This post was written by Heather Snavely, a Wallingford resident and an employee of Brooks Sports, the running shoe company that will relocate to Wallingford once the 3400 Stone Way project is complete. Heather has lived in Wallingford since 2007 and has worked at Brooks since March 2011, and she asked if we could post her point-of-view about the Brooks relocation and the 3400 Stone Way project.

Several years ago, Cantinetta Italian restaurant opened in an unexpected place: the highly residential corner of 37th and Wallingford, just a block from my home. Before Cantinetta opened, there was concern among some community members. What hassles would this new neighbor bring? But, the owners of the restaurant made an effort to add to, not take away from, what makes Wallingford special.

Now, the well-reviewed restaurant is a gathering place for locals and a cornerstone of the Wallingford community. It changed our neighborhood for the better, and I’m certain that, like me, many people can’t imagine not having it on that corner.

At first glance, to compare Brooks Sports, Inc. and the 3400 Stone Way project to Cantinetta may seem outlandish. Brooks is a $300M corporation dedicated to creating performance running gear. Cantinetta is a small Italian restaurant. Cantinetta used existing space. Brooks hopes to build something new.

But at the heart of it, they are really quite similar.

Like Cantinetta, Brooks selected an unexpected place to build its new headquarters (a nearly empty lot at the corner of N 34th and Stone Way N); neighbors wonder how this new addition will impact our community; and, the company hopes to become a cornerstone of our neighborhood. In fact, it was this desire to make a long-lasting, positive impact that influenced Brooks selecting 3400 Stone Way over many other prospects. “Why 3400 Stone Way?” for Brooks it really comes down to three things:

One is the proximity to the Burke Gilman trail. More than anything, Brooks is “run happy”—dedicated to becoming a trailhead on the Burke, a gathering place for the active, outdoors community.

Two is the opportunity to grow into, not out of, a building. You see, once Brooks puts down roots, it has no plans to leave in the foreseeable future. They are investing in our neighborhood for the long haul.

Three is the ability to take root in a deep green building and rise to the challenge of maintaining that commitment. For Brooks, sustainability and environmental impact aren’t just buzz words. They are a vital part of the business strategy because these things are important to runners, and runners are who fuel Brooks.

Imagine what that stretch of 34th and Stone – now very industrial and disconnected – could look like in one, 10, even 20 years with Brooks’ positive influence. How will Brooks, with its dedication to inspiring people to be active and run happy, positively change how we interact with and enjoy the Burke?

As a Brooks employee, I – like many of my fellow employees—am ecstatic at the prospect of our new home in Seattle. It puts us closer than ever to runners and presents the added perk of empowering us to minimize our carbon footprint by working in the very community where many of us live, shop and run. We are excited to be thought leaders in green building practices.

As a Seattleite, I love the idea of a vibrant, thriving company moving to Seattle rather than the Eastside. It is a sign that Seattle is good for business and can only serve to bolster our local economy.

And as a Wallingford resident, I am thrilled not only with the idea of a running company in our backyard, but a company dedicated to staying in our backyard and helping us make our backyard even better.

Now is the time to rally together to show support for this project, to transform our neighborhood into something even more special and take the opportunity to grow together with Brooks, the same way we’ve done happily, successfully, and deliciously with Cantinetta.

  • Neighbor2You

    Hi, and thanks for the informative posts on this subject. And a question I hope someone can answer: I was under the impression that participating in the Living Building Pilot Program meant meeting a minimum of 60% of the “Living Building Challenge” prerequisites.

    Does the 70% being cited for Skanska relate to that standard or to something else?

    Thanks!

  • Miss Ruby

    oops, you’re right Neighbor – 60%.

  • Katherine

    To avoid fines, participants need to reach 60% of the criteria of Seattle Living Building Pilot Program. Skanska is aiming to meet 70%. Again, a city official within DPD wrote in an email that they were trying to impress upon Skanska that their goal should be to meet all of the criteria not just reach the bare minimum to avoid fines.

    For more information about the criteria, go to:
    http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/cms/groups/pan/@pan/@permits/documents/web_informational/dpdp018675.pdf

  • Miss Ruby

    I’m sure that the City, and all of us, would LOVE it if Skanska could hit 100%, but that’s different than implying that they won’t qualify if they hit the minimum required. The pilot project minimum is still very ambitious!

  • coolio

    so can they do a living building in a shorter building?
    Like, oh, say, within cutrrent and long developed standards? Without getting a variance?
    it could be so simple.

  • KTC

    That’s right, they could do their 70% of a living building within current zoning but it wouldn’t “pencil out” — they wouldn’t make enough profit to make it worth it to them. But, yes, wouldn’t it be nice if they stayed within the city’s long-developed standards OR relocate to a place that is more appropriate, onethat is already zoned for 65 feet.

  • coolio

    oh my godsakes KTC
    things are possible

  • JDM

    Wow, so a new beautiful building bringing a corporate HQ to our neighborhood is a travesty. What about some of the dumps here already. There is a house on Meridian that has a blue tarp on the roof and it’s been there almost two years!

    I am excited this is coming, some of Wallingford is charming, still a big chunk of it is a disaster. Projects like these help bring more customers in, more potential residential property buyers, etc. Everyone will benefit, just not the folks who start arguments with, “Remember when…”

    Wallingford is the next Magnolia or Madison Park, get over it, if you don’t like it, feel free to move, but you can’t stop it and there are plenty of people here who are happy it’s going that direction.

  • coolio

    a corporate HQ has intelligence to design a building within city restrictions.. its not just being agains tit.. its aobut the ‘better than’ attitude about getting restrictions overlooked

  • Abdul Alhazred

    Applicants must provide a .pdf file of their design proposals to DPD ten calendar days in advance of a board meeting.

    Download Design Proposal (49 pages)
    http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/AppDocs/GroupMeetings/DRProposal3012601AgendaID3523.pdf

    Northeast Design Review Board
    Project: 3400 Stone Way N map
    Report not yet available
    Design Proposal available (12.3 MB)
    Review Meeting: March 19, 2012
    Review Phase: Recommendation
    Project Number: 3012601 permit status
    Planner: Lisa Rutzick

    Note this is not the applican’ts website

  • brady

    can’t wait to have Brooks in the neighborhood!

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