The Seattle City Council’s transportation committee Tuesday approved making city right of way behind First Hill’s Town Hall available to the developer of twin 32-story apartment towers for construction of a large underground parking facility below the planned development.
In exchange, developer Lennar has proposed providing a public plaza surrounding Town Hall and the coming towers. The committee approved the vacation petition Tuesday, sending it on for a final vote by the full council.
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Committee chair Mike O’Brien praised the plaza plan which has guarantees for “free speech” access and will include “clear signage” to make sure the public knows the space is open to access. O’Brien said he is sometimes skeptical of plazas proposed as part of benefits packages because of their quasi-public character but called the plan for 8th Ave at Seneca a new “front porch of Town Hall.”
As the plan for the towers and plaza come together to reshape its block, community forum space Town Hall is also planing to overhaul its facility and functionally rotate the structure’s use to create what the nonprofit hopes is a new presence for the cultural and events center as a connector between downtown and the First Hill neighborhood.