Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
CTBUH Seattle Chapter Hosts Spring Forum
April 14, 2016
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SEATTLE – On April 14, nearly 80 local professionals came together for the CTBUH Seattle Chapter Spring Forum, hosted by CallisonRTKL. The forum featured a panel discussion that examined opportunities to “Transform Downtown Seattle for Kids.” The panel was anchored by Matthias Olt of CallisonRTKL, who has led a team exploring this topic over the past year. The panel was rounded out by Lisa Picard, Executive Vice President, Skanska; Gary Johnson, Center City Strategy Coordinator, City of Seattle; Craig Wrench, President & CEO, Washington Holdings; and CTBUH Advisory Group member Don Davies, President, Magnusson Klemencic Associates. It was moderated by Kara Anderson, Director of Architecture for the Sabey Corporation.

The evening event convened with a networking happy hour. Attendees had the opportunity to meet with the panel while viewing models and concept boards that Olt’s team created. Opening remarks and an update on the CTBUH Seattle Chapter were provided by Don Davies. This was followed by an overview of the global CTBUH outreach provided by CTBUH Fellow William Maibusch, Project Executive, Andersen Construction.  Kara Anderson then introduced the panel and guided the group through the program.
Participants socializing and networking before the panel presentation
CallisonRTKL set up a model and some concept boards on display for attendees
Anderson and Olt opened the discussion with a series of thought-provoking visuals, reaching back through the rich history of rooftop engagement in the built environment. Contemporary examples of elevated public space helped introduce the discussion on Olt’s vision for Seattle. While the plan remains conceptual in its early stages, the vision was able to generate a vibrant conversation from the various perspectives at hand.

Gary Johnson provided thoughtful insight from the City’s perspective on what Seattle has to gain from the prospect. Enriching the downtown fabric with family friendly public spaces would go handily with generating family oriented amenities, such as elementary schools and daycares. Members of the panel spoke on their personal stories of raising their family downtown and how such amenities would go a long way in attracting more families downtown.
Panelists (from left to right): Kara Anderson, Director, Sabey Construction, Lisa Picard, Executive Vice President, Skanska, Gary Johnson, Center City Strategy Coordinator, City of Seattle, Craig Wrench, President & CEO, Washington Holdings, Matthias Olt, CallisonRTKL,  and Don Davies, President, Magnusson Klemencic Associates.
Olt further elaborated on the vision and other key aspects necessary to make it a reality. Revenue generating areas such as cafés, markets, and bookstores would be vital components to provide incentives for this to become a reality. From the developer’s perspective, Lisa Picard spoke to the likely means of implementation. She explained how her approach to development recognizes the need to create public spaces. Creating unique experiences, particularly those that are open to the public, is an attractive selling point that developers can use to lease space. Picard noted recent developments where public spaces that were originally conceived for tenants are now being utilized by the neighborhood.

As the discussion evolved, it was evident that the need to engage family living in downtown Seattle will be a vital component to the city’s growth. Craig Wrench walked the group through scenarios of how the influx of people migrating to the Pacific Northwest will impact the built environment. The projected housing demand and the business development that will accompany those households will require a significant increase in built square footage in the decades ahead. Encouraging families to densify and live downtown will be vital to saving the Greater Seattle area from losing its beautiful allure to sprawling development. Wrench noted that while developers are creating more vibrant private spaces for their customers, he agreed with Picard’s commentary that energetic public spaces are equally as important to sell a successful development.
The panel answers questions from the audience
The evening wrapped up with a series of great questions from the audience, which included a downtown family who brought their kids to the event to share their story. Many questions were asked about the viability and likelihood of being able to realize this vision. The panel responded with a lot of positive feedback; noting that while it is understood that many challenges need to be overcome, the potential outcome is certainly worth the discussion and evolution of the vision. When asked where Seattle could be in five years with this plan, there was ambition and optimisim that exuded from the stage.
Bill Maibusch Andersen Construction
Sarah Bonser Ankrom Moisan
Gregory Wharton Ankrom Moisan
Qin Lin Ankrom Moisan
Amy Baker Bentall Kennedy
Kelly Rench Berger Partnership
Sid Jadhav CallisonRTKL
Ro Shroff CallisonRTKL
Chris Beza CallisonRTKL
Michael Lee CallisonRTKL
David Chamness CallisonRTKL
Adrian Lam CallisonRTKL
Matthias Olt CallisonRTKL
Paul Mackowicki CallisonRTKL
Gary Johnson City of Seattle
Lindsay Fallert Clark Design Group
Al Gabay Clark Design Group
Robert Hermes CLT House
John Tessem DCI-Engineers
Roger Heeringa DCI-Engineers
Erica Bush Downtown Seattle Association
Janet Stephenson Glumac
Bryn Kepler Gustafson Guthrie Nichol
Sara Zewde Gustafson Guthrie Nichol
Lanzi Li Heartland LLC
Allison Shepherd Holland Partner Group
Marty Goodman Holland Partner Group
Jeff Bernard Holland Partner Group
Andy Wilson Intellectual Ventures
Michael George Kidder Matthews
Walt Niehoff LMN Architects
Rosalie Daggett Mithun
Krzysztof Zaleski MKA
Lindsay Hull MKA
Jeremy Hasselbauer MKA
Kevin Aswegan MKA
Andrzej Tatkowski MKA
Joey Piotrowski MKA
Matt Streid MKA
Don Davies MKA
Jerome Tryon Olson Kundig
Andrea Miller Parents For a Better Downtown
Jeffrey Utterback Port of Seattle
Alexandra Ramsden Rushing
Kara Anserson Sabey Corporation
Deena Antonucci Skanska
Lisa Picard Skanska
Luis Adan Urban Visions
Craig Wrench Washington Holdings
Erik Heironimus WATG
Budy Djunaedi WF Advisors
Conrado Moran
Amy Hartman
Carter Woollen
John Pehrson