Lead the Way

Successful communities are made up of people with shared values, pursuing common goals. At Vulcan, we know how to build alliances that bring diverse groups of citizens together to advocate for positive change. Whether endorsing major infrastructure improvements, supporting local non-profits, or promoting sustainability, our community leadership is widely recognized.


As one of the leading developers of green buildings in the Pacific Northwest, Vulcan has proven that sustainability has a positive bottom line impact on investors, tenants, the community and the environment. Sustainable development reduces operating costs, uses fewer resources, increases tenant productivity and ultimately enhances the value of the Vulcan portfolio. Vulcan has proven itself as a leader in sustainable development and today is the largest private owner of new construction LEED certified projects in Seattle.

Leaders in LEED-Certification

Vulcan is a trusted partner in profitable and sustainable development. We've delivered 19 LEED-certified buildings that contributed to South Lake Union becoming the first LEED-certified neighborhood plan in Washington State.

Vulcan Real Estate is a founding member of Seattle 2030 District, a public-private collaboration of building owners, designers, NGO’s, and local government entities working to reduce building energy use, water use, and carbon emissions significantly by the year 2030.

For more information please visit:
Seattle 2030 District

Swale on Yale

The Swale on Yale, also known as the Capitol Hill Water Quality Project, is an innovative collaboration between Vulcan Real Estate and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) to reduce the amount of pollution flowing into Seattle's Lake Union.

The $10 million project incorporates a natural drainage system of four biofiltration swales set along two Vulcan-owned blocks in South Lake Union at Yale and Pontius Avenues North.

The Swale on Yale will meet Washington State Department of Ecology's stringent water quality requirements and will capture and filter 190 million gallons of stormwater that currently flow untreated from a 630-acre area on Capitol Hill, directly into Lake Union. As the water flows through one of the four vegetated swales, it will drop its suspended solids such as heavy metals, oil and grease, bacteria, fertilizers and pesticides. The filtered water will then be conveyed back to the storm drain for discharge into Lake Union.

The swales will be located in a 16-foot wide planting area between the sidewalk and the roadway. To the passerby, it will look like a thickly vegetated wide planting strip. The conveyance system, which began construction early in 2012, will be completed by approximately 2016.

For more information, please visit Swale on Yale.


At the heart of every strong community are connections that link people, business, housing, culture, education and recreation.

We're working with expert urban planners in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood to create a pedestrian-oriented urban environment were residents, tenants and visitors can experience a car-free sustainable lifestyle with convenient access to regional transit systems.

And it is no accident that our first investment outside the Seattle market is an office building located adjacent to a light rail stop.

Seattle Streetcar

Vulcan was a founding member and co-chair of the Build the Streetcar Committee and provided leadership that resulted in construction of the South Lake Union line of the Seattle Streetcar. Vulcan helped secure crucial political and business community support for the streetcar's innovative financing structure, which utilizes federal and state funds as well as a local improvement district.

The $55 million streetcar line opened in December 2007 and currently carries as many as 3,000 riders daily, vastly exceeding initial projections. As part of a proposed citywide network, the presence of a streetcar line through South Lake Union solidified the decision for major tenants to locate in the neighborhood, including Group Health Cooperative, Microsoft and Amazon.com.

Plans are underway to expand the city's streetcar network with additional lines throughout Seattle.

For more information, please visit http://www.seattlestreetcar.org.

Mercer Corridor

Known for more than 40 years as the "Mercer Mess," this one-way, four-lane arterial bisected South Lake Union, hindering access to the neighborhood and its surrounding areas.

Vulcan worked to organize and fund the Mercer Corridor Stakeholders Committee, comprised of businesses, transit advocates, neighborhood residents and community groups. The committee worked closely with city, state and federal elected officials and created the new urban vision for how the Mercer Corridor should work and look. A two-way, six-lane boulevard would reduce regional congestion, improve safety and mobility for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit. We then coordinated the successful effort to secure project financing, including $62 million in federal funding.

The project has been hailed for the depth of community involvement throughout the planning phase and its effective public-private partnership in which all major partners, including Vulcan, participated in its financing. Today, the White House calls the Mercer Corridor initiative ($300 million total project cost) one of the “projects changing America.” Work on Mercer East is expected to be completed in 2013, with Mercer West following in 2015.

For more information, please visit Mercer Corridor Project.

Denny Substation and Network

As a magnet for high tech and life sciences organizations, South Lake Union needs a significant upgrade to its overhead power distribution system, which is prone to outages and poor quality power.

For 10 years Vulcan worked closely with Seattle City Light on a plan to convert the current system to a more reliable underground network.

Vulcan garnered support for an underground network from major neighborhood stakeholders, including Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Amazon.com, UW Medicine, Group Health Cooperative and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Every major stakeholder agreed to higher rates to pay for the upgrade. Those commitments, along with a forecast for continued growth in the neighborhood, convinced city officials in 2011 to proceed with construction of the network ($100 million total project cost) and a new substation ($200 million total project cost) to support the network and help meet demand in adjacent neighborhoods.

Detailed planning for the new system has begun. The substation is forecast to be complete by the end of 2016.

For more information, please visit Denny Substation Project.


As a major property owner in South Lake Union, Vulcan has gone to great lengths to ensure that the neighborhood's green space is a safe and inviting amenity for its residents and workers. We have contributed $10 million toward the $30 million renovation of Lake Union Park and, along with our joint venture partners, contributed $650,000 to fund the City's $1.2 million renovation of Cascade Park. In 2009, Vulcan contributed $85,000 to create a new children's recreation area ($400,000 total project cost) in Denny Park and in 2011, $50,000 for a new dog area.

  • Vulcan and other stakeholders have contributed a total of $31.7 million in neighborhood park improvements.
  • Lake Union's crown jewel, the newly renovated 12-acre Lake Union Park, opened in September 2010.
  • Cascade Park is now an eco-friendly inviting public park that draws hundreds of users throughout the day.
  • Denny Park is now a safer, more inviting place for families and visitors.

Historic Preservation

Vulcan believes in retaining historic structures that preserve neighborhood character and has nominated several buildings for landmark status and eventual incorporation into development projects. This reflects the company's longstanding commitment to thoughtful redevelopment approaches that honor a neighborhood's rich history and character. Vulcan's development portfolio in Seattle includes five historic renovations.

New Richmond Laundry Building: This building was developed in 1917 during Seattle's steam laundry boom. Vulcan was able to incorporate important historic elements including the original brick façade into the residential design at Alley24 Apartments.

Van Vorst Building: A former stable for delivery-wagon horses, this century-old building was renovated into a conference center as part of the new Amazon.com headquarters.

Terry Avenue Building: Once a hardwood flooring and cabinetry warehouse, this 1915 two-story brick structure was incorporated into the Amazon.com headquarters and leased to one of Seattle's premiere restaurateurs.

Supply Laundry Building: This 1906 building represents the area's historically defining commercial laundry industry. Vulcan is preserving the building, which will become the cornerstone of a 278-unit multifamily development called Stack House, which is currently under construction.

Ford and Pacific McKay Buildings: Located on a Vulcan-owned property, these buildings were in the path of a major proposed roadway improvement project. Vulcan carefully disassembled, moved and preserved the historic elements in order to save the structures. The historically significant portions of the two buildings are currently in storage until they can be reconstructed on the site at the time of redevelopment.

Public Art

Vulcan's support of the arts community is evident throughout its portfolio. To date, Vulcan has commissioned and installed 20 public artworks from local Northwest and Seattle area artists. Public art contributes to thriving pedestrian environments, creating dynamic spaces for all to explore and enjoy.

Interactive Art Map

Building Community

Vulcan Real Estate plays a prominent role in fostering a healthy, vibrant and diverse community in markets where it operates. From its support of local non-profits and the arts community to the organization of community events, Vulcan's business practices embody true social consciousness.

Community Engagement

  • Fostering a sense of community and raising awareness for local non-profits by producing and sponsoring neighborhood events such as block parties, local farmers' markets and outdoor cinema.
  • Founding member of the South Lake Union Chamber, which works to advance the business, professional, civic and cultural interests of the South Lake Union neighborhood.

Economic Development

Vulcan's South Lake Union redevelopment project has leveraged significant investment from both private and public sources, all of which will generate measurable tax revenue. More than $4 billion has been invested in the neighborhood in the past decade in the form of development projects and infrastructure improvements with the following results:

  • $156 million in new tax revenue generated for the City of Seattle between 2001 and 2011 (Public & Private Investments in South Lake Union prepared for the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development by Berk Consulting and Heartland, June 2012)
  • Every dollar of City money invested in the neighborhood has leveraged $31 of investment by other public and private sources
  • 10,000 net new permanent jobs (source: Puget Sound Regional Council and employer survey)
  • 1,000 family wage construction jobs annually ("South Lake Union Development Update" prepared for the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development by Cyan Strategies, March 2011)
  • 305% population growth in South Lake Union 1990-2010 (source: Downtown Seattle Association)


Learn more about Vulcan's high-quality office, biotech, residential and mixed-use projects in our $1.5 billion real estate portfolio.