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January 4, 2019

Durkan unveils funding plan for the $711M waterfront redevelopment

Journal Staff Reporter

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Mayor Durkan is proposing that owners of residential and commercial property contribute $160 million over 20 years. If the city council approves, construction could begin this year.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said on Thursday she will send legislation to the City Council that completes funding to redevelop the downtown waterfront.

If passed, the legislation will help ensure that full construction begins this year.

The city is planning to create 20 acres of new and improved public space and shoreline habitat, and improve connections between downtown and Elliott Bay.

The $711 million waterfront redevelopment coincides with demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, which will take place over the coming months.

“This is a time in Seattle history when we are remaking the city in a way that people cannot even begin to imagine,” Durkan said. “But when it is done, they will be amazed.”

Funding for the waterfront relies in part on downtown property owners, who had been expected to kick in roughly $200 million of the total under a new local improvement district. But the LID faced challenges from property owners, and the city responded by lowering its request.

Durkan said under the new legislation owners of residential and commercial property will contribute $160 million over 20 years.

That works out to $96 a year for a typical condo owner, according to a statement from Durkan's office. A typical commercial property owner would pay $300 a year over the same term. Deferrals are available for senior, disabled, low-income individuals and others facing economic hardship.

The remaining funds will come from the city ($248 million), the state ($193 million) and philanthropic sources ($110 million).

Durkan said much of the lost funding from property owners will be made up by redirecting funds from a commercial parking tax that will no longer be needed to service bonds. She said the waterfront project will not need to be scaled back in any way.

The new legislation would also establish a partnership between Seattle Parks and Recreation and the nonprofit Friends of Waterfront Seattle to ensure that the new spaces are safe and well-maintained.

Construction of the waterfront project is scheduled to finish in 2023.


Jon Silver can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.

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