Skanska Announces Pioneering Partnerships to Provide the First-of-Its Kind Public Arts Program at 2+U’s Urban Village

Press release 6/24/2019 8:00 AM EST

Skanska, leading global development and construction firm, today announced a new partnership with local arts organization Shunpike and the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) to launch free arts and cultural programing at the Urban Village at 2+U, its premier 38-story, Class-A+ office development in downtown Seattle. Together with Skanska, the partners will deliver the first-ever free arts space, The Studio, as well as year-round arts and cultural programming for the Urban Village in The Square.

2U Urban Village

Skanska tapped Seattle-based artist collective Shunpike to manage the arts and cultural users in The Studio. Located within the Urban Village, the 1,100 square-foot workshop and rehearsal space was thoughtfully designed to accommodate all types of local artists within dance, music, vocal performance and theatre. It can also be used as a community meeting space or for visual art presentations. Skanska self-financed the arts space, which will remain free-of-charge to the Seattle arts community, with an emphasis on emerging artists and underserved communities, in perpetuity. Shunpike will also curate large-scale art installations above the 13,000 square-foot outdoor community space in the Urban Village, called The Square, activating the outdoor community space with both regional and national artists. DSA will manage year-round programming of The Square, including a varied rotation of engaging amenities and free activations ranging from temporary art, concerts and classes to large seasonal events.

“Surrounded by such venerated art institutions as the Seattle Art Museum and Benaroya Hall, our goal was to celebrate that rich history while bringing new energy from emerging artists to the Urban Village. This type of public benefit not only enhances the neighborhood, it will help meet the City’s Department of Arts and Culture stated need for more affordable arts performance space,” said Skanska Executive Vice President Murphy McCullough. “Our partnerships with Shunpike and DSA honor the amazing creative legacy of Seattle by creating a dedicated place for the next generation of Seattle’s artists and providing the public with unparalleled access to year-round cultural events.”

“We’re excited to partner with Skanska, while advancing our mission of providing equitable access and opportunities to artists in our region," said Shunpike Executive Director Line Sandsmark. “Bringing local artists to The Studio at 2+U’s Urban Village, and large-scale art installations in the adjacent public Square, will provide a new energizing space for artists to practice and showcase their work, while keeping the arts available and accessible to the public.”

“We’re thrilled to partner with Skanska to program the Urban Village at 2+U,” said DSA President and CEO Jon Scholes. “The bold design of this building creates accessible outdoor space year-round in the heart of downtown Seattle with a dramatic 85-foot canopy. A partnership like this produces accessible amenities for a growing downtown and gives people who visit, live or work in our center city a new way to enjoy it.”

Skanska’s concept for its arts program at the Urban Village developed during the City of Seattle’s alley vacation process, which requires a public benefit component. After multiple meetings with City officials and community stakeholders, Skanska identified a desire and need for arts services and spaces, particularly for disadvantaged communities, and endeavored to create a year-round free space for Seattle’s arts community at 2+U. For more than a year, Skanska worked closely with 4Culture, the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture and KO Projects, Skanska’s arts and cultural consultant and strategic advisor to develop a programming framework and approach for the Studio and the Square. They also enlisted well-known local arts space activation specialist Shanna Waite to inform best uses for the space and to uniform the design of the Studio in the Urban Village. As part of that process, the team also reviewed global examples of public open space activation to develop the programming approach, and conducted a regional search for long-term partners, culminating in the selection of Shunpike and the DSA.

The Urban Village at 2+U spans approximately 24,000 square feet of covered, open and outdoor space nestled under 2+U’s lifted office tower. With five access points, including the refurbished alley off University Street and two welcoming access points from First and Second Avenues, the Urban Village also includes 16,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, a more than 220-foot long structural GeoWall made from local soils, and approximately 1,100 square feet of arts and cultural space named The Studio. The Urban Village also includes The Square, which will feature local art installations and event programming, and The Lookout, where office tenants, shoppers and visitors can take in sweeping views of the Puget Sound. With construction nearly complete at 2+U, Skanska plans to open the Urban Village to the public in late August.

2+U is a 686,000 square-foot office tower in the heart of downtown Seattle. Skanska engaged community stakeholders in the planning stages of the project to create a building that adds immediate value to the tenants and the surrounding community. Located at the corner of Second Avenue and University Street, the building is adjacent to Seattle Art Museum and Benaroya Hall, and just steps from the new waterfront. Through its thoughtful design, 2+U becomes a connection linking the new waterfront, Pioneer Square and surrounding downtown neighborhoods. 2+U is now 60% leased.

Current tenants include:

·Leading online employment search company Indeed.com (200,000 square feet)

·Global collaboration platform firm Dropbox, Inc. (121,000 square feet)

·Flexible workspace innovator Spaces (91,000 square feet)

Other Skanska developments in the Seattle area include Stone34, the global headquarters for Brooks Sports, which was the first project to meet the City of Seattle’s requirements for the city’s Deep Green Pilot Program, making it one of the greenest buildings in the region. At 400 Fairview, Skanska delivered headquarters offices for Tommy Bahama, Impinj and Car Toy’s/Wireless Advocates, and assembled a Market Hall with mix of local retailers, as well as a rooftop restaurant with unparalleled views. Skanska also developed Alley 111, a 260-unit multi-family project with 6,000 square feet of retail in the community of Bellevue.

In July 2018, Skanska purchased a land parcel located at NE 8th and 108th in the Bellevue’s downtown core, ideally located near major Bellevue employers, including Microsoft’s Bellevue Campus, Amazon, Salesforce, Paccar, Symetra, Expedia and Concur. In October 2017, Skanska also purchased the 2200 Block, a 19,440 square-foot parcel comprised of three properties on 4th Avenue in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, which is currently being designed and entitled for a 300-unit multifamily tower.

With more than 70 years of history in the Puget Sound region, Skanska combines generations of local knowledge with the vast tools of a global development and construction firm to build what matters for local communities. Skanska’s portfolio ranges from investing its own capitol and developing award-winning sustainable real estate, like Brooks Sports’ headquarters at Stone34, to building local landmarks, such as Benaroya Hall and the Museum of Glass, major infrastructure projects like the replacement of the southern mile of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and small tenant improvements. Recognized as one of the region’s top corporate philanthropists, Skanska is also committed to creating new opportunities for local small, traditionally disadvantaged businesses.