Brooks Sports will move to Wallingford

Brooks Sports, a manufacturer of running shoes, apparel and gear announced today that it will move its global headquarters from Bothell to the new Skanska development at 3400 Stone Way. According to the press release:

With a move-in date slated for late 2013, Brooks Sports, Inc.—parent company to Brooks and Moving Comfort—will occupy roughly 80,000 usable square feet of the 120,000-square-foot building, which is located across the street from Seattle’s popular Burke-Gilman Trail. The ground floor of the new Brooks headquarters building will also house the brands’ first ever retail concept shop.

‘We have an incredible opportunity to create a new home for our leading performance brands that exemplifies who we are and ingrains us in the local running community,’ said Jim Weber, president and CEO of Brooks Sports, Inc. ‘Brooks’ mission is to inspire people to run and be active, and it’s our hope that we become a welcoming trailhead along the Burke-Gilman Trail. We believe runners, walkers and others will gather at Brooks to meet friends, start their workouts and celebrate a good run.’

Recently named to Outside magazine’s fourth annual ‘Best Places to Work’ list, Brooks Sports, Inc., is experiencing double-digit, year-over-year growth. In the running category, Brooks passed all competitors to take the No. 1 market share position in specialty running—a leadership shift that hasn’t occurred in more than 15 years. Sports bra and women’s fitness apparel brand Moving Comfort holds the No. 1 market share position for sports bra sales in this critical and influential retail channel.

Lisa Picard, executive vice president of Skanska USA Commercial is also quoted:

‘We are excited to have found a community and a tenant, whose company aligns so well with ours and the deep green strategies planned for this building,’ said Lisa Picard, executive vice president of Skanska USA Commercial Development’s Seattle office. ‘All of us are committed to vibrant placemaking within our urban communities.’

And Mayor Mike McGinn:

‘Brooks Sports’ decision to locate in Seattle means 300 new jobs. That’s a big deal for us right now. It shows that Seattle has what it takes to attract significant new investment even in these tough economic times,’ said Mayor McGinn. ‘And Skanska’s response to the Seattle Living Building Pilot Program is evidence of regulatory reform facilitating job creation in Seattle. This is a win for business and a win for Seattle.’

But not everybody is cheering for the new project because of Skanska’s proposed amendment to the zoning law to allow an increase in height limit of the building from 45 feet to 65 feet (plus an additional 15 feet of roof top features). Today’s Seattle Times quotes both Picard and Wallingford Community Council president Lee Raaen discussing different sides of the proposed amendment. The Wallingford Community Council filed an appeal on the Stone Way project which Lee wrote about at length here on October 10.

What are your thoughts, Wallingford?


  1. brady said,

    I am for it primarily due to the sustainability of the project, the great tenant, the jobs coming to the neighborhood, and the buffer it is creating around the transfer station. I am ok with the added building height because of everything else it brings to the table.

    Thu, October 20 at 2:14 pm
  2. Charlie Brashears said,

    That is awesome news! I love the shoe and the company sounds great. As for the zoning it does not sound too nutty as long as the rooftop features are tasteful. The zymogenetics bldg is a great example of going higher but still looking good.

    Thu, October 20 at 2:26 pm
  3. Junipero said,

    This is a fantastic development (literally and figuratively) for the neighborhood. I live pretty close by and think 300 new jobs is nothing short of a godsend. It will spur the development of more local businesses and will help keep other places that are already there in business. It’s a bit scary to think some people are so selfish that they would prioritize their views over people getting jobs and keeping community businesses open.

    Thu, October 20 at 4:16 pm
  4. clea said,

    I would love to have Brooks in our neighborhood. Considering that the building is located next to the dump, I don’t know why people are complaining so much about it. Point is that this is an industrial area on Stone Way anyway, not right next to somebody’s residential bungalow home.

    Thu, October 20 at 4:54 pm
  5. Matt Lerner said,

    300 jobs plus a living building where an old Subway used to be? Sounds awesome!

    This is in a commercial/industrial part of Wallingford so the increased height shouldn’t bother anyone.

    Big win for us in Wallingford!

    Thu, October 20 at 5:10 pm
  6. sunshine said,

    win for Seattle.

    Thu, October 20 at 5:55 pm
  7. Kate Howe said,

    I think that sounds like a great project to showcase sustainability — I like that it is a redevelopment, and making better use of a pretty blighted spot. It would be great if they could reduce their parking requirements because of the access to the burke-gilman trail.

    I like the project because it provides a project that is built to last 100 years rather than the typical 40 years with cheap siding and finishes – (which many of the new lower density lowrise townhouses are). That is an durable type of building that we would be happy to have in our community – if they need an extra floor to cover those costs — so be it. We need to start thinking about how to get development here in the City rather than in the exurbs.

    Thu, October 20 at 6:29 pm
  8. Jo Saltmarsh said,

    Sounds like a great sustainable project. Bring it on!

    Thu, October 20 at 7:27 pm
  9. Miss Ruby said,

    So exciting! What a coup for Seattle and Fremont/Wallingford!!

    Thu, October 20 at 7:30 pm
  10. publican said,

    While the living building aspect of the project is admirable and Brooks is a great company, I am quite concerned with the scale of the proposed bldng at that location. Nothing around it is zoned as high or will likely ever come close to the height of this building. It will take up the entire parcel between 34th and 35th and possibly reach as high as 80 feet with the rooftop features. As someone pointed out at the North Seattle Design Review meeting, building a building for a specific tenant isn’t an optimal idea and that’s exactly what is happening here. The extra height is because Brooks needs it. What happens when they decide to move to South Lake Union or anywhere else? You only have to look a block away at the empty Institute for Systems Biology building to find out. This entire process has felt rushed and not transparent. The word Green seems to bend rules in Seattle and I think that if we take a little time, a good compromise can be reached that will satisfy the builder, future tenant and neighborhood.

    Thu, October 20 at 7:54 pm
  11. Bryon said,

    LOVE the idea!!!! So it’s 10′ taller – what’s magic about the other height? If that’s all they need, it’s a no brainer. Can’t wait to see it done.

    Thu, October 20 at 9:05 pm
  12. Jen Good said,

    Alas! Energy on that dead site and I’ve been waiting for years. Wow! brooks is an amazing grab. 10 feet more? Are you kidding me? Next to the dump, you can have 30 feet. This is such an innocuous location to create amazing community for wallyhood.

    What do we need to support this project!????

    Thu, October 20 at 9:14 pm
  13. Toby Thaler said,

    Please remember, this is not just a Wallingford issue. The site is in the Fremont Urban Village. Fremonsters recognize it’s in South Wallingford, but we have an interest as well; what happens there impacts our neighborhood too.

    FNC board is still figuring out what formal or public position (if any) to take. If you live in the urban village or Fremont proper (i.e., west of Stone), you are our constituents. We will be considering the project at our meeting Monday, Oct. 24th, at the Doric Masonic Temple, 619 N 36th St, between Fremont and Evanston (south side).

    Thu, October 20 at 9:44 pm
  14. Donn said,

    Lee Raaen/Wallingford Community Council presented the issues with this in a clear and detailed article, linked above, and lots of discussion ensued. It’s still there. There’s no guarantee at all that this building will actually be green, let alone “create amazing community” or “revitalize” an already vital business area.

    Thu, October 20 at 9:44 pm
  15. Brian said,

    This is a great project for Lower Wallingford. The zoning height on 34th just two blocks to the west is already 65 feet and a number of tall buildings exist there. This particular property is on a bus route, literally across the street from one of the best bicycle routes in the country, and as others have mentioned, is next to a dump. There are no homes immediately nearby. It’s hard to imagine a better use for this property.

    Thu, October 20 at 11:00 pm
  16. KTC said,

    I’m one of the many residents of Wallingford who welcome a green building. We just simply ask that it’s kept to current zoning: 45 feet. We’re not asking for anything special – just that it’s kept to code.

    A 65-foot building with 15+ feet of rooftop features would tower over neighboring buildings with nothing to anchor it. No immediate hillsides or other buildings.

    The City and neighbors gave careful thought and time into planning the zoning of this neighborhood. The City Council should not allow a special exception for one project especially one that is a block from the lake where it will have a significant impact on this neighborhood.

    Again, a 45-foot building is completely welcome!

    Thu, October 20 at 11:38 pm
  17. Ralph said,

    I don’t know where Byron and Jen are getting their extra 10 feet. With HVAC systems on the roof it will be closer to thirty feet. Green building or no don’t you think that’s a little out of scale?

    The buildup of Stoneway is inevitable. What concerns me is parking. Sure, the building will have underground parking but if the parking is metered, guess what, the occupants will park on the streets. Bastyr University has had a huge impact on lower Wallingford and more development will bring more parking pressure. Parking garage,anyone?

    Fri, October 21 at 8:12 am
  18. Elaine said,

    Extra height is to meet the LBC goals, not because Brooks needs it (though retail is key for all). I’ve been very impressed with Skanksa’s response to concerns they’ve heard at neighborhood meetings – nothing is final yet, I know we can get to something great in that spot!

    Fri, October 21 at 8:51 am
  19. DOUG. said,

    Sounds like a decent project. Hopefully the design has some imagination. Capitol Hill’s new 65′ buildings on Broadway are too cavernous for that street.

    Fri, October 21 at 9:54 am
  20. Maggie said,

    People, don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.

    While the height might not be ideal, I believe the cutting-edge green building is a positive for the neighborhood. Be willing to stretch your boundaries to accommodate innovation.

    Also, 300 jobs – people will want to live close to work, and that’s good news for property values.

    Imho, it’s well worth the trade-off. A little flexibility and compromise is good for everyone.

    Fri, October 21 at 11:51 am
  21. Jack said,

    Indeed, Maggie.

    Fri, October 21 at 12:07 pm
  22. Nancy M said,

    It’s all in the (promised and rewarded) green details. Let’s hear what they are in detail and the details of how they will remain with the project from inception to completion. Same goes for detailed height deets (exactly what stuff will be on top of how many floors). The Seattle Public School District was incredibly not forthcoming about such matters during the Hamilton-at-Hamilton construction project (proposing to dig unnecessary “green” wells on park property, making “mistakes” about equipment types and heights on the roof, installing lights that needed months of attention from DPD to get shielded and neighborhood-friendly).
    Beware of greenwashing to get whatiswanteding.

    Fri, October 21 at 12:08 pm
  23. prop3 said,

    Green building or not, Brooks is a great company and this is an awesome project. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

    Fri, October 21 at 12:45 pm
  24. Gregf said,

    It is my understanding that overall height would be 85 feet including the mechanical penthouse. This would be placed at the base of Stone Way, on a property about as close to the lake as is available. Consider mitigating the design to avoid creating a wall between the city views and the rest of the neighborhood and neighboring properties. Sketches in the newspaper showed a building that overhangs the sidewalk rather than stepping back to keep views available to uphill properties. There should be no reason for waiving SEPA on a project, green or no, that is in such a key location and can adversely impact views for two neighborhoods – Wallingford and Fremont.

    Fri, October 21 at 12:58 pm
  25. iyqtoo said,

    Ditto what Maggie said.

    Fri, October 21 at 2:58 pm
  26. Christine Rousseau said,

    Too bad the building will be so high – this will change our neighborhood for the worse. On behalf of the neighborhood, I request that you keep the building height in the same range as current buildings in the area or move somewhere else.

    Fri, October 21 at 3:00 pm
  27. Chuck said,

    Sorry Christine, you can’t speak on behalf of the neighborhood.

    A lot of us are absolutely in favor of the project.

    Fri, October 21 at 3:25 pm
  28. prop3 said,

    Is it just me, or does it seem like it’s always the same handful of people that oppose any kind of project? Is anything other than the status quo ever going to be good enough? It’s fine to oppose change. Certainly not all change is good. But it’s something else entirely to attempt to crush the life out of a project with an endless list of complaints and wants.

    Fri, October 21 at 3:30 pm
  29. Nancy M said,

    Chuck, prop3: would you be in favor of this building if it wasn’t green? Fair enough either way BUT if they say it is “green”, “green” needs to be defined and not just greenwashing talking points to make trade-offs with existing code. Lots of professionals chime in here, speaking from experience. Were this a facilitated “conversation” it would be another matter, more like reaching for consensus (a problem with all blogs to my mind). I am not for it or against it, it is premature, but I am for transparency and mitigation and ideas like stepping back the building.

    Fri, October 21 at 3:47 pm
  30. Donn said,

    Where’s the endless list of complaints and wants?

    Complaint no. 1: 20 feet higher than zone allows, and then some.

    Complaint no. 2: ?

    This isn’t about change. If Planning & Design wanted change, they would be talking about changing the height constraints. But they aren’t, the height limit stays at 45 feet – for everyone else.

    Fri, October 21 at 3:52 pm
  31. prop3 said,

    Nancy, I’d be in favor of it even if it wasn’t “green”. If it has legit green elements beyond the usual LEED nonsense (e.g., uses less energy than buildings of similar size), then so much the better.

    Fri, October 21 at 3:55 pm
  32. Chuck said,

    Thanks for asking Nancy,

    I am in favor of something happening in this space. An asphalt parking lot is the absolute worst use of space in a city, and this particular one next to our dump is no exception.
    This building is going to house a local company and move jobs from the suburbs to the neighborhood – and not contribute to regional sprawl.
    Do the green elements need to be further defined? Yep. But ANY green elements at all will be an improvement.
    I am for in-city density in our neighborhoods, and bringing jobs back into the city after 30-some years of suburban flight is a good thing.

    I’m not thrilled about the height, but as someone pointed out there are taller buildings just 2 blocks to the west.

    For me it’s about compromise, something that is sorely missing in any public discourse and decision making. I will compromise extra height for replacing this parking lot with what COULD be a great building.

    Fri, October 21 at 4:40 pm
  33. Michael H. said,

    I too would be in favor of a taller building here even if it didn’t meet the “Living Building” standards, although I think those are a nice bonus. Bringing 300 jobs into the neighborhood from Bothell is the real environmental benefit. That’s 300 people who won’t be forced to drive. Taller building = more jobs.

    Fri, October 21 at 6:32 pm
  34. publican said,

    @prop3 – It doesn’t seem like anyone is trying to crush the life out of this project. The majority of the people who have written in comments on this article and the prior Wallyhood post have expressed great support for the living building idea. The concern has been the height exemptions and the question has been whether the project can be worked on creatively so the additional height isn’t necessary. It’s important for people to speak up and express their opinions when corporations or government make plans. That’s what the public process is for and comments and opinions on any side, if couched respectfully, need to be treated respectfully.

    Fri, October 21 at 6:33 pm
  35. Eric said,

    I believe that 200 of those jobs already exist at Brooks, so perhaps those people will have to be commuting in from Bothell…

    Fri, October 21 at 6:40 pm
  36. burg said,

    What is interesting to me is all of the new development and redevelopment going on on Stone Way. With this project, the former pit, and all of the new businesses (What’s going in where Post Tool used to be?) that have located along Stone it is becoming a destination in and of itself. I’m concerned about the traffic and I’m a little concerned that existing businesses along this corridor that actually sell things I need (plumbing, hardware, paint) may be priced out if this area gets too popular. The height is an issue too, but overall I’m on the side that this is a good thing.

    Fri, October 21 at 7:27 pm
  37. Couch Potato(e) said,

    Any word on what’s to become of the Fitness Zone?

    Fri, October 21 at 8:35 pm
  38. Jen Good said,

    Bumped into the young, excited brooks employees (50 or so) doing a pub crawl in Fremont Friday night to connect with their new community. So cool. I hope Fremont Brewery starts to increase production.

    Sat, October 22 at 8:47 am
  39. TRW said,

    If by post tool you mean the old Hard Hat Tool building just to the north of this project, it is being redeveloped by Evo Properties into a restaurant/workspace/event space. Further evidence of a changing lower Stone Way.

    Sat, October 22 at 10:05 am
  40. Ryan said,

    Evo has done some innovative work in Freemont/Ballard, it will be exciting to see what they do with the Hart Hat Tool Building.

    Sat, October 22 at 10:39 am
  41. Ralph said,

    If we don’t question the project the developers build what they want not necessarily what might fit in the community. It helps both the community and the developer to ask hard questions.

    Sat, October 22 at 11:43 am
  42. Ralph said,

    I would speculate that those 200+ employees are living in or around Bothell and don’t plan on relocating. Cars, cars, cars

    Sat, October 22 at 12:03 pm
  43. cata said,

    I am bothered that the comments onthe 5 story building coming ar enot open to enter.
    Did anyone notice that the Omm Yung Doom building which had a sign for almost 2 years about proposed chang ein building now has a chain link fence around i tan di sapparently closed. SO more new work.
    How tall will this one be/
    What precedents have we set?
    When will the meetings be? or is this all slipped in under our noses?

    Sat, October 22 at 12:09 pm
  44. cata said,

    we want 45 feet buildings and keep parking lots .

    Sat, October 22 at 12:11 pm
  45. Nancy M said,
    Can a building be green without street trees for esthetics and passive solar? That square-footage-increasing overhang is problematic.

    Sat, October 22 at 12:12 pm
  46. cata said,

    no forget it brooks
    traffic, no problem
    tall buildings.. the mor ethe merrier
    overhangs of concrete.. yeha way to go
    more concrete.. thats progrewss
    that means green painted concrete

    the emperors robe is grand!

    Sat, October 22 at 5:50 pm
  47. Al Dimond said,


    … where by “it” I mean our outdated, fear-based zoning code. The things we like in this city didn’t get that way by their neighbors planning them into existence.

    If it doesn’t get built tall here it’ll get built wide in some sprawled-out single-use office park.

    Sat, October 22 at 11:13 pm
  48. Linda in Seattle said,

    Listened carefully at the WCC meeting to the repeated declaration by Skanska that the current image of the building is a maximum, not the “carved” and “pared-back” building that will be designed following public comment. The building has to pencil out and be a good neighbor, and Brooks as an anchor tenant in a sustainably green building seems to offer both.

    Sun, October 23 at 3:38 pm
  49. KTC said,

    It’s interesting that Skanska said that they can only do a Living Building if it’s 65 feet (that’s 20 feet above current zoning). And both Brooks and Skanska have said that this project is going forward. And going forward as a Living Building.

    The only way that can happen is if the City passes pending legislation to allow the zoning exception. The City Council has not yet held hearings for the public to provide input on that legislation. Why is it then that Skanska and Brooks are talking so difinitively about this building before the voices of the neighborhood have been heard? Has democracy been set aside in this process?

    Green is great but even more important is a transparent, fair and honest process…

    Sun, October 23 at 9:32 pm
  50. Neighbor To You said,

    Regarding the process, I’m unclear on the sequence. Is there is both a Council legislative process (related to the zoning) as well as an appeal regarding the design?

    It’s good to see the discussion here being mostly civil and fact-based as that’s a great platform for sharing the diverse perspectives of our neighborhood. I appreciate hearing the multiple viewpoints expressed about this project. So thanks for keeping the discussion going…it really helps for staying informed!

    Mon, October 24 at 6:42 am
  51. Donn said,

    According to the Times article, the City Council needs to approve an amendment to the living building pilot program, that allows the planners to award the extra 10 feet (beyond the extra 10 feet they already get, so it’s a 20 foot bonus for privileged customers.)

    That amendment also may be subject to SEPA review – the department “announced” that it isn’t, but the Wallingford Community Council appealed that.

    The department says they’re coming back for comments from neighbors at least one more time, according to the KOMO article.

    The development is presumably subject to Design Review, once it has actually been designed.

    So, yes, it was a little disingenuous for Brooks and the mayor’s office to announce they’re moving here, without any acknowledgement of the little difficulties standing in the way of this yet to be designed building. As PR, it seems to be effective in a way – see the difference in comments to this Wallyhood entry, vs. the earlier one that didn’t make it sound like such a done deal? But I suppose it’s realistic, too, since the city holds all the cards.

    Mon, October 24 at 8:21 am
  52. Elaine said,

    The design review process is rigorous…the project had an early design guidance meeting in October, another is scheduled for 11/21. It’s a separate (although related, obviously) process than the SEPA review/appeal pending for granting the option for additional height. Even if the additional height option is granted by the City, the project still needs to defend that need and design to the design review board.

    I hear good arguments on both sides of this, and agree that it’s still too early to know what the building will look like or how it will accommodate the neighbors concerns.

    Mon, October 24 at 8:59 am
  53. Toby Thaler said,

    Elaine: The design review (DR) process might be “rigorous” but it is neither comprehensive nor coherent. Confirmed by the SEPA appeal of the DR process for the original QFC Stone Way project just up the street (decision in MUP-03-047, March 1, 2004), environmental and off site transportation impacts are considered separately by DPD (and hopefully SDOT). The DRB review doesn’t deal with anything except the design aspects, including height bulk and scale (HBS).

    The real kicker is that for SEPA purposes, HBS is presumed to be adequately addressed in DR. This “presumption may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence that height, bulk and scale impacts documented through environmental review have not been adequately mitigated.” SMC 25.05.6759(G)(2)(c). Has a DRB decision ever been overturned on height bulk and scale issues in a SEPA (or any other) appeal? I’m not aware of any such cases.

    Mon, October 24 at 10:03 am
  54. Tom Mattausch said,

    As a Fremont resident, I love everything about it EXCEPT the height: **too tall!**
    Skanska needs to play by the rules. Don’t harm development by blocking other lots views. Keep it within zoning, not 35 feet over!

    What mockups are available so we can actually see what we’re talking about? I made this:

    This building/block I pasted into Google Maps is 65′ tall, and not adjusted to fit the landscape, which I believe leaves 8 feet of it underground at the northern end, effectively 57′ tall. Presumably the structure would be 65′ relative to the ground at all points, plus the additional rooftop structures which could bring it close to 80′, so you **must keep that in mind.** I am not a professional CG designer, I’ve just used Sketchup for some art installation and fountain mockups.

    Also, the street level view of the building seems to *greatly underrepresent* the height. That image seems to only represent about a 35-foot tall building if you compare to the surroundings. The others I believe are more accurate.

    Tue, October 25 at 2:58 pm
  55. Toby Thaler said,

    Tom Mattausch: I appreciate your comment about the height, and the effort you went to make some simulations of impact. However, your figures do not accurately reflect the building envelope as currently proposed (and the pictures do not show the Aurora bridge properly). Skanska brought some drawings to FNC meeting last evening and the building has been set back substantially from Stone Way, and as I recall there are set backs on 34th and 35th, as well as a significant step-back at top of third floor (45 feet?).

    At the meeting last night, I repeated my request that Skanska produce and share visual simulations showing what the building would do to views in the area. Your figures are from the air and do not give a good sense of what people will actually see, for example, from the corner of 35th and Ashworth or 35th and Woodlawn. On the Fremont side, what’s the closest residential block, 3500 Woodland Park? What’s the impact there? Will some units in buildings on 34th and 35th west of Albion be affected?

    Tue, October 25 at 4:18 pm
  56. Toby Thaler said,

    Correction–Your first simulation drawing, from Stone above and across 35th, clearly is from the ground. Sorry; didn’t mean to misrepresent what you’ve done.

    Tue, October 25 at 4:21 pm
  57. Tom Mattausch said,

    Toby Thaler: yes it is from the ground, but not all that accurate. Skanska surely has renderings of the design in situ for their own purposes, I agree they must share them.

    Tue, October 25 at 4:48 pm
  58. DOUG. said,

    Tom: Your mock-ups are missing a TON of relevant detail, which distorts the relative height of the proposed Brooks building. For instance, the Aurora Bridge does not float on Lake Union, it is 167 feet tall. And you do not show the large buildings (5 or 6 stories) that are just two blocks west of Stone on 34th.

    Tue, October 25 at 5:32 pm
  59. Tom Mattausch said,

    Doug: Absolutely. It’s just the view from Google Maps. But until Skanska shows us their mockup, we’ve got to look at something.
    There are some images on pgs. 20-23 in their “early Design Guidance” from a month ago, but scale and how high the camera is are not clear.

    Tue, October 25 at 5:50 pm
  60. protected static said,

    I notice that proponents keep talking about these huge buildings that are ‘two blocks away.’ This is slightly disingenuous, as those blocks are large and irregularly-shaped due to topography – it’s more like 3 or 4 blocks away. Those buildings are also right under the bridge, and are at the bottom of a steep slope – they fit in with their surroundings much better than the tallest Brooks proposal will. The Brooks site is shallower and more exposed relative to its surroundings than the Fremont sites that are built in the shadow of the bridge and its supporting hillsides.

    I’m not necessarily against the project – but I have reservations. I’ve liked some of Skanska’s other green projects; I guess I wish I had a better idea as to what exactly they were proposing here. Some of their hypothetical designs would just crush that block and really dominate that corner, while others would be far more harmonious.

    Tue, October 25 at 9:02 pm
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