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.