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PRESS RELEASE|July 30 2020

Washington State Convention Center Completes $40 Million in Investments for Affordable Housing

Media Contact
Heidi de Laubenfels
206.423.6126
heidi.delaubenfels@nyhus.com

SEATTLE – July 30, 2020 – Families and individuals in need of safe, stable housing in the region received a boost in July as the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) Addition project completed delivery of nearly $40 million to support affordable housing. The project’s investment includes funds for the City of Seattle, King County and Plymouth Housing.

“The Washington State Convention Center Addition project is providing critical and significant support for the City’s efforts to create affordable housing,” said Frank Finneran, chair of the Convention Center board. “Amid a pandemic, a challenged economy and a high unemployment rate, this housing is more important than ever to help get people back on their feet. We are proud to be making these community investments.”

Since opening the doors in 1988, the WSCC board of directors has recognized a responsibility for the preservation, restoration and creation of affordable housing units in and around Seattle.

“We are proud of our strong commitment to create a better social and physical environment wherever possible.  Good housing for people of all incomes is essential for the vitality of a diverse and livable region,” said Robert Flowers, WSCC board member and former chair, Seattle Housing Resources Group (Bellwether).

Prior to the Addition project, WSCC funds were responsible for a net gain of 1,040 affordable housing units since 2002.

Affordable-housing investments promote racial equity and fair access to housing opportunities. According to the Seattle Office of Housing’s 2019 Investment Report, people of color, particularly African-Americans, are more likely to experience homelessness and to pay 30 percent or more of their income for housing. Fifty-nine percent of residents in City-funded rental housing and 38 percent of participants in the City’s homebuyer programs are people of color, the Office of Housing reports.

The $40 million in support enabled by the Addition project includes $4.3 million toward affordable housing through the City’s Incentive Zoning program, $5 million to King County for affordable housing and $330,000 to Plymouth Housing Group for additional development rights. The remaining $30 million went to the Seattle Office of Housing’s pooled resources, which have funded nearly 3,000 affordable-housing units in projects such as the Eldridge on Capitol Hill and The Madison on First Hill. Most of the Addition’s affordable housing support was determined with the City of Seattle in 2018 as part of the project’s entitlements process.

The Addition will continue bringing important social and economic value when it opens in 2022, provided the project can secure essential funding to fill a $300 million gap created by the pandemic-spurred plunge in King County lodging-tax income. The Addition – or Summit building, as it will be called upon opening – is expected to create about 3,900 new, ongoing jobs and generate approximately $260 million in new customer spending and $19 million in sales tax annually.  About 6,000 union jobs are being created during construction.

For more information and to view the full list of community benefits contributions, please visit http://www.wsccaddition.com/community/public-benefits. Sign up to receive updates via the Addition newsletter at https://www.wsccaddition.com/contact.

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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 31 years. WSCC offers industry-leading service, award-winning catering and a comprehensive range of services for event planners, exhibitors and guests. With a longstanding commitment to safety, sustainability, public art and modern technology, WSCC takes pride in supporting its surrounding community and provides visitors with a truly unique Northwest experience. For information, visit www.wscc.com.

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