AKA: Seattle International Trade Center, Downtown, Seattle, WA; Real Networks Headquarters, Downtown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - industrial buildings - factories

Designers: Anderson, Ralph D., and Partners, Architects (firm); Preis, O.B., Engineer (firm); Willatzen, Andrew C.P., Architect (firm); Zimmer Gunsul Frasca (ZGF) Partnership (firm); Ralph Donald Anderson Jr. (architect); Robert J. Frasca (architect); Brooks R.W. Gunsul (architect); O. B. Preis (engineer); Andrew Christian Peter Willatzen (architect); Norman Cunningham Zimmer (architect)

Dates: constructed 1915-1916

6 stories

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2601 Elliott Avenue
Waterfront, Seattle, WA 98121-1399

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The American Can Company operated its Seattle District Office at the intersection of Elliott Avenue and Vine Street.

Building History

Founded in 1901, the American Can Company, headquartered in New York, NY, comprised what was known as the "TIn Can Trust." It developed from the Norton Brothers Company in Chicago, IL, that pioneered mass-production techniques for making cans, particularly the use of mechanically-soldered can lids. Norton Brothers grew rapidly during the 1880s and 1890s, as it bought and absorbed sixty other can-making firms, produced in 123 plants nationally. (See Joel Wolfe, "Summer's Food for Winter Tables," essay in Tin and Global Capitalism: A History of the Devil's Metal, 1850-2000, Mats Ingulstad, Andrew Pritchard and Espen Storli, eds., pp. 76-77.) Although one of the few large scale producers of tin cans in the US, it evaded anti-trust break-up because it controlled just a slightly smaller market share than a textbook monopoly.

In 1938, Edward H. Bell served as the General Manager of the American Can Company's Seattle District Office. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1938, p. 36.)

In 2022, the e-commerce company, Zulily, a retailer of products for children, occupied space in the building.

Building Notes

The American Can Company, in 1938, operated a wharf at the foot of Clay Street on Seattle's Waterfront. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1938, p. 36.) This was originally numbered "Pier 13" by the City of Seattle, and later Pier 69. American Can took over operations at Pier 13 in 1931, making it into a warehouse for aluminum rolls, and erected a skybridge across Alaskan Way to move them from ships or railcars directly to the plant.


The American Can Company Factory was renovated in 1942 for wartime use.

Seattle architect Ralph D. Anderson supervised the remodeling of the factory into a merchandise mart in 1976-1977, the Seattle International Trade Center;

Renovation occurred again in 1999, when the internet company, Real Networks, moved into the structure.

PCAD id: 6318