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May 1, 2015

Convention center addition to cost $1.4B; may include housing, offices

Journal Staff Reporter

Photo courtesy of WSCC [enlarge]
The Washington State Convention Center sits next to Two Union Square. The footprint for the addition is above and to the right, along Interstate 5.

High-rise housing and more than 500,000 square feet of office space could be built in connection with the Washington State Convention Center addition that is slated to start construction in 2017, according to the development manager.

An early design guidance meeting will be held at 7 p.m. May 19 at City Hall, 600 Fifth Ave.

Pine Street Group is the development manager for the addition. LMN Architects is the architect and OAC Services is the GC/CM adviser.

The preferred site is between Pine and Howell streets, and Ninth and Boren avenues.

As planned, the addition would have a hall with up to 100,000 square feet of flexible space, meeting rooms totaling 125,000 square feet, and ballrooms with 60,000 to 70,000 square feet.

The exhibition hall would be built underground with up to 150,000 square feet. Matt Griffin, principal and managing partner with Pine Street Group, said this would create a lot of space but avoid building over the streets. He said truck access also would be underground.

The project would include 800 parking stalls.

Griffin said the addition, including the land, is estimated to cost $1.4 billion.

“It's a great site and a neighborhood where you want density,” he said.

Griffin said housing, possibly apartments, up to 400 feet could be built on part of the addition site, between Howell Street, Olive Way, and Ninth and Terry avenues. He said more than 500,000 square feet of office space could be constructed on the area bounded by Terry and Boren avenues, Howell Street and Olive Way.

He said the housing portion may not go as high as 400 feet because of other factors that include having the project fit the neighborhood.

Land for residential and office uses would be sold to private developers, and that money would be used to help pay for the addition, he said. No date has been set to offer the property to developers.

Convention Place Station would be demolished to make way for the addition, according to the site plan.

Griffin said “most people do not know that Metro loses rights to the tunnel at the end of 2021.”

The existing Washington State Convention Center is at 800 Convention Place. The addition is slated to be complete in 2020.


Lynn Porter can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.