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Fred Hutch is moving into the historic Lake Union Steam Plant

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Get ready for a new name on the smokestacks

Courtesy of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.

The historic Lake Union Steam Plant—recognizable to those driving on Interstate 5 as the building with the Zymogenetics smoke stacks—is getting a new tenant. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center announced Monday that it’d be leasing the building, first built in the 1910s as a municipal power facility.

The building was declared a city landmark in 1994, and the smoke stacks, which are purely decorative, were installed shortly after. At some point, a spokesperson for Fred Hutch confirms, something related to the cancer research nonprofit will appear on the stacks, although exact plans are still in the works.

The nonprofit plans to operate out of the building, which is close to its existing campus, in 2019, after a steering committee figures out which teams will be moving in and some improvements to the building are made—although it has already housed laboratories before, saving some time. “The Steam Plant saves us time that a full build-out would otherwise require,” said Dr. Gary Gilliland, Fred Hutch’s president and director, in a statement.

The Lake Union Steam Plant in 1914.
Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives, item No. 502

A fundraising campaign will be in the works to support the expansion, including new equipment and new research programs, in the new space. Fred Hutch didn’t disclose the financial details of the lease with Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

Zymogenetics announced it wouldn’t be renewing its lease in late 2016.

The steam plant was built between 1914 and 1921, with the Lake Union location chosen strategically for easy access to fuel coming in on barges. The building was designed by Daniel R. Huntington, the architect behind many fire stations, libraries, and apartment buildings in early-20th-century Seattle.