New Seattle apartment building has ties back to Paul Allen, Bill Gates and computer programming
Another development from the real estate wing of Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc. is currently welcoming its new residents, and the property in Seattle’s University District has a distinct connection back to Allen and two other giants of computer programming.
Augusta Apartments, at 4041 Roosevelt Way N.E., is a seven-story building with 208 market-rate rental units and 3,600 square feet of ground floor retail space. Ground was broken on the development in 2015.
The building sits of the former site of a startup called Computer Center Corporation, where Allen and Bill Gates honed their programming skills. As high school students, the two — who would eventually go on to co-found Microsoft — helped CCC debug a PDP-10 mainframe in exchange for free use of its timesharing computers, according to a news release from Vulcan.
The company says that Allen’s personal connection to the site led to Vulcan’s purchase in 2001.
A lobby view at Augusta Apartments. (Brent Smith Photo)
The name of the building also draws off the connection to computing, as it pays homage to Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace. The mid-1800s British mathematician is widely regarded as the world’s first computer programmer. Byron had a close friendship with Charles Babbage, who is credited with creating the first mechanical computer, and notes and ideas written by Byron are the “first known documentation of an algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine,” Vulcan says.
A study pod inside the new apartment building will feature a large, three-panel mural by Seattle artist Kyler Martz. The mural depicts Byron — who was bedridden as a child — looking out her window and studying a bird so she could design her own mechanical wings to fly with. It also contains references to astronomy, mathematics, Note G — the first computer program she developed, and the PDP-10 computer that Allen and Gates used at Computer Center.
A mural by Seattle artist Kyler Martz, destined for Augusta Apartments. (Brent Smith Photo)