Following a hearing on the “public benefits”of the $1.4 billion Washington State Convention Center expansion plan with a reported strong Capitol Hill-leaning set of community priorities, an even more ambitious initiative has apparently been rekindled by the opportunities in the project.
A concept for a “linear park” along and over I-5 from Patano Studio Architecture is being revived with hopes that the community effort to shape the Convention Center’s Pine Street expansion can possibly align with a massive initiative that would create an expanded meeting facility, a giant hotel, a 20,000-seat arena, and a 45-acre park along I-5 connecting Capitol Hill and neighborhoods east of the freeway with downtown:
The C.A.P. proposal solves multiple issues, our growing city can thrive from the complexity of the challenges facing its citizens. We can have a beautiful public park, a destination convention center, a downtown sports arena and affordable housing. Each of the neighborhoods have multiple opportunities to tie the city back together at large and small scales. Focus on the public amenities, public input and evolutionary process that the C.A.P. infrastructure supports will allow the development of the concept over time.
The concept is purely in the vision state at this point but some advocates believe the time is ripe to renew the push to lid I-5 — and they are hoping to harness energy from Capitol Hill community and development activist group the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council to make it happen.
UPDATE: Erik Barr of Patano tells CHS the push behind the concept is starting a “big idea” for Seattle. “That’s how Freeway Park started. Freeway Park started as an idea,” Barr said, calling the proposal “an opportunity for people to think about things in the big picture.”
Barr pointed at the boom times for big midwest and eastern cities that included massive civic projects in the 20th century. “Seattle is having its boom day right now,” Barr said.
PPUNC chair and past CHS contributor John Feit says the convention center expansion will again be on the group’s agenda Tuesday night at its September meeting at the Capitol Hill library:
The Pike|Pine Urban Neighborhood Council
When: Tuesday, September 15, 2015; 6:00 pm – 7:45 pm
Where: Second Floor Meeting Room, Capitol Hill Branch, Seattle Public Library
WSCC expansion advocacy update (John F, 6:00 – 6:20)
I-5 lid design concepts and graphics (Chris P, 6:20 – 7:20)
Coalition building (All, 7:20 – 7:45)
PPUNC has not yet endorsed the I-5 lid or Patano park plan but Feit said he is interested in how the idea might connect to his group’s push to improve the pedestrian connection between Capitol Hill and downtown with a Pike/Pine-friendlier plan for the convention center expansion design.
WSCC reps say they are also committed to creating an active and more-engaged next generation for the center that creates a better connection to the surrounding streets. The design process for the expansion project will continue with a third early design guidance session planned for October. As part of the design reviews, WSCC developers are also planning to complete a “codevelopment” process to design “a 30-story building with 428 housing units and a 16-story building with 595,000 square feet of office space” just north of the project as part of the expansion. WSCC plans to sell the codevelopment properties to help fund the convention center expansion.
“The downtown core and Capitol Hill are experiencing unprecedented growth and development,” the brief document on the lid idea provided to CHS reads. “As the urban core densifies opportunities for significant public green space downtown are becoming difficult to imagine.”
“C.A.P. proposes to insert topography and public park space into the chasm created by Interstate 5.”
The creator of the Patano Architects vision for the I-5 park Christopher Patano was traveling and not available for comment on the proposal or how it might fit in with the convention center plans.
More information is posted at lidi5.com. The Patano document is posted below.
UPDATE: We’re no scientists, but is it possible a lidded I-5 could help address this health issue in one of the scariest maps we’ve ever seen?
— jseattle (@jseattle) June 1, 2015