Thursday, April 15, 2010

Starbucks Headquarters in Old Landmark Sears Tower Building

Starbucks Corporate Headquarters
Photo & Text Copyright 2009 Seattle Daily Photo. All rights reserved, including reproduction or republishing.
Starbucks started leasing office space in the old Sears building in 1993. By 1997 they had decided to expand their use of space to make this their headquarters and placed the 20 foot tall peeping mermaid logo on the top of the clock tower. Their lease goes through 2015. When they first made this commitment to stay rooted here, the Seattle Times reported, "The mammoth complex, which also houses a Sears store and two other retail tenants, is being renamed the Starbucks Center. Starbucks, which is leasing space there, and Nitze-Stagen & Co., the building owner, have pumped $30 million in improvements into one of the SODO district's most enduring landmarks." Four years later the building was damaged in the 6.8 Nisqually earthquake and had to undergo major repairs. The mermaid is still peeking out in the four directions. Reports came out  in 2007 about office space expansion plans for Starbucks in the SODO neighborhood, but I haven't heard any specifics.  This view is compressed by the long lens I used and makes West Seattle across Elliott Bay seem as if it is only a stone's throw away, but it's quite a distance.
Hope the procrastinators in the USA get their taxes filed by the deadline, which is today. "April is the cruelest month. . ." :-).


Steffe said...

I think I read somewhere that Starbucks are coming to Sweden. I hope I'm wrong, but you never know.

lewi14 said...

I know finally where the Starbucks HG is. Very monumental tower.

Louis la Vache said...

Nice recycling of the old Sears building. Does Sears still have a store in part of it - «Louis'» guess is "no".

Mary said...

I like the lady peeking over the top of the tower!

Kim said...

@ Steffe, gosh, a country in Europe that they have not yet dared to enter! I am amazed :-).

@ Lewi14, the company was a very small Seattle enterprise, much beloved, and I think it's move toward retail beverage outlets and rapid expansion of that nationally and globally through the 1990s to present has tarnished the esteem folks once had for the small business of passionate coffee roasters they grew to love from the 1970s and which had a reputation in the 90s for a good wage and benefits for its employees. Starbucks is one of those phenomenal businesses, like, Microsoft, and Boeing that started here and has added much to the Seattle economy, creating commerce, investing in the city's infrastructure and employing thousands.

@ Louis, yes, Sears is still there, although I'm not sure if it is the retail outlet part or the offices part. There is (according to Chuck, and I have driven by it) a Sears store adjacent. But, if you look to the left of the entrance in this shot, you can just make out through the trees that are getting new leaves the Sears logo behind.

@ Mary, yes, that is a fun way they incorporated the logo onto the building. Humor is good. I bet the designer/architect that came up with that idea enjoyed incorporating it on the clock tower.

Shawn said...

The Sears is only a 3-floor retail space now. My favorite bit of trivia about this building is that it is the largest commercial space in the state. Larger even than the Columbia Tower.

You are right about the talk of expansion in 2007. At one point Starbucks had moved it's IT department into the 83 King building in Pioneer Square and actually owns the building to the south (501 1st Ave S) which just recently completed construction. However, the economic problems and layoffs pretty quickly halted the expansion and all corporate departments are once again in the Starbucks Center building.

If you are interested, there is a "food court" on the 3rd floor that the public can access called Mezza Cafe. Along the brick wall just outside of the food area are a bunch of old photographs of the SoDo area and the building. They show everything from when the area was still part of Elliott Bay, landfill from Beacon Hill to create more land, early streets and rail, and the history of the building and it's various expansions. Pretty cool stuff.

Rajesh said...

Wonderful shot.

Kim said...

Shawn, thanks very much for all the great and interesting information. The fact of its size really surprised me. I hope to check out the cafe and historic photos. Thank you!

Rajesh, glad you like it!


Don and Krise said...

I, too learned something today. Thanks Shawn for that. The more of these old building that live on the better as far as I'm concerned.

Great post Kim! ;-)

Chuck Pefley said...

You found a really nice perch for that view. Love it, Kim!

Linda said...

The UK is in the Starbucks Zone. For some reason they favour former bank premises for their outlets here - rather grand 19th and early 20th century buildings. I can understand that now seeing their headquarters. It does mean that these bank premises don't lie vacant, but who knows what individual local businesses might not have set up there instead? Ah well, that's globalisation.

Summer said...

I have such fond memories of trips to Sears in the early mid-70's. We would stop by the garbage transfer station in Allentown first. Cross the bridge over the duwamish that was sometimes up to let ships through etc. For Sears it was many hours first looking through the records on the top floor, then krusty pups nearby (best corndogs ever, made fresh in front of you!) then to the basement for the Sears Surplus Store where they had great discount toys etc. Also, used to look at the awesome selection of NFL coats etc. that only sears had. I was a big Rams fan then as Seattle had no NFL team! Remember the good old days? Long gone now.