A residential south downtown is essential to revitalization efforts
SEATTLE – Local real estate development firm Urban Visions unveiled its Livable South Downtown vision today. The ambitious plan calls for substantially increasing housing options for all income levels to foster a residential south downtown, moving King County’s government campus out of the downtown core, reimagining a pedestrian and bicycle centric Third Avenue, enhancing tree cover, and other bold steps that aim to make south downtown a more livable, vibrant neighborhood.
The release of Urban Vision’s Livable South Downtown vision comes on the heels of Mayor Bruce Harrell’s call to action for “Space Needle thinking” to take actionable steps toward revitalizing downtown. The concepts were featured in part during Mayor Harrell’s recent Downtown Action Plan media event to illustrate the policies and measures needed to support a vibrant and compelling south downtown that is accessible, equitable, and prosperous.
“I want to thank Mayor Harrell for his leadership and championing many of the actions needed to restore downtown as a dynamic, welcoming space for all,” said Greg Smith, Urban Visions president and CEO. “There is so much potential and opportunity around the government core in south downtown. If we can move that area away from a commuter-centric, 9 to 5 destination and instead develop a 24/7 neighborhood focused on residential development, we can help address Seattle’s housing and downtown crises simultaneously.”
The South Downtown Vision includes:
- Prioritizing residential over office space in south downtown to cultivate a livable, vibrant neighborhood.
- Focusing on community connections between downtown and our city’s local gems in Pioneer Square, the new Waterfront, and Chinatown-International District.
- Centering on equity and inclusivity to provide housing for all income levels, ensure robust community input, and address Seattle’s housing crisis.
- Capitalizing on King County’s campus master planning process and relocating government facilities to free up seven city blocks for redevelopment.
- Closing off Third Avenue from motorized vehicles and repurposing it into a pedestrian and bicycle plaza featuring retail, restaurants, and entertainment.
“The government core covering more than seven city blocks in south downtown, while critical to our civic life, has long been a hindrance to creating an energetic 24/7 neighborhood outside of working hours and bifurcates the housing and small businesses in our diverse and historic communities of Pioneer Square and the Chinatown-International District from the rest of the City,” said Smith. “Third Avenue has effectively done the same thing for east-west connections, cutting off our stunning new waterfront from the downtown core, Seattle Center, and the redeveloped Yesler Terrace. Acting boldly and removing these barriers once and for all is ultimately the key for revitalizing downtown and truly making Seattle a leading global city.”
Urban Visions’ extensive body of work is predicated on the belief that Seattle’s urban center is the epicenter of economic, cultural, and civic activity for the Puget Sound region and the entire state. As the region transitions out of the pandemic and looks toward the future, south downtown must evolve into a vibrant neighborhood where, first and foremost, people want to live.
About Urban Visions
Headquartered in Seattle, Urban Visions is a privately held real estate development company. Urban Visions applies a long-term perspective in anticipating trends to create a vital, vibrant, and compelling future for Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. The principals underlying this vision are centered on creative-class developments and place-making, with landmark design principles that transform places with a focus on human health and environmental well-being. Since its founding in 2003 by Greg Smith, Urban Visions has been involved in the entitlement, development, and redevelopment of nearly 4 million square feet of office and residential projects in Seattle.