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Originally published July 30, 2012 at 8:03 PM | Page modified July 30, 2012 at 10:11 PM

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City Council approves Skanska's 'deep green' building

Brooks Sports' proposed Seattle headquarters at the foot of Stone Way North got the green light Monday as the City Council voted 9-0 to allow it extra height under a modified incentive program for extra-green buildings.

Seattle Times business reporter

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Brooks Sports' proposed Seattle headquarters at the foot of Stone Way North got the green light Monday as the City Council voted 9-0 to allow it extra height under a modified incentive program for extra-green buildings.

Developer Skanska USA's plan for the Stone 34 building calls for it to be 20 feet taller than the property's ordinary zoning allowances of 45 feet. Skanska sought the extra height through the city's "Living Buildings" program, aimed at encouraging the most environment-friendly buildings possible.

But neighborhood opponents, as well as the local nonprofit that created and trademarked the Living Building standards, objected that the Skanska project wasn't trying to meet those stringent standards.

More than half of the 37 neighborhood representatives who testified at City Council hearings opposed the proposal.

Opponents of Stone 34, such as the Wallingford Community Council, said the extra height and other incentives should only be awarded to projects trying to meet more of the Living Building requirements.

The International Living Future Institute, which developed the "Living Building" program, and the Bullitt Foundation, developer of the only Seattle commercial building pursuing full Living Building status, had complained that the city's incentive program was being weakened.

Councilmember Richard Conlin said Stone 34 will meet 80 to 97 percent of Seattle's "deep green" requirements — a less ambitious set of standards than the Living Building criteria — and be superior to 99.99 percent of buildings in general.

"To suggest that this is somehow not an incredibly green building and an incredible achievement to be able to build is frankly a complete misreading of what is being done with this project," he said.

Along with the 20 additional feet of height, the developer will be allowed to put the first floor to commercial uses.

Conlin said the incentive system still needs more work. "To do the kind of incredibly green building we are hoping for, we have had to do some work to modify this program," Conlin said.

Johanna Somers: 206-464-3714 or jsomers@seattletimes.com

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