Special Project of the Washington State Convention Center

FEIS documents are now available. Learn More

Your Convention Center

is Growing

It's Time to Capture the Opportunity

Following the years of study and demand from convention goers who prefer to meet in Seattle, the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) is proposing to build an additional facility.  The WSCC Addition will be a transformative project that provides a host of economic benefits, including as much as $240 million annually in visitor spending, as many as 3,900 direct and indirect jobs, and some 6,000 jobs during construction. The funding will come primarily from a bond issuance by WSCC supported by the existing tax on hotel rooms.

WSCC has a strong, voluntary commitment to partnering with minority, small, veteran, disadvantaged and women-owned businesses. These companies are critical to making the WSCC Addition a success.

2015

PLANNING

  • Environmental Impact Statement scoping and public comment
  • Early Design Guidance with the Design Review Board
  • Planned Community Development public comment and identification of potential related public benefits
  • Schematic Design under way
  • Street and alley vacation petition submittal
  • Master Use Permit applications submittal

2016

PERMITTING AND DESIGN APPROVAL

  • Draft Environmental Impact Statement publication.  To view, click here (126MB).  To view the DEIS Appendices, please click here (34MB).  To view the public comments on the DEIS, click here (36MB). To view the transcript from the DEIS public meeting held on March 29, 2016, please click here (34MB).
  • NEPA process under way. 
  • Design Review Board process continues through recommendation meetings
  • Master Use Permit reviews 
  • Schematic Design and Design Development completion 
  • Bid packages start to release

2017

PERMIT APPROVALS AND CONSTRUCTION

  • Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement.  To view, please click HERE.
  • Final Environmental Impact Statement publication.  To view, please click HERE (54.2 MB).  To view the FEIS appendices, please click HERE (55.7 MB) and HERE (38.1 MB)
  • SEPA Notice of Action publication.  To view, please click HERE.
  • Design Commission and City Council consideration of street and alley vacations
  • NEPA Environmental Impact Statement publication
  • Master Use Permit decision and permit issuance
  • Building permits issued
  • Construction Documentation completion
  • Demolition, excavation, shoring and foundations bid packages released
  • Construction start

2018

CONSTRUCTION

  • Structural work (steel and concrete)
  • Exterior Enclosure
  • Rough-in and framing

2019

CONSTRUCTION

  • Exterior Enclosure
  • Rough-in framing
  • Finishes

2020

OPEN FOR BUSINESS

WSCC Addition Rendering
WSCC Addition Rendering
WSCC Addition Rendering
WSCC Addition Rendering
WSCC Addition Rendering

Washington State Convention Center Project Team

Pine Street Group
LMN Architects
Clark Construction
Lewis
Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Arup

Commitment to Inclusion

WSCC has a strong, voluntary commitment to partnering with minority, small, veteran, disadvantaged and women-owned businesses. These companies are critical to making the WSCC Addition a success. To learn more, please visit Contracting on this site.

Additional Resources

F.A.Q.

Feasibility Study

Who owns the Washington State Convention Center?

The Convention Center is owned and operated by a King County Public Facilities District (PFD). In 2010, the legislature passed Substitute Senate Bill 6889 authorizing King County to create a public facilities district to acquire, own and operate a convention center transferred from a state public nonprofit corporation. On July 30, 2010, the King County Council passed King County Ordinance 16883, which officially established the Washington State Convention Center Public Facilities District. 

Is the Convention Center a government agency?

Yes, the Convention Center is a PFD, an independent unit of local government chartered within King County.  Washington’s governor, Seattle’s mayor, and the King County executive each appoint three members to the WSCC’s Board of Directors, which is ultimately responsible for the management, operations, capital improvements and financial success of the Convention Center. While once owned by the state of Washington, that is no longer the case.

Is the existing Convention Center supported by taxpayer dollars?

The Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) is funded by a tax on hotel room usage in the City and King County, as well as by enterprise revenues that include room rental sales, food and beverage services, facility services, parking and retailers located in the center. WSCC is one of the few convention centers in the nation that consistently turns a profit on operations.  WSCC receives no operating subsidies from any governmental agency.

Why do we need an Addition to the Convention Center?

The convention business in Seattle is very strong and continues to grow year over year. There is an opportunity to capture even more convention business to generate more revenue for the community, supporting the hotels, restaurants, other hospitality-oriented businesses, and related employers in the region. Demand for meeting business in Seattle is bolstered by a 65 percent repeat customer rate for national conventions. Today, WSCC turns away as much business as it books. In the past five years, the Convention Center could not accommodate more than 350 event proposals due to lack of dates or space, which equates to $2.13 billion in potential lost economic benefit for the region.

Will taxpayer funding be used to build the new Convention Center facility?

Funding for the Addition will come primarily from a bond issuance by the Convention Center supported by the existing tax on hotel rooms.  No new taxes will be needed for the Addition.

How do I sign up to indicate my interest?

Please sign up here and direct questions to Marvic Chennault, Director, Clark Construction, (marivic.chennault@clarkconstruction) or Tony Johnson, Principal,  Johnson Construction & Consulting (tony.johnson@johnconcon.com) for more information.

How many jobs will the project create?

The Addition will create approximately 2,300 direct jobs (at WSCC and in hospitality-related businesses) and support an additional 1,600 indirect/induced jobs (jobs in the supply chain such as food purchases and jobs generated by those with direct and indirect jobs supporting the hospitality industry). During construction, the project will employ as many as 6,000 workers. If the project experiences a delay, the benefit of the direct and indirect jobs to be created will be lost forever for the period of that delay. There is a significant opportunity cost to the community for a delay in this project.

In addition, the Convention Center, as in past work history, is committed to partnering with minority, small, veteran, disadvantaged and women-owned businesses to build and operate the new facility.

What are other important benefits?

The Addition is expected to generate about $200 million per year in out-of-state visitor spending and $30 million -$40 million per year in spending from Washington residents.  By way of comparison, cities spend years and significant dollars chasing major sporting events for their economic benefit, such as a Final Four Men’s Basketball Tournament (estimated economic benefit: $100+ million in spending) or the Superbowl (estimated revenue for Superbowl XXXIV in Atlanta: $215 million in spending).  Those are one-time boosts, compared with the year-over-year spending anticipated by visitors to the Addition.

Will you use union labor to build and operate the new facility?

The existing Convention Center is a union facility, the Addition will rely on union labor for construction, and it is anticipated that the Addition will employ union labor.

How will the Addition affect the walk from Capitol Hill over I-5?

The Addition will enhance pedestrian connections from downtown to Capitol Hill, improving the walking experience through activation with new street uses, sidewalk improvements, landscaping and lighting. We’re also looking at enhancements for the sections of Pike and Pine Streets over I-5.

What’s your plan to make the retail successful?

Retail success can be difficult in today’s on-line environment.  On top of that, consumers simply aren’t purchasing goods and services like they once did. As developers of Pacific Place and Via6, Pine Street Group (developer of the Addition on behalf of WSCC) understands retail and has asked architects Graham Babba to help LMN create an engaging retail environment. Jim Graham’s retail work includes Via6, Melrose Market and ChopHouse Row.  Innovative ideas are part of his DNA.

Is a public art program planned for the Addition?

Absolutely. We are proud to share our public art collection and find it well visited by both meeting attendees and the public. The Convention Center has a 30-year history of providing public access to art, including more than 100 permanent and rotating works of art on display in the existing facility. The Addition will expand WSCC’s well-respected art program featuring Northwest artists.

Will you build affordable housing as part of this project?

Yes. The purchase and sale agreement with King County includes $5 million toward affordable housing. We are also proposing additional funding for affordable housing as part of the alley and street vacation public benefits at the City and through the incentive zoning program.

Will the Addition be a “green” building?

Yes, it is anticipated that the Addition will be LEED Silver certification.  In addition, the new facility is expected to feature a host of sustainable elements, including innovations that embrace Seattle’s commitment to environmental stewardship. The existing facility has operated with a culture of sustainability from the day it opened, and the PFD is committed to environmentally sound management principles for both convention center buildings.

Will there be parking on site?

Yes. The Addition will include parking for 700-800, which will serve the Addition, and the potential co-development projects (office and residential) to the north of the Addition. The convention center’s two existing garages will be managed differently to help cover demand.

What’s happening with the Convention Place Station?

Nearly 15 years ago, the decision was made to close Convention Place Station (CPS) to bus traffic when light rail extends beyond the University of Washington. The long-term plan has been for the buses to deliver passengers to the light rail stations and use the light rail to move riders through the hourglass of downtown. This requires more trains and cars, which means buses must move out of the tunnel.

Per the purchase and sale terms between King County Metro and the WSCC, the Convention Center will support bus access to the tunnel through at least September 2018.

King County Metro, Sound Transit and Seattle Department of Transportation are working in partnership with the Convention Center team to manage the closing of CPS. Fortunately, the multi-modal options at Westlake are just a few blocks away from CPS, which will offer a variety of transit needs when the station is ultimately closed.

Sound Transit has stated that the agency is prepared to add at least one additional train per hour at rush hour, as well as extend some existing two-car trains to three-car trains. The result is a train frequency of six minutes during peak hours.

How will the transition with Convention Place Station affect downtown?

Each agency involved with transportation downtown is working together to make this transition as smooth as possible through the One Center City (OCC) plan. Partners in this plan are Metro Transit, Sound Transit, Seattle Department of Transportation, and the Downtown Seattle Association. The plan will provide recommendations for improvements that can keep people moving through the Center City when more buses come out of the tunnel. To maintain dynamic growth in a highly developed urban environment mobility must be maintained and increased, which takes thoughtful, thorough coordination.

This plan will help efficiently manage transportation systems and make the right connections for light rail, buses, bikes, pedestrians and freight. The plan will consider ways to give priority to additional buses on the streets, and increase capacity and performance by making potential improvements such as new transit lanes and priority transit treatment through downtown bottlenecks. Existing bus service is also being reviewed to ensure that buses operate efficiently through this constrained area. To learn more about the closure of Convention Place Station, please refer to this article in the Seattle Transit Blog:  here 

Will there be traffic impacts?

As with any large construction project, there will be impacts during construction. However, the project team is working closely with SDOT on a construction plan to reduce those impacts and communicate these plans to the general public and neighbors. Current plans reduce the number of driveways on the three parcels from 17 to five, which should simplify traffic patterns and improve the pedestrian experience. 

What are alley and street vacations?

The Convention Center Addition project is seeking Seattle City Council approval for three alley and two street vacations. "Vacated" alleys and streets are components of the City's street grid system that become the property of the entity requesting the vacation and are no longer public property. The Convention Center is requesting vacation of:

  • The partial alley on Site A.
  • The alleys on Sites B and C.
  • Olive Way below-grade vacation between Ninth Avenue and Boren Street.
  • Terry Avenue below-grade vacation between Olive Way and Howell Street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The vacations are being requested to enable construction of a below-grade loading dock and exhibition hall. Olive Way and Terry Avenue will remain public streets at the surface; the land below grade will become the property of the Convention Center.  

What will the Convention Center do in exchange for the vacations?

If the vacations are granted, the project will pay the City a fair market price for the value of the land.  In addition, the project will provide a package of improvements that will be of benefit to the general public in exchange for the loss of the rights of way. The public benefits can take the form of street improvements, open space, public art, park improvements, etc.   

For more information on the city’s alley and street vacation policy, please visit their website here http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/streetvacations.htm

Why is the Convention Center proposing to expand?

The existing Convention Center turns away as many meetings and conventions as it books, due to the lack of available space or dates. The Addition project will have a profound economic impact on the Greater Seattle region by hosting many of the conventions it currently turns away, benefiting our region’s workers, restaurants, shops and hotels by adding an estimated $230 million to $240 million per year in spending to the local economy. 

 

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