Clocking In Next Year, Juno’s New HQ Keeps A Hand On Seattle History

Xconomy Seattle — 

Biotech folks in Seattle have real estate on their minds. Last week, the giant “Helix” campus in the Interbay neighborhood, once expected to be a local biotech anchor for decades, was nabbed by online travel site Expedia.

This week, rising biotech star Juno Therapeutics (NASDAQ: JUNO) ended its quest for new headquarters, announcing a seven-year lease of 80,000 square feet in a to-be-constructed glass box in South Lake Union, Seattle’s biotech-rich neighborhood now dominated by Amazon’s new sprawling headquarters. Juno is expected to get the keys to the space in August 2016, though it might take a while after that to move in.

(For those who really love real estate: Juno is paying $48 a square foot initially, with a 2.5 percent annual increase, and options to increase its footprint.)

The site of the new building has historical significance. On that block of Dexter used to be the headquarters of Joseph Mayer’s company, whose street clocks are still sprinkled throughout Seattle—although not always in their original locations:

The company sold clocks up and down the West Coast; one famous example, which reportedly worked its way into the stories of Dashiell Hammett, is still on Market Street in San Francisco.

Mayer himself committed suicide in 1937, perhaps on site, according to a Seattle city landmark document.


Courtesy of the City of Seattle.

In recent years, the block’s low-slung buildings, soon to be replaced, have hosted a reprographics company, a metal arts foundry, an aikido studio, a fitness center, and a bright red cafe—painted to match the Mayer clock, now a city landmark and still standing on the corner of Dexter and Harrison.

According to a February report on the real estate site Curbed, the new 12-story project will featured the refurbished clock as the centerpiece of a plaza.