9th & Stewart Life Sciences Building

File Type: Free Content, Case study
Release Date: January 2005
9th and Stewart Life Sciences Building

Fast Facts

Address: Seattle, WA
Company/Developer: Touchstone Corporation
General Contractor: Lease Crutcher Lewis
Property Type: Life Sciences
Square Feet: 215,000 square feet
Height: 11 stories

Building Description: This rigid concrete and steel building features 15’ floor-to- ceiling heights and column spacing designed for lab module use; space designed for up to 15–20 air changes per hour; chiller space capacity for up to 2,100 tons; and three passenger elevators plus one dedicated freight elevator with a 5,000 lb. load capacity.


Located in downtown Seattle’s rapidly growing Denny Triangle neighborhood, the 9th & Stewart Life Sciences Building merges the practical with the desirable—blending environmental considerations with creative solutions that enhance both the project’s overall value and continued efficiency. The 11-story, 215,000-square-foot biotechnology research and development building includes 212,000 square feet of rentable lab and office space, secured parking for 200 cars and 4,000 square feet of ground-level retail space.

Named NAIOP Washington State Chapter’s 2004 Technology Building of the Year and 2004 Real Estate Deal of the Year, and SIOR’s 2004 Office Development of the Year, this project is a candidate for the Silver LEED Core and Shell rating as a pilot project—a rare accolade for a commercial building.

Bucking Economic Trends

As an independent, regional developer, Touchstone Corporation bucked development trends—an economic downturn and high vacancy rates—to build green. They landed a 15-year lease with Glaxo Smith Kline (formerly Corixa Corporation) for 65 percent of the building’s rentable space.

By planning energy-efficient features early in the design phase, Touchstone was able to incorporate them at greatly reduced cost. They also received financial incentives from Seattle City Light and BetterBricks, an initiative of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. Currently leased at 75 percent, Touchstone projects a return on investment of $1–$2 per square foot on operating expenses.

Green Features

Sustainable Sites

  • Bicycle storage and changing rooms.
  • Refueling stations.
  • Accessibility to more than 30 bus routes within a two-block radius.
  • Parking fully within the building footprint to reduce heat islands.
  • Above-grade parking that reduces energy use through natural ventilation.
  • A landscaped rooftop to reduce head islands.
  • Environment-enhancing landscape design.
exterior view of 9th and Stewart Life Sciences Building

All photography by Ben Benschnider, 2004.

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • A permanent air quality monitoring system.
  • Use of low VOC adhesives, sealants, paints and carpet.
  • No smoking during construction phase.
  • Hazard chemical areas separated from tenant-occupied areas.
  • Ample daylight in interior spaces.
  • Two rooftop decks.

Water Efficiency

  • A water use reduction system that uses 45 percent less water than a typical building.
  • A “dolphin” cooling tower that uses microwave technology to kill bacteria and prevent corrosion and uses less water than conventional systems.
  • Waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, low-flow faucets with sensors and high efficiency irrigation.
exterior view of 9th and Stewart Life Sciences Building

Exterior with view of Seattle’s Space needle

Energy and Atmosphere

  • Regenerative elevators that produce electricity with every trip, reducing elevator energy use by 30 percent.
  • Zero CFC-based refrigerants in HVAC, refrigeration and fire suppression equipment.
  • A highly efficient chiller system and an innovative floor-by-floor air handling system that allows optimal configuration of individual tenant spaces.
  • Energy-efficient lighting fixtures with sophisticated controls.
  • A contract with a wind-power provider to provide 50 percent of the building’s electricity over the next two years.

Materials and Resources

  • More than 75 percent of construction debris recycled.
  • Use of recycled materials in pre-cast concrete panels and window systems.