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Columbia Tower renovations are underway

Seattle’s tallest skyscraper is getting a makeover

Courtesy of Urban Renaissance Group

Columbia Tower—officially, Columbia Center—is getting a brand-new look in 2018.

The building became the tallest skyscraper in Seattle when it was finished in 1985, a title it's held ever since. And while it’s famous for its 76 stories, including a 73rd-floor observation deck, the remodel by Urban Renaissance Group (URG) will largely focus on the areas closer to the ground—the first four floors, which, unlike the observation deck, the public can access for free.

The Fourth Avenue entrance, which opens onto the first floor, will gain a three-story “glass curtain” to bring light into the common areas, plus a living wall.

Inside, the atrium, which features a food court aimed at downtown office workers, will gain what URG calls a “grand feature staircase” connecting the first and second floors. Brick flooring will be replaced with concrete below and wood-slat ceilings above, plus new lighting and furniture.

The renovation will also add a fourth-floor, glass-canopy-covered viewing deck, with views across the Puget Sound to the Olympic Mountains, plus stadium seating.

Columbia Center marks a third completed or planned renovation of Seattle’s major observatories in recent years. The Space Needle announced back in June that they’ll also roll out a new look in 2018. The Smith Tower, Seattle’s tallest building when it was built in 1914, had extensive interior renovations last year.

Unlike those other remodels, the high-up observatory itself will remain untouched in the Columbia Center remodel. The observatory already got a big makeover in 2013, changing a 270-degree view to a 360-degree view.

Renovations are currently underway. URG estimates they’ll be completed in Spring 2018.

Columbia Tower

701 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104