Seattle Central College’s North Plaza is the type of nondescript office building that goes unnoticed hundreds of times a day by passing pedestrians. We don’t expect any memorials or Facebook eulogies for the Broadway building’s forthcoming demolition, but the medium and long term plans for the property represent a rare opportunity for the community college to significantly expand its Capitol Hill campus.
SCC has no immediate plans for what to do with the property after it’s leveled in January, but spokesperson David Sandler said the college will likely turn it into a green space while development plans come together. The college is hoping to combine the property with Site D, one of Sound Transit’s “transit orientated development” properties that SCC is hoping to takeover this year.
North Plaza’s L-shaped structure is probably most recognizable as the perimeter for the SCC-owned paid parking lot next to the First Hill Streetcar terminus on Broadway. Home to the college’s community education offices, professional development and printing facilities, the North Plaza building is largely dwarfed on the campus by the architectural significance of the Broadway Performance Hall and the overpowering brick mass of the Broadway Edison building.
Five sites surrounding Capitol Hill Station were acquired by Sound Transit for construction of the light rail facility — what’s left is to be transformed into dense “transit orientated development.” Four of those sites will be developed into housing, retail, and community space by Portland-based firm Gerding Edlen. SCC was given a right of first refusal to develop Site D, which sits in-between the North Plaza building and the west entrance of the Capitol Hill Station just south of Denny Way.
Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange, who was confirmed as SCC president in May, previously told CHS that creating faculty housing on Capitol Hill was a major priority. “Most faculty and staff cannot afford to live on Capitol Hill,” she said. According to Edwards Lange, the average faculty member at SCC makes around $57,000 a year.
Once it secures Site D, Edwards Lange said SCC will engage in a public process to determine priorities for the property.