Special Project of the Washington State Convention Center

Construction Updates. Click HERE

A Deep Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

More than $93 Million in Community Investments

Modern, Urban and Distinctly Northwest Design

Profound Economic Impact on the Region

Your Convention Center is Growing.

Following the years of study and demand from convention goers who prefer to meet in Seattle, the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC), which changed its name to Seattle Convention Center in April 2022, is under construction on an additional facility.  The WSCC Addition will be a transformative project that provides a host of economic benefits, including as much as $260 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 bond issuances by WSCC supported by the existing tax on hotel rooms.

WSCC has a strong, voluntary commitment to partnering with WMBE businesses. These companies are critical to making the WSCC Addition a success.

Construction Updates

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
Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Auburn Mechanical
MacDonald Miller
American Bridge
Prime Electric

Additional Resources

Feasibility Study

Fact Sheet

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 (WSCC) 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 WSCC’s Board of Directors, which is ultimately responsible for the management, operations, capital improvements and financial success of the Convention Center. While WSCC was once owned by the state of Washington, that is no longer the case.

Is the existing Convention Center supported by taxpayer dollars?

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

Why do we need an addition to the Convention Center?

Historically, convention business in Seattle has been very strong and has grown year over year. There is an opportunity – more important than ever in the wake of a global pandemic – to continue to capture convention business to generate 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. Typically, WSCC turns away as much business as it books. In the five years prior to start of construction on the Addition, 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.

Is taxpayer funding used to build the new Convention Center facility?

Funding for the Addition comes primarily from bond issuances by the Convention Center, supported by the existing tax on hotel rooms. 

How do I sign up to indicate my interest in any remaining contract opportunities?

Please sign up here and direct questions to Marivic Chennault, Director, Clark Construction, (marivic.chennault@clarkconstruction) 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 who directly and indirectly support the hospitality industry). During construction, the project will employ as many as 6,000 workers.

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

How is the WSCC Addition project addressing diversity, equity and inclusion?

The Convention Center has had a long and deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Examples of this include the Addition project’s apprenticeship programs, work with What’s Next Washington to employ the formerly incarcerated, and the project’s $80 million hiring goal of women and minority-owned business enterprise (WMBE) contractors. Like the City of Seattle, WSCC defines WMBE as state-certified or self-identified firms that are at least 51 percent WMBE owned, which includes Black-, Asian American-, Hispanic-, Native American- and White female-owned firms.

What are other important benefits?

The Addition is expected to generate about $260 million per year in visitor spending for the local economy. 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, and the Addition relies on union labor for construction. It is anticipated that the new facility 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.

What is your plan to make retail successful?

Retail success can be difficult in today’s online 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. 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 with many new artworks by primarily Pacific Northwest artists.

Will you fund affordable housing as part of this project?

Yes. The project has invested $30 million in the City of Seattle’s Office of Housing through its community benefits package and has provided $5 million to King County as part of the agreement to purchase Convention Place Station. The project is providing an additional $4.3 million for affordable housing through the City’s Incentive Zoning Program and about $330,000 to Plymouth Housing Group for additional development rights.

Will the Addition be a “green” building?

Yes. It is anticipated that the Addition will achieve LEED Gold 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 its convention center campus.

Will there be parking on site?

Yes. The Addition will include parking for approximately 700 vehicles, which will serve the Addition and a portion of the parking for the co-development projects (office and residential) to the north of the Addition. The convention center’s two existing garages will help cover demand.

What happened to Convention Place Station?

Fifteen 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 was 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 train cars, which means buses had to move out of the tunnel in March 2019.

How has the transition with Convention Place Station affected downtown?

Each agency involved with transportation downtown worked together to make the transition as smooth as possible through the One Center City (OCC) plan. Partners included Metro Transit, Sound Transit, Seattle Department of Transportation, and the Downtown Seattle Association. The plan provided improvements to keep people moving through the Center City, while supporting continued growth in a highly developed urban environment.

Will there be traffic impacts?

As with any large construction project, impacts are occurring during construction. However, the project team has worked closely with the Seattle Department of Transportation on a plan to reduce those impacts and communicate with the general public and neighbors. When the Addition and co-developments are complete, the number of driveways on the three parcels will reduce from 17 to five, which will simplify traffic patterns and improve the pedestrian experience.

What are alley and street vacations?

For the Addition project, Seattle City Council approved vacations of three alleys and two streets. "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 requested vacation of:

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

The vacations were 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 did the Convention Center do in exchange for the vacations?

The project is paying the City a fair market price for the value of the land.  In addition, the project is providing a package of investments for the community. The value of these investments totals more than $93 million and includes substantial funding for affordable housing, parks and open spaces, improvements to Pike and Pine between downtown and Capitol Hill, bicycle infrastructure, a lid I-5 study and more.

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

Why is the Convention Center proposing to expand?

Historically, the Convention Center turned away as many meetings and conventions as it booked, 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 typically turned away, benefiting our region’s workers, restaurants, shops and hotels by adding an estimated $260 million per year in spending to the local economy.

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