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Nintendo celebrates new grand, green building in Redmond
Video game heroes Mario and Luigi welcomed Nintendo executives and Washington Governor Chris Gregoire at Thursday afternoon's ribbon-cutting for the new, gorgeous and "green" Nintendo of America headquarters at 4600 150th Ave. NE in Redmond.
Current and former Redmond mayors John Marchione and Rosemarie Ives and many City of Redmond staff members were also on hand for the festivities.
Redmond has been the proud home of Nintendo of America since 1982. In fall 2008, the company broke ground on this new, state-of-the-art building that has been occupied by 650 employees since April 19.
The 300,000 square-foot building, on a nearly 10-acre lot, replaces the building at 4820 150th Ave. NE and includes a parking garage with more than 900 spaces — as well as seven electric vehicle charging spaces and 46 bicycle parking spots.
Impressive green features of the new building include the facts that nearly 40 percent of its materials are made from recycled content, including rebar, metal framing, restroom counters made from recycled glass in concrete, wood paneling, insulation, glass, ceiling tiles, carpet tiles, wood flooring and rubber flooring.
The building also makes generous use of rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo flooring, bamboo millwork and casework, cork wall covering, cork underlayment and rubber flooring.
The headquarters' fourth floor features stunning views of the mountains and one of the largest green roofs in the area, nearly 75,000 square feet, with low-water vegetation that diverts rain water, protects the life of the roof underneath and reduces the building's heat load.
A series of 13 skylights bring natural light deep into the building and an under-floor displacement ventilation system reduces energy needed to cool the building.
In keeping with the green trend, the new Nintendo of America building has energy-efficient features in its kitchens and restrooms and simple-to-use recycling systems.
Actual use of the color green plays into the way that the building is organized. The building is divided into color-coded quadrants named for video game characters Mario, Yoshi, Donkey Kong and Wario. The main board room on the fourth floor is named "Master Sword" as a salute to the popular "Legend of Zelda" game.
Still to be added to the Nintendo of America headquarters is an employee fitness center with cardio machines, yoga facilities and more.
In his welcoming remarks at the building's grand opening, Tatsumi Kimishima, chairman and CEO of Nintendo of America thanked consumers, the community and employees for making it possible to "continue our commitment to offer new and fun surprises," as well as "being good citizens ... and able to provide ongoing employment."
Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo Co., Ltd. came from Kyoto, Japan to commend those employees who "put smiles on the faces of our consumers" and added that the company's innovative spirit was reflected in the construction of the new building, designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects of Seattle, with Turner Construction as the contractor.
Almost every piece of the building was pre-built to computer specifications, resulting in greater time efficiency, Iwata noted.
Gregoire expressed her admiration for both the new headquarters and Nintendo of America itself, commenting, "To attract world class talent, you need world class amenities" and describing the company as one "that supports good jobs for our creative citizens."
And Jim Cannataro, executive vice president of administration for Nintendo of America, praised Redmond mayors Marchione and Ives and city planners for their support throughout the company's successful tenure in Redmond.