Thoughtful development


Paul Allen's unique approach to building vibrant, sustainable communities.

If you call Seattle home, you’re in good company. Since co-founding Microsoft, Paul Allen has remained in the Pacific Northwest and has invested billions into community-minded improvements, real estate development,and philanthropic initiatives.

Whether saving the Seahawks as their bags were packed for California, preserving the iconic Cinerama movie theater, opening museums and scientific research institutes, and introducing events like the Seattle Art Fair and Upstream Music Fest + Summit, in no small part, Paul has contributed to shaping Seattle into a world class city.

His commitment to his hometown is also reflected in his approach to real estate development. As a for-profit arm of the company, Vulcan Real Estate is tasked with creating projects that are not only successful but also seek to improve the physical landscape as well as provide positive outcomes for everyone in the footprint. In addition to keeping the arts and environment at the core of Vulcan Real Estate's mission, the profits from its activities help fund many of Paul's important, philanthropic ventures like his $100 million pledge in response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak, conservation projects like the Great Elephant Census, and his commitment to helping find solutions to the homelessness in Seattle.

Through Vulcan Real Estate, Paul is dedicated to pursuing projects that are vibrant, responsive, and collaborative. These practices are tied to his values; asking questions, prioritizing sustainability, incorporating public art and historic preservation, and supporting local non-profits and public/private partnerships benefiting communities.

Creating long-term value

Creating long-term value

A classic Seattle scene. Coffee and laptops.

A classic Seattle scene. Coffee and laptops.

Paul's MoPOP hosts exhibits featuring the pop culture icons of music, television, film and more.

Paul's MoPOP hosts exhibits featuring the pop culture icons of music, television, film and more.

South Lake Union Block Party

South Lake Union Block Party

Celebrating our past



Paul's appreciation for historic preservation is integrated into Vulcan Real Estate's approach to retaining neighborhood character by incorporating historic features into development.

Van Vorst Building / Amazon

A former stable for delivery-wagon horses, Vulcan Real Estate preserved the iconic exterior of this century-old building while renovating it into a conference center for the Amazon.com headquarters.

New Richmond Laundry Building

Developed in 1917 during Seattle's steam laundry boom, the original brick facade was incorporated into the residential design of the Alley24 apartments.

Ford and Pacific McKay Building / Allen Institute

Inside the Allen Institute, some of the world's greatest minds are leading bio-science research into the future. The exterior, however, tells a story of the past. Constructed in 1922, the Ford and Pacific McKay buildings were auto showrooms and part of Seattle's original "auto row". The terra cotta facades, exterior granite, interior marble base and tile fountain, decorative stairs, wood trim, exterior archway, and terrazzo entry piece were all disassembled, cataloged, stored, and intricately reinstalled by Vulcan Real Estate during the construction process.

Cinerama Theater

Since 1963, Cinerama offered audiences thrilling film experiences, but by the 1990s the rise of the suburban multiplex lead to Belltown’s Cinerama facing an uncertain future. After noticing a flier hanging on the door of a local video store seeking public support to save Cinerama, Paul stepped in to save the theater. He purchased the building and property and set to work restoring the interior; with the ultimate goal of preserving the character of the theater while outfitting it with the latest technology.

Now, Cinerama has returned to its former glory; with the retro-inspired mural, food and beverages from Seattle’s most iconic chefs, displays of original film costumes from Paul’s personal pop culture collection, and mind-blowing digital laser projection and surround sound. It’s hard for most Seattleites to imagine the corner of 4th and Lenora without the red and blue marquee and smell of Cinerama’s famous chocolate popcorn wafting through the doors.

Van Vorst Building, a former stable for delivery-wagon horses.

Van Vorst Building, a former stable for delivery-wagon horses.

New Richmond Laundry Building

New Richmond Laundry Building

Allen Institute

Allen Institute

Cinerama's mural

Cinerama's mural

Wherever we build we try to improve, protect and preserve

Vulcan Real Estate is a leader in green development, revolutionizing stormwater treatment and protecting salmon habitats.










Empowered by Paul’s vision to make a positive difference in the world and protect ocean health, Vulcan Real Estate is committed to leadership in sustainable, green building practices. South Lake Union is a case study for sustainability-driven development.

  • Swale on Yale; a natural biofiltration structure cleaning metals, oils and pesticides out of 190 million gallons of contaminated storm water from Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood before it flows into Lake Union
  • 35 LEED certified buildings
  • Vulcan Real Estate is the world’s first Salmon-Safe accredited developer, with eleven Salmon-Safe-certifiedprojects to date, including the Seattle campuses for Google and Facebook. In addition, it is Paul’s hope that other developers will consider their impact on Seattle and become Salmon-Safe accredited. Through his philanthropic organization he has committed $250,000 to the Salmon-Safe Puget Sound Accelerator, which applies certification, developer incentives, and other market-based tools to inspire other landowners and developers to reduce water quality impacts across the Puget Sound.
  • $30 million invested in environmental remediation around South Lake Union construction

Seeing an opportunity to make an even bigger impact on Seattle, Vulcan Real Estate became a founding member of Seattle 2030 District, a public-private collaboration of building owners, designers, NGO's, and local government entities working to significantly reduce building energy use, water use, and carbon emissions in downtown Seattle on a district-wide basis by the year 2030.

Swale On Yale

Swale On Yale

Salmon heading upstream

Salmon heading upstream

"Art helps us see the world around us a little differently"
- Paul Allen

Paul believes art should be accessible and appreciated, and has incorporated that spirit into Vulcan Real Estate's portfolio. To date, we have commissioned and installed 28 public artworks by artists from the Northwest and beyond. Throughout neighborhoods in Seattle, you can discover art in shared, public spaces and incorporated into the structures themselves. Click here for a map of all the public art commissioned by Vulcan Real Estate.

Connecting with the community

Vulcan Real Estate is a local company with a good-neighbor policy put into practice before, during and after each project.

Before Paul and his team pursue development, they begin by talking to the people in that community to discover what is important to them and how projects can play a role in fostering healthy, vibrant neighborhoods.

Prior to any development at 23rd and Jackson in the Central Area, Paul’s team conducted over 100 outreach meetings with the community, as well as a hosting an open house where 120 community members provided input. The Central Area is one of the oldest residential communities in Seattle, and is beloved for its rich history and strong cultural heritage.

In South Lake Union Vulcan Real Estate has hosted the South Lake Union Block Party; the largest festival celebrating neighborhood with food, art, music, and annual participation from nearly 100 local businesses and organizations. The event has raised over $100,000 for non-profit organizations like Plymouth Housing, YouthCare, Farestart, and Mary’s Place, who are providing essential services to diverse communities in the South Lake Union neighborhood.

Over the years, Vulcan Real Estate's development has added more than 40,000 new jobs, is a catalyst for $10 billion of new public and private investments, and returned $200 million and counting in tax revenue to the City of Seattle. In every venture Paul Allen pursues—whether exploring the deepest frontiers, researching in his home waters, or pursuing thoughtful development that helps create spaces where communities can thrive—he seeks to be a good neighbor contributing to a better world.

For more information, visit www.vulcanrealestate.com.