Home Industry News Seattle City Council Paves Way for Washington State Convention Center Addition

Seattle City Council Paves Way for Washington State Convention Center Addition

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Washington State Convention Center

Unanimous, 9-0 vote a major milestone, enabling project to begin this summer

SEATTLE (May 9, 2018) – On Monday, the Seattle City Council, by a final vote of 9-0, approved the three alley and two below-grade street vacations needed to expand the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) in the heart of downtown Seattle, called the Addition. This new facility will be located one block northeast of the existing Convention Center, on the current site of the Convention Place Station.

Building the facility will call for up to 6,000 union construction jobs and hundreds of apprenticeships over three years, and will contribute roughly $100 million in construction sales taxes to the city. Once operational, the Addition is expected to create about 3,900 new, ongoing jobs and generate annually roughly $260 million in new customer spending and $19 million in sales taxes.

“We are pleased by the vote,” said WSCC Board of Directors Chair Frank Finneran. “While the Council’s action is technically about street vacations for the project, it represents the culmination of ten years of work by dedicated staff, expert consultants and my colleagues on the Board. We are eager to get under way with construction.”

The Addition, which opens for business in 2021, includes 255,000 square feet of exhibition space, 125,000 square feet of meeting rooms and a new 60,000-square-foot, top-floor ballroom. Designed by award-winning local firm LMN Architects, the facility features an urban, Northwest style. It will host extensive art and public spaces as part of more than $93 million in community benefits.

“The business case for the project is strong,” said Tom Norwalk, CEO of Visit Seattle, which books national conventions for WSCC. “We have been turning away interested major conventions and events, more than 350 in the past five years alone. With the Addition, our local restaurants, retailers, worldclass cultural attractions – really, anyone who is part of the tourism and hospitality ecosystem – becomes a beneficiary. That makes this a true community gem. It’s very exciting.”

WSCC will fund a wide variety of community needs as part of the project. Key components include:

  • $34 million for affordable housing (plus $5 million to King County for housing)
  • $10 million to support pedestrian improvements on Pike and Pine Streets from Ninth to Melrose Avenues, $10 million to support bicycle improvements from Eighth to Capitol Hill plus $6 million for bicycle improvements on Eighth Avenue
  • $10 million for improvements to Freeway Park
  • $1.5 million to fund a comprehensive analysis on a potential lid over parts of I-5
  • More than $16 million to fund a new park in First Hill, public art, street improvements near the site and public spaces at the facility, and lighting on nearby historic building facades

“We’re pleased the project wasn’t delayed,” said Matt Griffin, Managing Partner at Pine Street Group L.L.C., the development manager for the project. “It’s been a lengthy process, but we are about ready to start construction – a milestone needed to initiate payments of $34 million for affordable housing to the city, separate from the $5 million to the County. The Council’s unanimous vote is a clear sign that the City and WSCC agree our community deserves housing, benefits and jobs without delay.”

The project will be built by a joint venture of Clark-Lewis. Construction is expected to begin as early as July. For more information, visit WSCCAddition.com.

About Washington State Convention Center
Located in the heart of Seattle and walking distance to world-class hotels, restaurants, entertainment and attractions, the Washington State Convention Center has been the Northwest’s premier meetings and events facility for 30 years. WSCC welcomes thousands of visitors from around the globe each year, offering industry-leading service, award-winning catering and a comprehensive range of services for event planners, exhibitors and guests. With a longstanding commitment to sustainability, public art and modern technology, WSCC serves its surrounding community and provides visitors with a truly unique Northwest experience.