Project of the Year Finalist, Excellence in Sustainability: Watershed | Engineering New-Record

The content for this article was originally featured in the Engineering News-Record on March 16, 2022.

Project of the Year Finalist, Excellence in Sustainability: Watershed

Photo of Watershed commercial office building at dusk


Something fishy is happening among the salmon that spawn in the rivers and streams that flow through Puget Sound. For several years now, the coho salmon, a species that returns to Seattle’s waters every fall, have been observed swimming in circles, disoriented, and then, opening and closing their mouths as if desperate to breathe, they die. Puget Soundkeeper, an environmental advocacy group, says large numbers of the females—sometimes as many as 90%—die before they are able to spawn.

The reason behind this, as well as similar deleterious effects on steelhead trout, Soundkeeper says, is the pollutants present in stormwater from bridges and highways that end up in the river and lakes.

Mark Grey, principal and property manager at Stephen C. Grey and Associates, is part of Hess Callahan Grey Group, the developers behind the Watershed Building, a 61,000-sq-ft mixed-use commercial building at the foot of the Aurora Bridge in Seattle. Grey is passionate about protecting the salmon and water quality in Lake Union, says Frieda Elliot, project manager for Turner Construction Co., contractor for the project. So much so, she says, that they have made the welfare of the coho salmon a consideration for nearly all local development projects moving forward.

Hess Callahan Grey Group’s charge for the entire design and construction team on the Watershed project was to be as imaginative as possible in building a sustainable building in Seattle that would meet two primary goals: reduce harm to the salmon from stormwater runoff, and also qualify for Seattle’s Living Building certification.

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