Summit: A Deeper Dive

More Space to Collaborate, Innovate, and Celebrate in Seattle


  • 21,000 tons of steel were used, the equivalent to three Eiffel towers.
  • Roughly 26 miles of piping related to plumbing systems were installed, not including mechanical piping.
  • Roughly 99 miles of PEX piping (radiant flooring pipe) was installed.
  • Instead of foundation piers bored into the ground, Summit is supported from “spread footings” that are each a steel reinforced block, 8' deep x 24' wide x 24' long.
  • The concrete slab under Olive Way and Terry Avenue is four feet thick. It sits over parts of the loading dock.
  • The Ballroom carpet is an Axminister style, which is individual rolls of 24' wide x 90' long. The pattern has up to 32 colors, and does not repeat at all in each roll, with the result that it will be hard for anyone to see any repeat.
  • 380,000 cubic yards of excavation, which is equal to a 180-mile-long bumper-to-bumper line of dump trucks, the same distance from Seattle to Portland.
  • 95,000 cubic yards of concrete were used, which would be a 53' deep football field of concrete and include 10,000 tons of rebar.
  • Construction partners included: LMN Architects, Clark/Lewis (general contractor/construction management), and Pine Street Group (owner's representative).
  • Summit's total event space of 573,770 square feet is 31 percent larger than Arch's total event space at 432,988 square feet.
  • There is enough china, flatware, and stemware to service 13,000 people.
  • The loading dock access is located on Boren mid-block between Howell Street and Olive Way and can accommodate any vehicle meeting federal highway height and width guidelines. Trucks drive on a nearly 360-degree helix to enter and exit the dock. In mathematics, a helix is a curve in 3-dimensional space.
  • There are 19 elevators and 42 escalators in the building.
  • The Garden Terrace is 14,000 square feet, half of which is covered area. It features a wood patio and two large family-style tables under hanging lights.
  • Levels 2 through 5 have a 6' tall translucent number located in the Hillclimb to indicate the floor. Each is filled with items that represent aspects of Washington State's history and culture.
  • Summit has an onsite bakery at street level on the corner of Olive Way & Boren.
  • The kitchen and scullery include two dehydrators. These machines use high heat recirculation to dehydrate the waste food, reducing the volume and weight by up to 90 percent. The output becomes fertilizer for SCC to use or to sell.
  • Summit features one of the nation's largest window shade systems, which is made by a local women-owned company. Seattle-based Lumenomics designed and provided the Ballroom's 12 window shades, each of which are 63' tall x 10' wide.

The Center's long history of environmentally sustainable practices dates back decades. That emphasis is carried through to Summit's construction practices, architecture, and operations.

  • The building achieved LEED Platinum certification.
  • During the construction phase, debris was diverted from disposal in landfills and incineration facilities. Materials that could be recycled were sent back to be manufactured into reusable products.
  • Summit's interior incorporates sustainably sourced, recyclable, and recycled content. This includes plant-based acoustic ceiling tiles with 71 percent recycled content, bio-based fabric panels, a ballroom ceiling made of reclaimed worm wood from old log booms, and benches constructed from large, salvaged timbers. The reclaimed wood from the building that previously occupied a corner of the site was repurposed as railings throughout the building.
  • Summit's rooftop photovoltaic (solar) panels will improve the building's energy performance by 30 percent over the baseline building-performance rating. They will initially generate 75 kilowatts and has the capacity to produce up to 228 KW. The design has a provision for additional panels, which would boost energy efficiency even further.
  • The construction project achieved Salmon-Safe certification. This is a peer-reviewed program that certifies and monitors projects to improve their benefits to the environment, particularly around restoring urban watersheds.
  • Many materials, such as carpet and fabrics, have high levels of recycled or post-consumer materials; paints and other coatings are low VOC.
  • While the Garden Terrace does not meet the LEED criteria of a green roof, it does reduce the "heat island effect" of the urban area, giving us points toward our LEED Gold (or better) rating. The larger, high roof of Summit is white (reflecting heat vs absorbing heat) and counts positively to our LEED rating.
  • Summit has two large tanks to capture rainwater: The first is a 220,000-gallon tank to collect non-harvested dirty storm water, and the second is a 180,000-gallon tank to collect harvested clean storm water. The dirty storm water will go through a filtering process to become the harvested clean storm water. The clean storm water will be used for landscaping irrigation as well as toilet flushing.

Summit features a programmable building management system to meet and/or exceed current energy standards and run the facility as inexpensively and as green as possible. There are programmable and manual overrides on these to avoid interfering with events.

  • Lighting: Sensors assist with “daylight harvesting” to make maximum use of natural daylight and will dim interior lights when exterior lighting achieves the desired lighting level in a given area.
  • HVAC: Sensors control window shades to open to allow sunlight to warm spaces (vs HVAC) or to close those shades to avoid overheating an area.
  • Radiant floors are located on Levels 2 through 5 on the south-facing side of Summit and on Levels 3 and 4 on the Boren Concourse on the east-facing side of the two meeting room levels. Polished concrete floors will absorb heat from the sun to aid in warming the spaces. The floors have water pipes running through them to:
    • Provide cool circulated water to absorb the sun generated heat during warmer months rather than running the AC longer, and
    • Provide warm (or hot) circulated water to generate heat in the cooler months rather than running the heat longer.

One of the primary missions of the Center is to attract visitors who produce a cycle of spending and economic activity for the city, county, and state. Each event supports the area's economy when the attendees stay in hotels, dine at restaurants, shop, visit attractions, hail a rideshare, or ride the light rail.

By adding a second building, the Center is expanding its economic impact, bringing more high-value events to Seattle with substantial attendee spending and the taxes and jobs that go with it.

The demand for convention space in Seattle was strong prior to the pandemic, with current indicators signaling a return to before-pandemic levels by 2024. In the five years prior to starting construction, SCC could not compete for more than 350 event proposals due to lack of dates or space. This equates to more than $2.13 billion in potential economic benefit that was lost for the region.

While Summit enables SCC to attract a handful of larger conventions with more attendees annually, the far more important benefit is that it will enable both buildings to operate simultaneously and often slightly out of sync, so that when one large conference is active in one building a second conference might be moving in or out of the other.

This demand will have a profound, year-round economic impact on the region. Business owners will see a significant increase in foot traffic and customers. Hotels and restaurants will have new guests and diners. Museums, theaters and performing arts spaces will have new patrons. And beyond downtown, businesses in Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, Denny Triangle, and the Pike/Pine neighborhoods will all benefit from the increase in event attendees. These attendees will come for a meeting but stay to explore the Pacific Northwest. Thousands of new jobs will be created.

Summit construction, which broke ground in 2018, is funded primarily from bond issuances by the Center and supported by existing taxes on hotel room occupancy.

With Summit, the Center sought to create opportunities for small and diverse businesses. SCC and its project partners ultimately exceeded its goals in nearly every category over the lifetime of the project.

  • Nearly $150 million in various scopes of work were awarded to women- and minority-owned business enterprises (WMBE), almost doubling the goal of $80 million. Close to 120 MBE, WMBE, and WBE contractors performed services for the project.
  • Workforce diversity goals were set and exceeded, with these results:
    • 32 percent minority workers
    • 30 percent workers (2,107 people) from Priority Hire ZIP codes, which are in economically distressed areas. The Priority Hire program promotes access to construction careers for women, people of color, and others with social and economic disadvantages. The goal was 19 percent.
    • 22 percent apprentices (1,402 people), including 34 percent minority and 12 percent female. The overall apprentice goal was 15 percent, with goals of 15 percent and 8 percent for minorities and women, respectively.
  • The construction project generated 61 graduates from Clark Construction's Strategic Partnership Program (SPP) over four years. SPP offers small and diverse contractors a rigorous, eight-month professional development course providing comprehensive construction management and business skills training from experienced construction industry leaders at no cost to participants. The intent was to prepare them to bid and participate in Summit and other large-scale commercial construction projects.

To learn more about the Center’s longstanding commitment to advancing the common good, visit our Community Impact page.

Improvements around the building have transformed the pedestrian experience, bringing communities together and creating a safe, active space in Seattle’s downtown core.

The street fronts on all sides of the building will be activated with new retail, artworks, sidewalks, landscaping, and lighting to the equivalent of four city blocks.

This revitalization creates better connections at the intersection of Downtown, Denny Triangle, Capitol Hill and First Hill, with enhanced walking experiences on Pike and Pine Streets between downtown and Capitol Hill, and on Boren and Ninth Avenues.