Could repurposing, renewing & reconnecting a single office tower revitalize downtown Seattle? These two companies think so.

On June 16, 2021, EQ Office unveiled the redevelopment of U.S. Bank Center (USBC) in what promises to be one of the largest and most anticipated repurposing of an office building in downtown Seattle, Washington.

Most folks who are aware of the powerful 3Re strategy for revitalization think of it purely as a community strategy. But this office tower project shows how repurposing, renewing and reconnecting (the three “re”s) can be applied to individual buildings in order to boost local revitalization.

USBC’s street level experience will be dramatically redesigned. What was previously a confusing ground floor will be replaced with a clear and inviting arrival experience that will engage guests the moment they enter with a series of hospitality driven spaces. This investment into the fabric of Seattle recognizes the need for revitalization that’s based on dynamic experiences within the community that preserve a northwest culture.

EQ first announced the purchase of USBC in June 2019 and initiated construction in February 2021, with completion scheduled in early 2023. EQ has a history of successfully transforming iconic properties, including The Exchange in Seattle and Willis Tower in Chicago. EQ is also actively revamping its other Seattle assets, Docusign Tower at 999 Third and 800 Fifth.

Our repositioning of USBC comes at a critical moment in the re-shaping of work and work places. I have always loved this building, its location, its presence, and bones and felt it deserved a new orientation, narrative and energy,” said Lisa Picard, EQ Office CEO.

The largest employers in the region continue to reinforce an ‘office centric’ culture to support their innovation and growth and they really demand environments that pull people back. Together with Blackstone, we are committed to making significant investments in our buildings to help the city’s most innovative companies attract and retain their talent, while amenitizing public areas for the benefit of the community,” she added.

Key features will include:

  • Open-Air Central Hall: Known as Cedar Hall, the three-story volumed space along Fifth Avenue will be home to national, regional, local retail and food and beverage partners, with an emphasis on homegrown, Seattle-born businesses;
  • Reimagined Public Experience: Inspired by Scandinavian train stations with a Pacific Northwest ethos, the re-designed lobby and amenity spaces will offer Seattleites a place to gather, ponder and spend time together; and
  • Curated Local Art: USBC will pull from the original vision of the building and offer re-installation of some of the building’s original pieces as well as newly curated art, inspiring a renewed interest in local creative talent.

The extent of the reposition is a significant and inspiring undertaking,” said Kyle Gaffney, founder of Seattle-based SkB Architects.

EQ’s vision to drive humanity into the workplace and belief that urban office towers can offer more to a city beyond typical office hours is enlightening. It will create an exceptional and unique experience that will re-energize the building’s next chapter. As a former tenant myself, I knew the building’s challenges and saw its opportunities. By breaking its scale down to the pedestrian experience, introducing tactility, detail and a curated retail, we could enhance its role to support gathering and create a neighborhood destination for all,” he continued.

Designed with human reconnection at the core, the repurposed and renewed USBC hopes to act as a revitalizing central hub for art, culture, and retail.

Image courtesy of SkB Architects.

See EQ Office website.

See SkB Architects website.

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