Downtown's Pacific Plaza earns LEED Platinum certification

The development team behind the $35 million Pacific Plaza building in downtown Tacoma announced this week the project has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

According to BLRB Architects — the building’s designer and one of its major tenants — the LEED Platinum certification is the highest rating possible for energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.

“Pacific Plaza is officially the first building in Tacoma and the Pierce County region to be certified Platinum, as well as the first core-shell building in Washington state, and only one of 21 such core-shell buildings worldwide, to be certified LEED Platinum,” said BLRB Architects Marketing Coordinator Kelie Kahler. “We are very proud of our design achievement, as well as this very exciting ‘first’ for downtown.”

Kahler also noted that approximately $2 million was invested toward ‘green’ building features to achieve the LEED Platinum certification, comprising approximately five-percent of the total development cost.

The development team (BLRB Architects, PCS Structural Solutions, Absher Construction, and the City of Tacoma) took an existing parking garage — the four-story, decades-old and crumbling Park Plaza South at the corner of South 13th Street and Pacific Avenue — and renovated it into a state-of-the-art building that now boasts an additional level of parking (four levels total with stalls for 500 cars), two new floors of Class A office space above the parking levels (each floor offers 34,000 square feet), and approximately 35,000 square feet of street-level space along Pacific Avenue. Dark metal surrounds the sleek glass that now mark a stairway and the lobby entrance. Cream-colored concrete provides a contrast along the retail and garage levels. The building is crowned with a 30,000 square foot green roof that grows brightly colored wildflowers.

The LEED certification speaks to a variety of the building’s cutting-edge environmental technologies: high-efficiency lighting; recycled carpet; bamboo floors; the ability to collect rainwater for use in the building’s toilets and as irrigation for the rooftop garden; recycling 90 per cent of construction waste; and even the location of the project (near Link light rail and major bus routes).

Pacific Plaza is located at 1250 Pacific Ave.

BLRB Architects and PCS Structural Solutions occupy the seventh floor. According to BLRB Managing Principal Thomas Bates, leases were signed for two tenants to occupy a large portion of the eighth floor: the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will occupy 13,000 square feet; and Grantmaker Consultants will occupy 3,000 square feet.

In December, Tacoma City Council approved a resolution that frees up 14,000 square feet of street-level space along Pacific Avenue originally slated for retail to now be used as commercial office space for the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.

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For earlier Tacoma Daily Index coverage of Pacific Plaza, click on the following links:

1. City Council approves Pacific Plaza street-level office space —

2. Office or Retail? City, developer try to agree on Pacific Plaza street-level occupancy (12/11/09) —

3. City leaders cut ribbon for downtown Pacific Plaza project (09/22/09) —

4. PHOTOS / Pacific Plaza Tour (09/02/09) —

5. Inside Pacific Plaza: From blight to beauty, a $30 million downtown high-rise sets a new standard (09/02/09) — or

6. Outside Pacific Plaza: A garden grows high above downtown Tacoma (09/03/09) — or