June 15, 2021
Press Releases & News

Washington State Convention Center Addition Project Team Marks Completion of Steel Superstructure with Topping Out Celebration

SEATTLE, WA - The Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) project team recently recognized a major milestone in the construction of the Addition project, also known as the Summit building. On June 11, construction crews hoisted the final beam in the steel structure, officially “topping out” the 1.5 million square-foot building. Clark is leading construction efforts on the project as part of the joint venture team Clark | Lewis.

“This is an exciting day that is dedicated to the people who made this project a reality,” said Frank Finneran, chair of the WSCC Board of Directors. “The past year has tested us, but the construction crews are innovators and problem solvers. They have kept going and kept safe while advancing this transformative project.”

On Friday, June 11, construction crews hoisted the final beam onto the steel structure, officially “topping out” the building.  

To thank craftworkers and commemorate the moment, local luminaries and sports icons, including King County Executive Dow Constantine, Microsoft President Brad Smith, and retired Seattle Seahawks Offensive Tackle and NFL Hall of Fame member Walter Jones, contributed congratulatory messages in a short video that was shared with the Addition’s construction team during the topping out. Due to COVID‐19 protocols, the milestone was celebrated virtually rather than holding a large gathering of project team members on site.

Since breaking ground in 2018, Addition crews have erected 21,000 tons of steel. Their construction efforts will double the existing capacity of the Washington State Convention Center, adding approximately 255,000 square feet of exhibition space, 120,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and 60,000 square feet of ballroom space.

“The topping out ceremony is an opportunity to salute the men and women building the project for their dedication to their craft and to this project during an extraordinary time,” said Ben Eitan, vice president with Clark. “Fifteen months ago, we could not have imagined the circumstances brought on by the pandemic. Despite them, our team and partners have risen to the challenge and continued to move construction safely forward, demonstrating that Seattle has the best talent – and people – to deliver this project.”

In the five years prior to the start of construction, the WSCC had to turn away as much business as it booked due to space or schedule constraints. The expanded capacity will allow the region to capture more than $2 billion in lost revenue associated with the hundreds of events it couldn’t accommodate in the preexisting space. When operating at capacity, Summit operations are anticipated to generate an estimated $260 million per year in visitor spending and create 2,300 new permanent jobs at the facility and in hospitality‐ related businesses that are depending on a strong recovery from the devastating effects of the COVID‐19 pandemic.   

Throughout its construction, the Addition has served as an important economic driver. To date, approximately $135 million of subcontracted work has been awarded to more than 100 minority‐ or women‐owned (M/WBE) businesses. In addition to surpassing the project’s M/WBE contracting goal, the Clark | Lewis team has also exceeded goals for minority worker participation, apprentices, including minority and women apprentices, as well as workers from priority areas.

Since breaking ground in 2018, Addition crews have erected 21,000 tons of steel.

“From day one on this project, Clark | Lewis, Pine Street Group, and Convention Center leaders committed to ensuring this project would serve as a platform for economic opportunity. We are proud that this project has and continues to play an important role in Seattle's economic growth and recovery,” said Gary Smith, senior vice president with Lease Crutcher Lewis.

The Addition will activate four city blocks with new sidewalks, lighting, retail, and landscaping to transform the pedestrian experience, bringing communities together and creating a safe, active space in Seattle’s downtown core.

“This project will truly be transformative for the city and for the region,” said Tom Norwalk, President & CEO of Visit Seattle. “Seattle has unique qualities as a meetings and convention destination. The Summit building will enable WSCC to more effectively capitalize on that and bring even more tourism revenue to the region. Its neighborhood‐driven design approach emphasizes public spaces and pedestrian connections. The WSCC Board of Directors’ commitment to diversity and inclusion on this construction project has created important opportunities for local workers and businesses. This project helps position the region for a vibrant post‐pandemic recovery.”

The Addition is scheduled to open in mid‐2022.