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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Washington State Convention Center Addition a step closer with agreement on sale of Convention Place Station site

Summary

The transaction between King County and Washington State Convention Center will secure a critical parcel needed to construct the new center's Addition. It will also secure an ongoing revenue stream to help support King County Metro service for 30 years.

Story

Convention Center Addition Rendering - WSCC
Artist's rendering of the Washington State Convention Center Addition at night. Photo courtesy of WSCC.
King Executive Dow Constantine Announces Deal
Executive Constantine announces the sale agreement that allows for expansion of Washington State Convention Center.

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) Public Facilities District Board of Directors chairman Frank Finneran announced agreement on terms for WSCC to acquire Convention Place Station (CPS) from King County, in exchange for $283 million in principal and interest payments to King County Metro over the next 30 years.

The agreement moves the Convention Center Addition—the creation of much-needed conference and convention space—closer to reality.

"This agreement achieves three goals of mine for Convention Center expansion: economic development and jobs, funding for transit mobility, and good urban design," said Executive Constantine. "This enables one of our most important regional projects to proceed, while creating an ongoing revenue stream that will help support delivery of Metro services now and for the next 30 years."

As part of the agreement, WSCC will also contribute $5 million to affordable housing, either through developing units adjacent to the new convention facility or by payment to a King County housing program. It will also improve sidewalks and connections that will make the neighboring streetscape and pedestrian environment more inviting.

The sale enables WSCC to continue progressing its plans for the Addition, which is scheduled to open in 2020.

"On behalf of the Convention Center, we are thrilled to be moving forward with King County on this purchase," said Finneran. "Acquiring this parcel is critical to keeping the Addition project on track. WSCC and Executive Constantine's office worked closely throughout the process, and we are proud that the project will attract more conventioneers and create jobs in the community."

"The Addition project is a key strategic priority for downtown, and really the entire region," said Downtown Seattle Association President and CEO Jon Scholes. "Conventions are an important aspect of our economy, both in the money that's generated for our local businesses, as well as the reputational equity that is earned. A new facility would further strengthen year-round demand for downtown's hotels, restaurants, retailers, and entertainment venues."

The eventual closure of Convention Place Station was determined nearly a decade ago, when the Sound Transit Board of Directors approved a light rail extension to Northgate that bypassed CPS; at the same time, the increasing frequency of light rail trains to Northgate would mean that buses could no longer use the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, starting in 2021.

WSCC will provide adequate off-site layover space for Metro Transit during construction of the Addition. Buses will continue to use the site and operate in the Transit Tunnel until 2019, when additional light rail service is added.

wscc-addition-aerial-view

Aerial view of existing Washington State Convention Center in Seattle and the Convention Place Station parcel where the Addition would be located. Photo courtesy of WSCC.

In the long term, regional service now connecting at Convention Place will be reorganized, in phases, to serve the growing ridership at Seattle Center, Belltown, Denny Regrade and South Lake Union. King County, Sound Transit, WSCC, and the City of Seattle will work closely to efficiently manage transit and transportation through the just-announced Center City Mobility Plan.

The Addition is expected to generate about $240 million per year in visitor spending, creating 2,300 new direct and 1,600 indirect jobs in hospitality, hotels, restaurants, and retail, and up to 6,000 family-wage jobs during the three years of construction.

The purchase and sale agreement is subject to approval by the Metropolitan King County Council and by the WSCC Board of Directors. Permits are also required from the City Seattle. If approved, construction would be slated to begin in 2017, with the Addition set to open in 2020.


Quotes

This agreement achieves three goals of mine for Convention Center expansion: economic development and jobs, funding for transit mobility, and good urban design. This enables one of our most important regional projects to proceed, while creating an ongoing revenue stream that will help support delivery of Metro services now and for the next 30 years.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

On behalf of the Convention Center, we are thrilled to be moving forward with King County on this purchase. Acquiring this parcel is critical to keeping the Addition project on track. WSCC and Executive Constantine's office worked closely throughout the process, and we are proud that the project will attract more conventioneers and create jobs in the community.

Frank Finneran, Chairman, WSCC Public Facilities District Board of Directors

The Addition project is a key strategic priority for downtown, and really the entire region. Conventions are an important aspect of our economy, both in the money that's generated for our local businesses, as well as the reputational equity that is earned. A new facility would further strengthen year-round demand for downtown's hotels, restaurants, retailers, and entertainment venues.

Jon Scholes, Downtown Seattle Association President and CEO

For more information

Frank Abe, Executive Office, 206-263-9609
Katherine Mackinnon, WSCC Addition Team, 206-436-0325


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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