Project Category: Rebuilding our Public Infrastructure
Organization Name: Pacific Tower
Organization Website: http://pactower.org
1200 12th Avenue South
Seattle, Washington 98144
Project Cost: $54,300,000
The Pacific Tower is a national historic landmark building erected in 1932. Dedicated that year as the region’s US Public Health Service Hospital, it stayed primarily as a teaching hospital and community clinic until 1998. The majority of the building was then commercially leased to Amazon.com until 2011 while a community clinic remained on the ground floor. In 2013 with no prospect of a commercial tenant, the state of Washington master leased the Tower for the purpose of establishing a community health innovation hub. Seattle Central College became the anchor tenant operating a Health Careers Education Center and partnering with eleven co-located non-profit tenants. As a center of innovation in community health, the Tower now operates a twenty chair dental education clinic and numerous career training programs for low-income individuals, such as FareStart. The state appropriated $20M before the rehabilitation plans were drawn up and the project team scrambled to assemble the additional $36M needed to renovate the iconic tower from top to bottom. Combining NMTC and HTC tax credit financing with philanthropic fundraising and energy conservation grants, the building was renovated in record time with tenants being phased in as rehabilitation proceeded floor by floor. The development team combined a GC/CM as well as an Energy Savings Performance Contractor in an innovative design/build partnership.
Current Status: Completed on-time, on-budget and 100% leased.
Community Needs Addressed:
This neighborhood in Seattle combines proximity to Yesler Terrace, a large low-income housing project, the multi-cultural International District and a collection of homeless encampments with a nearby hub of major hospitals and healthcare clinics. It has a high concentration of first-generation immigrants and low-income residents. Project sponsors both serve the low-income, multicultural neighborhood and train low income residents for careers in healthcare. Recognizing a largely unmet need for free or low-cost dental care, the college and NeighborCare agreed to establish a 20 chair working clinic that also serves as a training center for dental hygienists and assistants. The commercial kitchen operated by FareStart prepares over 30,000 free or low-cost lunches for Seattle childcare centers and elementary schools, but also trains formerly homeless and disadvantaged individuals for employment. Seattle Jobs Initiative matches low-income residents with career training programs and career navigators to help them reach self-sustaining job placement.
Benefits and outcome:
The co-location of healthcare service providers, career training providers and community development organizations has made it possible to serve thousands of low-income residents with low-cost health services while training hundreds of healthcare providers and low-income individuals every year. The project has renovated an iconic historic landmark whose brick façade was badly in need of repair and leaking water, as well as seismically reinforcing the building. It is the first rehabbed building to meet the city’s new, stringent energy performance code and is serving as a teaching model for building professionals on energy conservation measures.
Project partners and collaborators:
This project brought together the Washington Dept. of Commerce, Seattle Central College, the city of Seattle and King County, Seattle City Light and the public development authority which owns the facility to plan and finance in record time the $54 million renovation. Tenants who helped in planning the innovation center’s programming and design include NeighborCare Health, Pacific Medical Clinics, FareStart, 501 Commons and the Smart Building Center, a joint project of the US Dept. of Energy and Washington State. The development team included Mortenson Construction and McKinstry and our lead architect was Schreiber, Starling and Whitehead.
What makes your project unique?
In 2013, the Pacific Tower was on the brink of conversion to high-end condominiums. Given its long history of service to public health, the project sponsors scrambled to secure a long term lease well in advance of knowing how much it would cost, much less having the funds to renovate the aging structure. An initial state capital appropriation of $20 million had to be leveraged. A coalition quickly formed of project advocates, Seattle Central College as the anchor tenant and the WA Dept. of Commerce to forge a compelling vision and raise the funds. Tax credit financing was a critical means of leveraging the state funds, but the state’s prohibition against lending of the state’s credits required creativity and innumerable hours of negotiation to arrange. Unprecedented philanthropic contributions from the Gates Foundation, Boeing, Delta Dental and other local partners made it possible to build out training facilities specific to eleven different tenants and multiple career training programs. From a commitment of the anchor tenant to just 42% of the 205,000 sf, the team was able by project completion to fully lease out the building and raise $34 million in supplemental funding.
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