Work Gets Underway on $500M Gates Foundation HQ in Seattle

Ground has just broken in Seattle on what will become the new home of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The multi-structure green headquarters campus (pictured) will encompass 900,000 square feet, including a visitor center, and will cost $500 million to complete. Carrying the address of 500 Fifth Avenue North, the new Gates Foundation campus will occupy a 12-acre parcel across from the renowned Space Needle. The site will sprout two six-story office structures, a convening center and a 15,000-square-foot visitor center designed by Ralph Applebaum & Associates. NBBJ is the lead architectural firm for the complex, which is being designed to adhere to the sustainable development standards necessary to achieve LEED Gold certification. Among the project’s most prominent green features is a 1.5-acre living roof that has already made its debut. Located atop the adjacent Seattle Center Fifth Avenue North Parking Garage, which will provide parking for some of the organization’s employees, the roof will serve as a natural habitat for birds. Sellen Construction is on board as general contractor for the Gates Foundation headquarters. The project is on target to open its doors to employees and visitors in late 2010.