Coming up on its 100th anniversary, the Smith Tower is getting new life. In foreclosure and nearly vacant a year ago, it's now nearly two-thirds full.
"It really is coming back to life. Many people familiar with Smith Tower history know it's had its ups and downs," said Smith Tower marketer, Cate Chase.
Ups and downs are a draw at the tower, with historic elevators still manned by uniformed operators. And the old mail drop is still in use.
The second floor office, which had been empty for five years, will be the new home of Pacific Telecom.
Taking over the 4th and 5th floors last month is Projectline, a marketing and social media firm. The CEO picked Smith Tower over high-tech hub, South Lake Union.
"It's got character. It's an impressive space and everybody appreciates the look, style and feel," said Projectline CEO Mike Kichline.
The geek boom is spreading from the tower through Pioneer Square.
With lower rents than South Lake Union, there is a tech renaissance in Pioneer Square.
Commercial realtor Bryan Rush with Colliers International developed a tech map of Pioneer Square, showing dozens of start-ups dotting the historic area.
"Architectural firms, digital marketing firms, media firms. Not necessarily tech, but they are creative," said Rush.
Pioneer Square now has a 14 percent vacancy rate compared to a 5 percent vacancy rate in South Lake Union.