In less than two years, a new state office building will dramatically change the look of the west Capitol Campus and the gateway to downtown Olympia.
Known — for now — as the 1063 Block Replacement Project, the five-story building will occupy an entire block at Capitol Way and 11th Avenue.
Completion is set for August 2017. A rooftop terrace will offer some of the best views of Olympia and Puget Sound, while indoors, a giant atrium will form the centerpiece for the 215,000-square-foot building.
The energy-efficient structure’s stone façade will complement other state buildings on the campus. Landscaped entrances will face 11th Avenue on one side of the block and Union Avenue on the other.
This month, crews are removing hazardous materials to prepare for demolition. The site’s current structures include a parking garage and the former home of the children’s museum.
Construction will run 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Project managers say the most noise will come during the demolition phase, especially when machines are grinding concrete. Some walkways will be temporarily closed with signs to re-route pedestrians. Lane closures are possible for adjacent roads.
Architects reviewed the future building’s aesthetics and more during a public meeting hosted Wednesday by the state Department of Enterprise Services. A goal for designers is to achieve LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Another is to ensure the project is at least 75 percent “made in Washington” using materials and labor from the state.
Attendees at Wednesday’s meeting included Olympia Mayor Stephen Buxbaum, who called the building an asset for the city’s downtown.
“It is a front row seat to the entire South Sound vista with the most impressive view on the Capitol Campus,” Buxbaum said of the proposed rooftop terrace.
The building will hold about 735 state workers and serve as the future Washington State Patrol headquarters. Other tenants will include the Office of Financial Management.
Renee Sunde, the city’s new economic development director, said the building and its influx of daytime employees can create opportunities for nearby businesses and even raise demand for downtown housing.
“It does play a big role in the patina of downtown Olympia,” she said, noting the first impression the building can make as people arrive. “When you see redevelopment like that, it feels different.”
The ball is finally rolling on the project after the Legislature recently approved up to $69 million for construction. At Wednesday’s meeting, nearby landlords Jerry Magnoni and Janet Mueller wanted to learn more on behalf of their tenants, who live around the block on Columbia Street.
The couple own, manage and live in the same cluster of 10 townhomes. Most of the tenants work during the day, so construction noise shouldn’t be a factor, Mueller said. She welcomed the building as a transformative presence for the area.
“It’ll really improve that corner,” she said, praising the arrival of new development. “Olympia is a good city. A little growth won’t hurt it.”