AKA: Safeco Plaza, Headquarters, University District, Seattle, WA; University of Washington (UW) Tower, University District, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Naramore, Bain, Brady, and Johanson, (NBBJ) (firm); William James Bain Jr. (architect); Clifton J. Brady (architect); Perry Bertil Johanson (architect); Floyd Archibald Naramore (architect)

Dates: constructed 1973

22 stories

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4347 Brooklyn Avenue NE
University District, Seattle, WA 98185-1016

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The Safeco Insurance Building #2 was also listed at 4333 Brooklyn Ave NE.


The Safeco (later UW) Tower has the sturdy but conventional look of a 1970s office building, with its largely rectangular form (with corners only slightly beveled), ribbon windows and pre-cast concrete exterior. It also serves as a landmark for the University District, seen from miles away on the skyline. The architect, NBBJ, has been responsible for a great many of the skyscapers built in Downtown Seattle from the 1960s to the present.

Building History

At 22 stories (375 feet), the Safeco Building is the tallest structure in the University District of Seattle, WA. The Safeco Insurance Company wholly occupied the tower between 1973-2006; in 2006, the University of Washington (UW) purchased the tower from the insurance company, which was moving its headsquarters to a Downtown Seattle location. The University purchased this tower, three adjacent low-rise buildings totaling 510,546 square feet, two parking garages with 727 stalls, a residential building with 29 units for $130 million. Safeco agreed to lease back space in the building until 12/2007, when it would move.

The University spent much of 2007 doing space planning for the tower, and announced plans to actually move into the facility in Spring 2008. By summer 2008, the University of Washington Medical Center announced its intentions to move its Accounting, Compliance, Center for Clinical Excellence, Finance, Organizational Development and Training, Patient and Family Centered Care, Patient Financial Services, Planning and Physician Liaison, Regulatory Affairs, UWMC Human Resources, Financial Counseling, and UWPN Administration Departments into the former Safeco Tower. Emphasis was made on moving UW offices that had little contact with students to the tower, freeing space on campus for those that do interact with students frequently.

Building Notes

Later known as the University of Washington, Seattle, Tower Properties. When the University of Washington moved in, the tower had 279,459 RSF on 18 floors above lobby and sub-level floors.

The Safeco Office Building #2 replaced the Brooklyn Building that stood on the southwest corner of Brooklyn Avenue NE and NE 45th Street between 1929 and 1970.

PCAD id: 5609