New Seattle skyscraper also preserves city's history

A look at how much Seattle's skyline has changed in the last 40 years, and what's being done to preserve older buildings.

Seattle's newest and shiniest addition to the city skyline is an example of rapid growth and a unique relationship between new-age development and historic preservation.

The F5 Tower at 5th Avenue and Columbia Street becomes the fifth-tallest building in the city. It's also the most expensive single project to date at more than $450 million.

A large portion of that cost comes from preserving one of Seattle's oldest churches. The Sanctuary was set to be demolished in 2005 before developer Kevin Daniels stepped in to try and save it.

"We need to remember where we come from, and how much history we have in this city," said Daniels.

Formerly known as the First Methodist Episcopal Church Sanctuary, the church began services in 1853.

The 25-year preservation battle gained national attention because it pitted the public’s right to control zoning over a religious institution’s right to freely practice religion. In a 5-4 vote, the Washington state Supreme Court allowed for the demolition of the building.

But Daniels stepped in and basically bought the building to save it.
It was also put on the landmark status.

Now, after all this time, Daniels says the church and the F5 Tower are perfect compliments of one another.

"This is an example of the importance of telling story of the original foundation of when Seattle started," Daniels said.

F5 Networks has agreed to lease all 28 floors of office space.

The design of the office tower is purposeful in how it complements the historic building.

The tower is slender with four triangular planes set at different angles, like facets on a diamond. The Sanctuary nestled right up to the towers glass walls. At its closest, the tower comes within 4 feet of touching the roof. The design was driven in part by a desire to honor, rather than overpower, the Sanctuary.

The asymmetrical design, angles, and slopes suggest it’s paying homage to its neighbor, while the highly transparent glass reflect the historic church during all times of the day.

F5 Networks is expected to move in sometime in 2019.

© 2017 KING-TV


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