The place where Paul Allen and fellow Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates honed their programming skills during high school will become a seven-story apartment building, Allen’s Vulcan announced Tuesday.
In 2001, Paul Allen’s investment company bought an office building in Seattle’s University District where he and fellow Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates spent their high-school years honing the programming skills that would later transform the computing industry.
On Tuesday, Allen’s company, Vulcan, announced it was breaking ground at the site on a seven-story apartment building and would name it after Augusta Ada Byron, commonly known as Ada Lovelace, a gifted British mathematician “who is widely regarded as the world’s first computer programmer.”
The Augusta Apartments, at 4041 Roosevelt Way N.E., will have 208 market-rate units and 3,600 square feet of ground-floor retail, according to Vulcan.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to add to the incredible vibrancy of the University District,” Ada Healey, Vulcan’s vice president of real estate, said in a statement. “We are also looking forward to honoring Paul Allen’s connection to the 41st and Roosevelt site and finding ways to celebrate its history.”
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In the late 1960s, the site was home to a startup called the Computer Center Corporation (CCC), Vulcan said. Back then, computers weren’t widely available, and users shared time on the era’s mainframes.
The company offered Allen and Gates free use of its computers in exchange for help debugging their PDP-10 mainframe, Vulcan said. Allen and Gates were there after school late into the night and on weekends. When the boys finished their debugging task, they persuaded the company to continue giving them free access to the computers for programming work.
CCC went out of business in 1970. Two buildings were on the site when Vulcan bought it but have subsequently been demolished.
Lovelace, a close friend of Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer, put together in the 1800s the first known documentation of an algorithm for a machine to execute.
The apartment project, which will be designed by Runberg Architecture Group and constructed by Exxel Pacific, is to open in 2017, Vulcan said.