The content for this article was originally featured in the October 2021 issue of Seattle Business Magazine.
Strategically on the north lip of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, Fremont is no stranger to being squeezed between the changing tides of commerce.
Founded in 1888 as a natural hub of timber, industry and transportation, Fremont’s fortunes rose with the canal, an engineering marvel that connected the fresh water of Lake Washington to the salt water of Puget Sound.
Another impressive engineering achievement — the Aurora Bridge, which opened in 1932 — set Fremont’s economic decline in motion, eﬀectively demoting it to a highway exit.
By the 1960s, it was overrun by a bohemian crowd with a fondness for cheap lofts and playful, lofty mottos, including “The City that Recycles Itself” and “The Center of the Universe.”
The low rents have long disappeared, but the high ambition survives. Fremont has become The Center of Seattle’s Green Building Revolution, with a rapidly evolving waterfront that provides a glimpse into the high-tech oﬃce building of the post-pandemic future.
Weber Thompson, one of Seattle’s top sustainable architecture ﬁrms, is among those leading the charge in the neighborhood.
“I was expecting a lull in business from the pandemic, but there really hasn’t been one for us. I think the roof is going to blow oﬀ (when society opens up again)” says Kristen Scott, Weber Thompson managing partner and senior principal. “There’s going to be an explosion of new design projects, and that’s going to create another boom in construction three or four years down the road.”