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?


  • Donn

    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.

  • Elaine

    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.

  • Toby Thaler

    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.

  • Tom Mattausch

    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.

  • Toby Thaler

    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?

  • Toby Thaler

    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.

  • Tom Mattausch

    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.

  • DOUG.

    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.

  • Tom Mattausch

    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.

  • protected static

    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.

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