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Washington State Convention Center Addition Receives Design Approval For Third and Final Site

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Graham Baba Architects LMN Architects Seattle Washington State Convention Center Denny Triangle Urban Center Village Pike Place Market Westlake Center
Courtesy of the Washington State Convention Center

By Kristin Bentley

The Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) Addition’s design team received an approval on Tuesday from Seattle’s design review board for the project’s third and final site, where the 11-story 1,400,00-square-foot convention center will be built. This was the final approval needed in order to obtain a master use permit. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2017, with a grand opening sometime in 2020.

Changes to the design since the last design meeting include a redesign of the Pine Street Stair and the outdoor spaces in order to provide a wider range of potential tenants and uses. The plaza and entrance at 9th Avenue and Pine Street has been revamped to create a grander presence, as well as some modifications to the signage and lighting. Canopy coverage has also been added to the retail entrances on Pine Street.

I think we should express strong support of everything we have seen

“One of the things we learned to develop is the look of the walkup forms, they’ve evolved in a way that they are not as tall so that they are found closer and create more intimacy on the street,” said Mark Reddington, a partner with LMN Architects who is working on the project. “As you come down to Capitol Hill, or down from Capitol Hill, the texture of the different facades is similar,” added James Graham, a principal from Graham Baba Architects who is also on the project.

Located at 1600 9th Avenue, the proposed project includes approximately 250,000 square feet of new exhibition space, 120,000 square feet of meeting room space, a 60,000-square-foot ballroom, approximately 20 loading bays and structured parking for up to 800 additional vehicles. The structure height is approximately 150-200 feet over 11 stories with two additional stories below grade.

The two-block site is within the Denny Triangle Urban Center Village, and occupies the intersection between several rapidly evolving neighborhoods, including Capitol Hill’s Pike and Pine corridor, the Denny Triangle, South Lake Union, First Hill and the downtown commercial core. The city’s waterfront, Pike Place Market, Westlake Center and the existing Washington State Convention Center are all within walking distance.

“I think the catwalk to catwalk through the lighting is really awesome,” said board member Anjali Grant. “I think we should express strong support of everything we have seen. The really strong design continues through the building’s architecture in the form of materials and signage.”

According to the WSCC Addition Web site, demand from convention planners and attendees from around the world for the WSCC outpaces the facility’s capacity. The addition will be a transformative project that provides a host of economic benefits, including as much as $240 million annually in visitor spending, as many as 3,900 direct and indirect jobs and some 6,000 jobs during construction.