Battle over green building shapes up in Seattle

A running shoe company that wants to build a “deep green” store -- but needs a major exemption to zoning regulations to do it -- has created a controversy in Seattle. According to an article in the Seattle Times, developer Skanska USA has signed Brooks Sports as the anchor tenant in a mixed-used building it wants to build. But the five-story retail building, which is already allowed an extra 10 ft. as part of the city’s "Living Building" pilot program, needs another 10 ft., according to Skanska. Its structure would be 65 ft. tall on a site where the height limit now is 45 ft.

The building, which may also house a restaurant and other uses, would comply with some tough green building standards as part of the Living Building program. However, local residents say its height is out of character with the neighborhood. They also oppose bending the rules even further for Living Building projects, which already enjoy zoning exemptions as an incentive for their water- and energy-saving designs.