SEATTLE, Nov. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Last month, leaders from Washington State Convention Center (WSCC), the City of Seattle and the community celebrated the largest installment of public benefits payments to the City as part of the Convention Center's Addition project. This current payment totals more than $38 million and is part of a $93 million package from the Convention Center that will substantially benefit the community for decades to come. The largest portion of this payment -- $30 million – is for affordable housing.
"I am excited to see the Convention Center expansion project move forward," said Seattle City Councilmember and Housing, Health, Energy & Workers' Rights Committee Chair Teresa Mosqueda. "This will provide long-term economic benefits for our city, allowing us to continue to attract some of the best national conventions and events! Thanks to the amazing work of the Community Benefits Package team, this will also bring much needed investment in parks, safe streets, and visioning a lid over I-5. I am especially proud that, through collaboration with the community and development team, we were able to secure this $30 million contribution to building affordable homes for low-income households and workers who might otherwise be priced out of our city. A special thanks to Councilmembers O'Brien and Johnson, who worked with my office to make the legislation adopting this agreement a reality. Built with union Labor, and utilization of apprentices and pre-apprentices, we are also seeing an investment and commitment to family-wage jobs and growing the workforce that builds our city!"
Earlier this year, Seattle City Council unanimously approved street and alley vacations needed to build an additional facility – which is called Summit. As a part of the vacations approval, the Convention Center is providing a package of community benefits. The package was crafted in concert with the Community Package Coalition, an alliance of open spaces, community, walking, biking and housing organizations.
"With construction now underway, I am pleased to stand alongside city and community leaders and announce these payments," said Convention Center Board Member and Vice Chair Deryl Brown-Archie. "The Convention Center is living up to its promise to contribute meaningfully to our community. October's payments comprise funding for affordable housing, open spaces and bicycle infrastructure – key priorities named by Seattle residents."
The October payments include the following:
- $30 million for affordable housing paid to the City of Seattle's Office of Housing
- $6 million to the City of Seattle's Department of Transportation to support Bicycle Master Plan improvements on Pike and Pine Streets and Eighth Avenue in downtown ($16 million in total payments from WSCC over the life of the project)
- $750,000 to the City of Seattle Parks Department for improvements to Freeway Park ($10 million in total payments from WSCC over the life of the project)
- $1.5 million to fund a comprehensive analysis of potential lidding over parts of I-5
"Access to affordable housing is a critical issue for this region," said Marty Kooistra, Executive Director at Housing Development Consortium. "At every possible opportunity we must all stretch further than ever before to find the resources and the will to overcome the gap between available homes and the number of people who desperately need them. As part of the Community Package Coalition, HDC pressed for a strong focus on affordable housing within the Convention Center's benefits package. The payments will mean a huge boost in resources for affordable housing developments ready to start now."
The $30 million affordable housing payment is the largest part of the WSCC project's contribution to subsidized housing. As part of the land purchase from King County, the Convention Center also contributed $5 million to the county's housing program. In addition, the project will pay $4.3 million into the housing fund as part of the Incentive Zoning Program. In total, the project is contributing about $39.3 million to subsidized housing in the community.
A joint venture of Clark Construction and Lease Crutcher Lewis, the general contractors selected to build the $1.7 billion project, began work on the facility in July. Over the three-year construction period, the project team will hire as many as 6,000 union construction workers (many from targeted zip codes) and hundreds of apprentices, plus will contribute roughly $100 million in construction sales taxes. Once operational, the Summit building is expected to create about 3,900 new, ongoing jobs and generate roughly $260 million in new customer spending and $19 million in sales taxes annually.
Other speakers at the press announcement included Office of Housing Director Steve Walker, Cascade Bicycle Club Executive Director Richard Smith, Freeway Park Association Board President Tim Holt, and Lid I-5 Steering Committee member Scott Bonjukian.
For more information and to view the full list of public benefits contributions, please visit http://www.wsccaddition.com/community/public-benefits.
About the Washington State Convention Center
Located in the heart of Seattle and walking distance to world-class hotels, restaurants, entertainment and attractions, the Washington State Convention Center has been the Northwest's premier meetings and events facility for 30 years. WSCC welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the globe each year, offering industry-leading service, award-winning catering and a comprehensive range of services for event planners, exhibitors and guests. With a longstanding commitment to sustainability, public art and modern technology, WSCC serves its surrounding community and provides visitors with a truly unique Northwest experience. For information, visit www.wscc.com.
Katherine Mackinnon, Addition Team
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SOURCE Washington State Convention Center