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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Proposed sale of Convention Place Station: more funds for transit improvements, big boost for regional economic development

Summary

King County Executive Dow Constantine sent legislation to the King County Council to sell Metro’s Convention Place Station to the Washington State Convention Center for a total of $275 million. The funds would support Metro’s bus services and capital improvements. The agreement also includes additional funding towards affordable housing and a fund for art.

Story

In a move that boosts regional economic development while bringing in additional funds for improved bus service and reliability, King County Executive Dow Constantine sent the Metropolitan King County Council a proposed agreement for the sale of Metro’s Convention Place Station to the Washington State Convention Center for $161 million – netting $275 million in principal and interest over 32 years. The site would be used for construction of the Convention Center Addition.

"This proposed sale will help support Metro’s service and reliability improvements for the next three decades," said Executive Constantine. "Meanwhile, the expansion of the Convention Center will generate thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic growth for the region. This agreement is good for taxpayers, transit riders, and workers."

Above and beyond the $161 million purchase price, the Convention Center will:KClogo_LONG

  • Contribute $5 million to a King County affordable housing fund
  • Ensure bus access to the tunnel for as long as possible during construction
  • Provide $4.5 million for public art, with another $100,000 to offset decommissioning of art currently at the site

The Addition will generate an estimated $235 million per year in visitor spending 

The Addition is expected to generate about $235 million per year in visitor spending in the region; create up to 6,000 family-wage jobs during the three years of construction; create 2,300 new, ongoing jobs at the Convention Center and related hospitality, hotels, restaurants, and retail industries; support an additional 1,600 indirect jobs; and generate $18 million in tax revenue.

"This is a very exciting time for the Washington State Convention Center," said WSCC Board of Directors Chair Frank Finneran. "We have been working in partnership with the County Executive to bring an additional facility to fruition. By approving this agreement, the King County Council can play a critical role in moving forward this important project." WSCC_Logo_Positive

A number of other downtown construction projects will converge over the next few years which will require relocation of bus service from the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to surface streets. Potential strategies for regional mobility through the downtown core in the near-term were recently outlined by the One Center City partnership.

"Light rail frequencies will significantly improve over the next six years as the system extends north, east and south, with peak-hour service in the downtown core reaching four minutes in each direction by 2023 on four-car trains that can carry up to 800 riders each," said Sound Transit Deputy CEO Mike Harbour. "Next year when buses no longer operate in the downtown tunnel, we will begin capacity increases that will continue incrementally with the delivery of more train cars that Sound Transit has ordered."

Buses will continue to use the Convention Place site and operate in the Transit Tunnel until at least September 2018. During construction of the Addition, the WSCC will provide off-site layover space for Metro Transit on Convention Place, the street which runs underneath the Convention Center from Pike to Union streets.

The Washington State Convention Center is a Public Facilities District, under a King County ordinance which transferred the facility from a public nonprofit corporation in 2010. The Addition project is primarily funded by a bond issuance on existing hotel/motel taxes.

The proposed purchase and sale agreement is subject to approval by the County Council and by the Convention Center Board of Directors. Permits are also required from the City of Seattle. If approved, construction could begin in the third quarter of 2017, with the Addition set to open in 2020.


Relevant links


Quotes

This proposed sale will help support Metro’s service and reliability improvements for the next three decades. Meanwhile, the expansion of the Convention Center will generate thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic growth for the region. This agreement is good for taxpayers, transit riders, and workers.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

This creates more buses, money for affordable housing and an expanded convention center! There are many bits of good news in this story. I look forward to bringing all these benefits to King County residents as we work through the details at the King County Council.

Joe McDermott, Chair, King County Council

This is a very exciting time for the Washington State Convention Center. We have been working in partnership with the County Executive to bring an additional facility to fruition. By approving this agreement, the King County Council can play a critical role in moving forward this important project.

Frank Finneran, Board of Directors Chair, Washington State Convention Center

Light rail frequencies will significantly improve over the next six years as the system extends north, east and south, with peak-hour service in the downtown core reaching four minutes in each direction by 2023 on four-car trains that can carry up to 800 riders each. Next year when buses no longer operate in the downtown tunnel, we will begin capacity increases that will continue incrementally with the delivery of more train cars that Sound Transit has ordered.

Mike Harbour, Sound Transit Deputy CEO

This agreement will benefit our region’s economy for years to come. It advances a project that generates thousands of jobs and offers new opportunities for our tourism and retail industries, in addition to providing funding to keep transit operating reliably so that people and goods can move efficiently throughout the region.

Maud Daudon, President and CEO, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

The MLK County Labor Council applauds King County Executive Dow Constantine and the King County Council for their leadership on this decision. Our region has been experiencing growing pains and it’s good to have a County government that is up to the task of dealing with it. We are on a good trend with last year’s work to create a modern transportation system and today’s choice to invest in a world class convention center that will bring hundreds of millions of tourism dollars into our local economy and be a public asset and cultural jewel in our Downtown neighborhood. We look forward to the quality career opportunities that new construction apprenticeships and ongoing convention work bring to our diverse King County economy.

Nicole Grant, Executive Secretary Treasurer, Martin Luther King Jr. County Labor Council
 

For more information, contact:

Alex Fryer, Executive Office, 206-477-7966

Katherine Mackinnon, Addition Team, 206-436-0325


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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