring that figure up to 25 percent.

South Lake focus

Given all its activity in South Lake Union, Vulcan will remained focused there, Healey said. “We’re not looking to develop outside that neighborhood at the moment.”

Vulcan is bullish on the regional economy, Healey said, noting that strong population and employment growth should continue to drive demand for commercial, residential and retail space.

“We’re very optimistic about the demand for real estate in the next three to four years,” she said.

While rising interest rates and a busy construction market have pushed up costs, that may turn out to be a plus for Vulcan — as a well-capitalized firm, it’s in a better position to weather such challenges than other developers are, Healey said.

Rising rents

The economic growth means that rents will rise as office space dwindles, placing Vulcan’s speculative office tower at 2201 Westlake in a good position when it comes online in 2009.

“We’re seeing significant demand from new users,” Healey said.

Vulcan has been emphasizing sustainable development, constructing buildings that are easy on the environment, and sees sustainability as a way to differentiate itself in the market.

The lower energy costs also mean that Vulcan can charge tenants less.

“The market relative to three years ago is much more aware of the benefits of high-performance environments,” she said.



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