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James William (JW), Anna Clise and their baby daughter, Ruth, arrive in Seattle from Denver the day after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889. JW and Anna survey the smoking ruins of the city and don't see devastation, but rather, see but opportunity to rebuild Seattle and help set it on its path to become the beautiful Emerald City it is today.

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JW immediately gets to work finding outside investors to help rebuild Seattle. One such investor is Lyman Smith, owner of the Smith Corona Typewriter Company of Syracuse, NY. With this introduction, Seattle's future takes its first step forward. JW negotiates all of Smith's Western real estate purchases and investments. Smith's investment in Seattle, facilitated by JW,  produces one of the city's most iconic landmarks - the Smith Tower.

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JW impresses many East Coast investors with the opportunities Seattle has to offer. Like Smith, these individuals invest in Seattle's real estate and future. JW purchases the land for these investors, who, in turn, hire JW to manage their properties. Investing other people's money in Seattle real estate and managing their properties develops into a thriving business for JW. Accordingly, just 14 months after he arrives in Seattle, he establishes the Clise Investment Company to buy, sell, develop, lease and manage real estate and to borrow and lend money.

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When JW and Anna arrive in Seattle, the University of Washington occupies a ten acre tract adjacent to Seattle's downtown business district. By the mid-1890s, the university has outgrown this site. JW and another influential property investor, James A. Moore, join forces to find the university a larger campus. JW and Moore select a 160-acre tract of land north of Seattle on Lake Washington's Union Bay with sweeping views of Mt. Rainier. The land becomes the cornerstone of the University of Washington's current campus, which now comprises over 643 acres.

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In 1900, JW is elected president of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

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JW Clise negotiates the establishment of Fort Lawton on Magnolia Bluff, west of Seattle. Fort Lawton is later transferred to the City of Seattle on September 1, 1972 and renamed Discovery Park. Today, Discovery Park is the City's largest public park, comprising 534 acres and nearly 12 miles of walking trails.

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JW provides financing for the first two major irrigation canals in Eastern Washington - the Selah-Moxee Canal and the 25-mile-long Highline Canal near Wenatchee. These two canals deliver irrigation water to Eastern Washington and are primarily responsible for starting Eastern Washington's multi-billion dollar agricultural industry.

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Well aware of the benefits of managing other people's money, JW recognizes Seattle's accelerating growth as a great opportunity to become involved in banking. Putting together a starting capital of $500,000, JW establishes the Washington Trust Company, one of Seattle's first banks. Washington Trust Company becomes affiliated with Dexter Horton National Bank, which is later re-named Seattle First National Bank. Seattle First National Bank is known locally as Seafirst Bank and is now the Bank of America.

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JW Clise purchases 450 acres at the north end of Lake Sammamish and builds his family's country retreat, which he names Willowmoor. The property is purchased by King County in 1962 and redeveloped into one of the region's most popular parks. The 28-room mansion that JW built is retained, and the park is renamed Marymoor Park. Willowmoor, which is now referred to as the Clise Mansion, is currently open to the public and is a favorite venue for weddings, receptions and meetings.

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Founded in 1906 by JW to buy, sell, develop, lease and manage Pacific Northwest real estate, the Washington Securities Company exists today and continues with the same mission for which it was established.  JW Clise serves as Chairman of the Board of Washington Securities Company for 31 years.

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Three months after the Washington Securities Company's first stockholders' meeting, JW makes a decision that will profoundly affect the company into the next millennium. JW decides to build one of Seattle's first high-rise office buildings at 1903 Fourth Avenue in downtown Seattle. Named the Securities Building, the building will serve as the corporate headquarters for all Clise companies until 2003.

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In 1899, JW and Anna lose their third child, Willis Herr Clise, to inflammatory rheumatism. The loss of Willis inspires the creation of a legacy that continues to serve the children of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest to this day. After Willis' death, Anna dedicates her time and energy to bring much-needed medical care to children across the region. After nearly ten years of continued effort and tens of thousands of railroad miles traveled, Anna and her committee of like-minded women recruit doctors and medical staff to practice pediatric medicine in a new facility dedicated to the treatment of children. In 1907, Anna Clise establishes the Children's Orthopedic Hospital, later renamed Seattle Children's Hospital.

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JW helps organize the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and simultaneously he establishes the first livestock exhibit at the University of Washington. The livestock exhibit becomes a permanent annual event that eventually outgrows its Seattle location and is relocated to Puyallup, WA. The event is now an annual tradition enjoyed by millions known as the Puyallup Fair.

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Following the Regrade of Denny Hill, construction of the Securities Building commences in July,1912 and is completed in May, 1917. With its elegant classical architectural design, beautiful lobby, stained glass skylight, terrazzo floors and Alaska Blue Marble wainscoting, the Securities Building continues to be one of Seattle's finest examples of early 20th Century architecture.

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JW Clise leads successful negotiations for the location and funding of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and Hiram Chittenden Locks in Seattle.

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In 1938, James William Clise passes away. JW's legacy in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest is felt to this day: the Smith Tower, Discovery Park, the irrigation system in Yakima and Wenatchee that nourishes Washington State's breadbasket, Lake Washington's Ship Canal and Hiram Chittenden Locks, the University of Washington, the Puyallup Fair and Marymoor Park.

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Charlie Clise, JW's eldest son, follows in his father's footsteps. A graduate of Yale college and an engineering officer for the United States Army, Charlie and his wife Rosalind Hammer have four children: Alfred, Jocelyn, Sylvia and Charles, Jr. After JW's passing in 1938, Charlie becomes president of the Washington Securities Company, the Securities Mortgage Company, Clise Agency and Clise and Cummins, Inc. One of Charlie's first acts is to begin the purchase of property in the Denny Regrade, a long term strategy that will eventually result in the assemblage of the largest concentration of contiguous developable land in a major city's downtown core anywhere in the United States.

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Rosalind's love of the outdoors manifests itself in her work with the Seattle Girl Scouts during the years of its greatest growth in membership and property acquisition. In 1934, Rosalind facilitates the acquisition of waterfront property on Hood Canal that becomes Camp Robinswold. That same year, Rosalind donates funds to construct the camp's lodge in memory of Anna Clise. In 1941, Rosalind donates the funds necessary to purchase an additional seven acres on Lake Washington for Camp Terrywood on Mercer Island. In 1951, Rosalind donates funds to purchase 35 acres on the Tolt River near Carnation, Washington for another Girl Scout camp. One section of the camp is named Rosalind Bay in honor of Rosalind Clise. 

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Charlie's leadership and vision as a civic and a business leader is confirmed by his election to the Seattle Chamber of Commerce as president in 1944.

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Working through the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Charlie establishes committees to cushion the impact of the US Military's cancellation of wartime contracts that cause the loss of tens of thousands of local jobs. Charlie's goal is to rapidly convert the Puget Sound region's economy back to a peacetime economy. Charlie establishes numerous committees and appoints business leaders to run them. Charlie's committees include the Tourism and Pacific Rim Trade Committee, the Duwamish Waterway Expansion Committee, the Alaska Highway Expansion Committee, and the Columbia River Basin Agricultural Development Committee, among others.

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Taking advantage of the newly constructed Lake Washington floating bridge connecting east King County to Seattle via Mercer Island, along with the increased demand for housing, Charlie purchases 44 acres on the north end of Mercer Island. He develops the Shorewood Apartments, a 645-unit apartment complex, which continues to be one of Mercer Island's premium multi-family residential developments.

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Charlie, through the Chamber of Commerce, lobbies King County voters to approve a bond issue to build a modern air terminal at a new regional airport at Bow Lake. The new terminal opens in July of 1949 and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is born.

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In 1949, a severe, 7.1 magnitude earthquake hits Seattle. The ground shakes for 30 seconds and is felt over a 230,000 square mile area. The Securities Building is severely damaged and a major renovation program is undertaken to replace the building's cornices, repaint the building, repair the building's interior, install a new elevator and upgrade three existing elevators.

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After his exemplary service with the U.S. Marines, Charlie's eldest son Alfred becomes involved with the company. Alfred is elected to the company's Board of Directors in 1950, where he joins his father, his uncles, Jim Clise and Irving Colwell, and his cousin, Robert Colwell.

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In 1947, Alfred marries Joyce McKay, of Spokane, who graduated from Whitman College and then from Columbia University's Graduate School of Music. Alfred and Joyce have four children; Richard, Al, Charlie and Nancy.

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In 1959, Charlie F. Clise is honored by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce for his dedication of time and support -- surpassing any other president in its history. For Charlie's service, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce presents him with an honorary life membership recognizing all the efforts that promoted Seattle's business climate, civic projects and educational development.

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Charlie Francis Clise passes away on July 5, 1961. Charlie was exceptionally generous with his time, effort and financial support of the community - especially its non-profit organizations that worked with youth. Charlie served as a board member for 18 different non-profit organizations. Charlie had taken what his father had created and built on it. And, like his father, Charlie realized the incredible value and impact he and his peers at the Chamber of Commerce could bring to bear on virtually any issue affecting not only the city, but the entire region. Most importantly, Charlie's foresight prepared the company and indeed, the entire city, for survival through the transition from a wartime industrial powerhouse, dependent on government contracts, to an equally dynamic peacetime powerhouse guided by the perseverance, vision and confidence of its business leaders.  

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Following the passing of his father, Charlie, Alfred assumes control of Clise Properties. 

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Recognizing the need to grow the Company, Alfred embarks on an ambitious development program. During the course of his 19 years leading Clise, Alfred develops over one million square feet of commercial office space in five office buildings in downtown Seattle, including the Sixth & Lenora Building, the Denny Building, the Pacific Building, the Genetic Systems Building and the Westin Building.  

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In 1963, Alfred develops, in partnership with Dick Hadley, the 11-story Sixth & Lenora Building in the Denny Regrade neighborhood.

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Al, Alfred's son, works at Clise during his high school summers to learn the business of commercial real estate. He starts at the entry level doing hard manual labor: tarring roofs, hauling wallboard, demolishing walls and hanging drywall.

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In 1968, Alfred, in partnership with Dick Hadley, develops the 12-story Denny Building in the Denny Regrade neighborhood, one block north of the Sixth & Lenora Building.

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In 1970, Alfred and Dick Hadley develop the 23-story Pacific Building, located in Seattle's Central Business District.

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Al graduates from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he was a 3-year starting basketball player and team captain for the Division 1 Rebels. After graduation, he works in the casino and hotel industry in Las Vegas for four years before relocating to Dallas to pursue commercial real estate opportunities.

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Al returns to Seattle to continue his professional career. In Seattle, Al joins Richard Hadley to represent Clise Properties in the development of the Westin Building. Soon thereafter, in 1980, Al rejoins Clise.

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In 1980, Alfred develops the four-story, 60,000 square foot Genetic Systems Building on Seattle's downtown waterfront.

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Clise Properties partners with Westin Hotels and Hadley Properties to build the thirty-four story, 400,000-square-foot Westin Office Building on Sixth Avenue and Virginia Street.

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Confident in Al's abilities to run Clise, Alfred hands over the day-to-day management of the company to Al. As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Alfred set the general direction of the company, but he left it to Al to run Clise as its President and Chief Operating Officer.

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Al and the Clise team transform the former Westin Building into the Northwest's premier carrier hotel, a thirty-four story data center with the power and cooling systems necessary to provide equipment, space, and bandwidth to its high-tech customers.

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Al Clise becomes president of the Building Owners and Managers Association, Seattle, King County (BOMA) whose mission is to advance a vibrant commercial real estate industry through advocacy, influence and knowledge.

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To further diversify its portfolio, Clise Properties purchases the five-story, 123 room, Best Western Executive Inn located near the Seattle Center. 

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Alfred Clise passes away in May, 1993 and leaves the company much larger and in stronger financial condition than when he took the reigns. During his tenure, Alfred helps develop five major office buildings: the Sixth and Lenora Building, the Denny Building, the Westin Building, the Genetic Systems Building and the Pacific Building and did so with very little debt. Alfred set the stage for his son, Al, to take the company to the next level.

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Al Clise becomes Chairman and CEO of Clise Properties, Inc.

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Al Clise becomes President of the Downtown Seattle Association, whose mission is to champion a healthy, vibrant urban core.

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In 1995, Al hires Richard Stevenson to be Clise’s Chief Operating Office. Having worked for two of Seattle’s most prestigious development companies, Wright-Runstad and Company and Stimson Bullitt's Harbor Properties, Richard is well versed in all aspects of commercial real estate development, leasing and management.  Richard remembers the talented people he'd worked with and successfully recruits them to join Clise Properties. With Richard on board, Al is confident that he can now take Clise to the next level. Richard was promoted to President of Clise Properties, Inc. in April, 2003, and retired in 2017, after more than two decades of successful leadership. 

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Recognizing the need to redevelop unproductive real estate to its highest and best use, Al and Richard partner with prestigious national retailer, Nordstrom, to develop the award-winning 500,000-square foot 1700 Seventh Avenue building on the site of the old Music Hall Theater. The development also includes the provision of 64 units of affordable housing at Stewart Court. An immediate success, 1700 Seventh Avenue is voted NAIOP's 2001 International Office Building of the Year and in 2005, 1700 Seventh wins the Office Building of the Year (TOBY) Award presented at the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International's annual North American Commercial Real Estate Congress and The Office Building Show. 

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After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Al Clise works with other Seattle business leaders to establish the Seattle Police Foundation. The foundation's mission is to raise support and awareness for the Seattle Police Department and its officers.

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To add to its hotel portfolio, Clise Properties purchases the 4-story, 91 room, Loyal Inn in the heart of the Denny Regrade.

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In 2006, the Clise team, along with other Seattle business leaders, facilitates the revision of Seattle's zoning laws to allow higher density. This revision fulfills Al's vision of creating a city where people can live and work downtown. The new zoning laws, known as the "Vancouver Model," enlarge the high-rise, high-density footprint of the city's core, including the Denny Regrade, where most of Clise's prime real estate is located.

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Realizing that Washington Securities Company was unlikely to develop Block "T", Clise Properties sells the land  to Bosa Development using a tax deferred exchange. This exchange allows for the purchase of the first three of the company's Medical Office Buildings. Pictured is Insignia, a residential building created by Bosa Development on Clise’s former Block “T” property.

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Concerned that the company’s portfolio is too concentrated in downtown Seattle and commercial office space, Clise Properties diversifies by purchasing Class-A, non-commercial office space within and outside Seattle. Clise Properties, Inc. begins its diversification into medical office real estate with the purchase of the Allenmore I and II properties in Tacoma, as well as the Medical Pavilion Building in Federal Way.

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Demand for the Westin Building space is growing so fast that Clise needs more co-location space. To accommodate the Westin Building's growing demand for co-location space, the Clise team redevelops the Sixth & Lenora Building's parking garage into a ten-story, 126,000 square foot state-of-the-art co-location center with direct fiber connectivity to the Westin Building. Named the 2020 Fifth Avenue Building, it is fully leased when it is completed in March 2013.

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Clise Properties sells four city blocks in the Denny Regrade to Amazon for its new world headquarters. When developed, the property will accommodate 4.4 million square feet of office space that, when combined with Amazon's other South Lake Union properties, create the largest urban corporate headquarters in the United States at more than 10 million square feet. Overnight, Amazon's purchase transforms the Denny Regrade into one of America's most popular commercial office and luxury high rise residential markets.

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Clise further diversifies its portfolio with the purchase of Highland Corporate Campus in Bothell,  a Class A three building office/flex/research campus comprising 173,254 square feet.  

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Clise Properties, Inc. expands its medical office portfolio with the purchase of three Class A, medical office buildings at the Sunrise Medical Campus in Puyallup, WA.

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The brainchild of Richard Stevenson, Clise Properties, in association with Amazon.com and McKinstry Mechanical Group, establishes the Denny Regrade Ecodistrict. The first of its kind in the United States, the Ecodistrict uses heated cooling water from the Westin Building to heat Amazon's new world headquarters buildings. The cooled water from Amazon's buildings is then recycled back to the Westin Building to cool the Westin Building's data centers.  

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Clise expands its medical office portfolio again with the purchase of the 2-story, 32,000 square foot, Class A, Maplewood Medical/Professional office building in Federal Way.

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Clise Properties purchases the La Quinta Hotel in downtown Seattle. This purchase provides Clise with a now developable half block on Eighth Avenue between Bell and Blanchard Streets.

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On December 7, 2015, Clise Properties begins construction on an elite residential development in the Denny Triangle. The 40-story, 450-unit apartment complex will be Seattle's premier residential tower, featuring a multitude of amenities. Located at 2208 Eighth Avenue, the building is expected to open in July of 2018.

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Amazon purchases Clise’s half block known as Block 18 on Seventh Avenue between Blanchard and Bell Streets to accommodate its explosive growth. Named the Urban Treehouse, the 17-story, 405,000 square foot Class A office building is scheduled to open in 2020 and will be Amazon’s fifth office tower in the Denny Regrade. It will feature a glass-enclosed exterior staircase through the center of the building, resembling a ladder running up to a child’s treehouse.

 

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Continuing its portfolio diversification into medical office space, Clise purchases the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Lynnwood, Washington. Comprising 28,185 square feet on two floors and leased entirely by Virginia Mason Health System, Virginia Mason Lynwood is located across from Alderwood Mall with direct access to I-5 and I-405. Virginia Mason Lynnwood provides excellent and convenient primary care, medical imaging and a comprehensive array of medical and surgical specialty offerings for patients in north Seattle and Everett.

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With its grand opening on August 1, 2018, McKenzie becomes Seattle’s premier luxury high rise apartment building featuring 450 world-class apartment homes in the heart of Seattle’s thriving Denny Regrade neighborhood, just across Eighth Avenue from Amazon’s world headquarters. McKenzie’s unique elliptical shape and dramatic mirrored exterior transforms Seattle’s skyline and provides residents with unsurpassed views of Seattle, the Olympic Mountains, the Cascade Range, Elliott Bay and Lake Union.

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Vancouver, B.C. based Onni Development purchases Clise’s half block known as Block V on Seventh Avenue between Bell and Battery Streets to develop a residential, office and retail urban lifestyle center. Onni’s 1 million square foot development will feature two 42-story residential towers with 609 apartments, 322,321 square feet of Class A office space, 10,500 square feet of retail space and 543 underground parking stalls.

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With the revision of Seattle’s zoning laws to allow higher density in 2006, the Denny Regrade becomes an attractive location for high-rise mixed use urban development. This allows Clise to  begin the process of fulfilling the company’s 80-year vision to transform the Denny Regrade into a vibrant urban neighborhood. Beginning with Clise’s sale of Block T to Bosa for the Insignia condominiums in 2006, and continuing with Clise’s 2011 construction of the 11 story 2020 Westin Building Annex on Fifth Avenue, the sale of four blocks to Amazon in 2012 for its new world headquarters, the establishment of the Denny Regrade EcoDistrict in 2014, the sale of Block 18 to Amazon for its fifth world headquarters office tower, the completion of McKenzie in 2018 and the sale to Onni  of Block V in 2018 —in addition to the multiple office and residential towers constructed or currently under construction — the Denny Regrade is now Seattle’s most vibrant and dynamic urban neighborhood.

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