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Seattle City Councilmember Sally J. Clark applauds new applicant to City’s Living Building Challenge

Councilmember Sally J. Clark

Seattle City Councilmember Sally J. Clark applauds new applicant to City’s Living Building Challenge

Seattle – The City of Seattle created the Living Building Challenge in 2010 as a three-year pilot program to motivate construction of environmentally sustainable buildings.  In exchange for meeting a series of strict, internationally-set environmental standards, developers, architects and property owners are given a limited set of departures from the City’s land-use code, including possible increases in height and mass.

The Cascadia Center, under way on Capitol Hill and future home to the Bullitt Foundation, applied first to the program. A second applicant, Skanska, approached the City’s Department of Planning and Development this summer.

Councilmember Sally J. Clark, Chair of the Committee on Built Environment said, “Seattle is recognized as a national leader in green building because our development community recognizes the market and earth value of sustainability.  Full viability, though, means leases. I’m delighted Skanska and Brooks team up to make Seattle’s first Living Building with a commercial tenant.”

Skanska began community-based design review of their building proposal earlier this fall. Their current design shows elements that would require amendments to the Living Building Challenge pilot program design standards.

An analysis of the environmental impacts, conducted by the Department of Planning and Development, was appealed earlier this month. That appeal will be heard by the City’s Hearing Examiner in November. Depending upon the Hearing Examiner’s decision, City Council could take up review of the proposed amendments in January.

Councilmember Clark added, “If proposed changes to the Living Building Challenge standards come to City Council it will be our job to review the arguments for the changes and to understand the trade-offs for the surrounding community. That will involve careful work to ensure a fair review for all parties.”

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