FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | April 1, 2017 (April Fools!)
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 within days 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 generates environmental benefits and rural jobs in logging and milling.
“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,” said Gene Duvernoy of Forterra. “What better way to proclaim the promise of this innovative product than to knock down the Space Needle and replace it with a CLT replica?”
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said, “Constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle is an international symbol of the optimism of the Space Age. With all the challenges facing our region, we need a new symbol to bring together the four corners of our state. This is our time, and now we have our symbol: also the Space Needle.”
Space Needle spokesperson Douglas 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.”
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. One proviso: the lower observation deck must incorporate affordable housing.
Reached for comment, King County Executive Dow Constantine added, “What the hell—why not?”
Rendering of completed CLT Space Needle