The Seattle Times.
In a city where households with dogs outnumber those with kids, Seattle's historic Dexter Horton building is introducing a rare workplace amenity -- an indoor dog lounge where workers taking a break from business can bring their dogs to do theirs.
A carpet of artificial grass, complete with a vintage metal fire hydrant, offers pooches a place to go off-leash and relieve themselves.
An irrigation system below the gently sloping turf treats liquid waste and flushes it into a drain. Owners are expected to pick up their pet's poop and dispose of it in the trash bin.
A ventilation system maintains negative pressure in the room, pulling air through a charcoal filter 15 times per hour and keeping any smells from wafting into the hallway.
It all makes the dog-walking areas outside Amazon's many office buildings look a bit primitive.
The dog lounge is one of several changes since Portland real-estate developer Gerding Edlen bought the 15-story building at Second Avenue and Cherry Street last year for $77 million. The building is about 11 percent vacant.
"We have the only dog-sanitation room in an office building downtown," said real-estate broker Dan Dahl, of Colliers International, which markets the building to prospective tenants. "We're trying to offer a package of amenities that'll appeal to employees."
Spencer Norris, an employee of a firm in the building, took a break Thursday morning to bring his 1-year-old boxer, Benny, to the dog lounge.
"It works," Norris said. "You don't smell anything."
Some office workers must juggle their schedules with the need to go home and let their dog out -- or face a stinky mess indoors.
And the alternative of doggy day care is expensive at $20 to $35 a day, he said.
With the dog lounge in his building, Norris said, he could envision bringing Benny to work for a half day and paying for only a half-day of day care.
"I wouldn't be surprised if you see more (office) buildings follow suit," he said.
Besides the dog lounge, Gerding Edlen is making available to building tenants a new bike locker room with showers and a rooftop clubhouse. Employees taking their dogs to and from the dog lounge will have to use a freight elevator.
It's not the first time the 90-year-old building has been pioneering in potties.
In the 1920s, the Dexter Horton's boosters touted its centralized lavatories as a first in an office building in the West, complete with white-robed attendants, according to an old marketing brochure.
"The men's wash room can be described best as one large, beautifully-equipped room, such as might be found in the most luxurious metropolitan hotels or clubs, finished with polished Alaska marble and terrazzo floors," the brochure states.
Women had a lounge at their disposal, and more.
"Besides the regular attendants a nurse is engaged during business hours with the duty of caring for all indisposed women in the building," according to the brochure. "Service of this nature is unparalleled in any office building in the West."
Real-estate broker Dahl, who keeps a copy of the old brochure at his desk, is happy to see the Dexter Horton building continue its innovative ways.
"I thought I had seen everything," he said. "This one is over the top."