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The iconic Lake Union Steam Plant smokestacks are getting a new look

Get ready for a new name on the smokestacks

The Lake Union Steam Plant in 2014.
Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives, item No. 502

You’ve probably seen the historic Lake Union Steam Plant before: It’s the one with the smokestacks that, until recently, bore the name of biotechnology company Zymogenetics, highly visible from Interstate 5. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center announced it’d be taking the building over last year—and just started giving the stacks their brand-new look.

The building was first built between 1914 and 1921 as a municipal power facility, 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.

It was declared a city landmark in 1994, right around the time Zymogenetics moved in. The smokestacks, which are purely decorative, were installed shortly after for historic interest and, apparently, branding purposes.

Wednesday, Fred Hutch started laying out the stencils for the Fred Hutch lettering, including the oblong “H” logo up top.

Stencils being applied to a decorative smokestack.
Fred Hutch News Service

The nonprofit plans to operate out of the building, which is close to its existing campus, later this year. Its biotech history saves Fred Hutch a lot of work. “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 when the organization first announced the move.

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