Forterra acquires Space Needle for undisclosed amount, adding to portfolio of keystone properties

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Plans are in motion to demolish the landmark and construct an identical skyscraper from Cross Laminated Timber



SEATTLE — Forterra, the Seattle-based sustainability nonprofit, has acquired the Space Needle for an undisclosed amount, thanks to a generous gift from an anonymous donor.

Demolition of the Seattle icon, which has stood sentry near the city’s downtown since 1962, will begin the week of April 3, 2017. An identical replica built from Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) will be erected at the Seattle Center site.

CLT is a wood-based alternative to conventional construction materials like steel and concrete. Unlike regular lumber, it can be used structurally in very large and tall buildings. When created from sustainably-sourced trees, CLT will generate environmental benefits and rural jobs in logging, milling and fabrication.

“CLT offers a way to extend some of the incredible prosperity of our Northwest cities to rural areas that haven’t fully recovered from all the economic jolts of the past 20 years. That’s both desirable and just,” said Gene Duvernoy of Forterra. “What better way to pronounce the incredible promise of this innovative product than to knock down the Space Needle and replace it with a CLT-based replica?

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said, “Constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle is a regional symbol of the enduring optimism of the Space Age. With all the challenges our region faces, we need a new symbol to bring together the four corners of our state. This is our time, and we have chosen our symbol: also the Space Needle.”

Space Needle President and CEO Doug Johnston said, “Of course I love the Space Needle the way it is, but, at the same time, I’m excited for an even better Space Needle. Wood in your peripheral vision is far more natural than steel as you take in the views from the observation deck.”

Although the Space Needle was designated as an official historic landmark in 1999, the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board has approved the planned demolition and reconstruction with CLT.

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