Convention center developers and community groups reach agreement | KUOW News and Information

Convention center developers and community groups reach agreement

Oct 17, 2017

Seattle will get an additional $60 million in public benefits, including affordable housing and bike lanes, as part of the proposed expansion of the Washington State Convention Center.

That’s more than the project’s developers had originally offered. The new money is the result of long negotiations.

For months, eight groups representing various interests around Seattle – bike lanes, safe streets, affordable housing – have pushed developers to include more money for the public.

On Monday, the nonprofit groups stood with the convention center and political and labor leaders and announced they had an agreement.

“We go further and we do better when we’re in collaboration with each other,” said Alex Hudson, of First Hill Improvement Association. The association is one of the groups pushing to leverage the project’s size to provide more community investment. 

“So we came together in partnership around parks and public open spaces, safe walking and bicycle mobility around the convention center and of course affordable housing.”

The agreement includes $29 million in affordable housing, $10 million for bike lanes on Pike and Pine Streets and $1.5 million to study putting a lid over Interstate 5.

The expansion project is expected to cost $1.7 billion, but its budget is short. So, convention center leaders are relying on the state legislature to impose new taxes on short term rentals like Airbnb. They hope that will happen next year.