Safeco Plaza (Seattle)

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Safeco Plaza
1001 Fourth Avenue Seattle Washington.jpg
Viewed from the 48th floor sundeck of Washington Mutual Tower
Safeco Plaza (Seattle) is located in Seattle WA Downtown
Safeco Plaza (Seattle)
Location within downtown Seattle
Alternative names 1001 Fourth Avenue Plaza
Seafirst Building
Seattle First National Bank Building
Record height
Tallest in Seattle and Washington state from 1969 to 1985[I]
Preceded by Space Needle
Smith Tower
Surpassed by Columbia Center
General information
Type Commercial offices
Location 1001 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, Washington
Coordinates 47°36′22″N 122°20′03″W / 47.6061°N 122.3341°W / 47.6061; -122.3341Coordinates: 47°36′22″N 122°20′03″W / 47.6061°N 122.3341°W / 47.6061; -122.3341
Construction started 1966
Completed 1969
Cost US$32 million
Owner CommonWealth Partners, CalPERS
Management CommonWealth Partners
Roof 192 m (630 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 50
Floor area 70,089 m2 (754,430 sq ft)
Lifts/elevators 18
Design and construction
Architect Naramore, Bain, Bray, and Johanson
Structural engineer Skilling Helle Christiansen and Robertson
Main contractor Howard S. Wright Construction Company

Safeco Plaza, previously 1001 Fourth Avenue Plaza and the Seattle-First National Bank Building, is a 50-story, 630 ft (190 m) skyscraper in downtown Seattle, Washington. The building is referred to by locals as "The Box the Space Needle Came In".[5][6] When the tower was completed in 1969 by the Howard S. Wright Construction Company[7] for Seattle First National Bank, it dwarfed Smith Tower, which had reigned as downtown's tallest building since 1914, and edged out the Space Needle (built in 1962) in Seattle Center by 25 ft (7.6 m) to become the tallest structure in the city until 1985 with the completion of the Columbia Center.[6]

Design and amenities[edit]

The bronze-colored aluminum and glass structure was the first modern class-A office building in Seattle[7] and is the first skyscraper in the world to feature a Vierendeel space frame.[2] The structure includes a two-story lobby as well as a five-story subterranean garage. Other amenities include 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail featuring a fitness center, a bank, some restaurants, a medical center and a post office. The property also houses a sculpture titled Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae 1968 by Henry Moore which is owned by the Seattle Art Museum.[7]


Safeco Insurance Company of America leased 284,000 square feet (26,400 m2) of the building on May 23, 2006 to be its headquarters, moving from offices in the University District and Redmond, and renamed it Safeco Plaza.[8][9][10] The company announced in 2015 that it would consolidate its offices into the tower, increasing its lease from 17 to 26 floors.[11]

On July 6, 2016, it was reported that German firm GLL Real Estate Partners GmbH agreed to buy the building for $387 million.[12] The tower had previously been sold in 2005 to CalPERS and Hines for $163 million.[13][14]

Major tenants[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Safeco Plaza". CTBUH Skyscraper Database. 
  2. ^ a b Safeco Plaza (Seattle) at Emporis
  3. ^ "Safeco Plaza". SkyscraperPage. 
  4. ^ Safeco Plaza (Seattle) at Structurae
  5. ^ Stein, Alan J. (May 31, 1999). "Seattle First National Bank building is dedicated on March 28, 1969". HistoryLink. Retrieved August 1, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Dorpat, Paul (February 3, 2006). "Boxed In". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 1, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c "Safeco Plaza". Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  8. ^ Allison, Melissa (May 25, 2006). "Safeco says headquarters to be in downtown tower". The Seattle Times. Retrieved July 6, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Safeco Corporation Form 8-K". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. May 23, 2006. Retrieved July 6, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Safeco Announces New Headquarters and Regional Office in Downtown Seattle" (Press release). Safeco Corporation. May 24, 2006. Retrieved July 6, 2016 – via PR Newswire. 
  11. ^ Stiles, Marc (November 3, 2015). "Exclusive: In huge blow to Seattle office developers, Safeco will consolidate in current HQ". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved July 6, 2016. 
  12. ^ Stiles, Marc (July 6, 2016). "Real estate deal of the year: 50-story Seattle tower sells for $387M". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved July 6, 2016. (Subscription required (help)). 
  13. ^ "Report: Safeco Plaza could sell for $387 million". The Seattle Times. July 7, 2016. Retrieved July 7, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Hines, CalPers buy 1001 Fourth Plaza". Puget Sound Business Journal. May 3, 2005. Retrieved July 7, 2016. 

External links[edit]