The City of Seattle is exploring providing a loan to help the Washington State Convention Center “overcome a coronavirus-induced financing gap,” the developer of the $1.9 billion project says.
The announcement follows December’s efforts from King County officials to shape a possible $100 million loan to help patch a $300 million financing hole in the “4/5ths” complete project to expand the downtown convention center along Pine between downtown and Capitol Hill.
“The City believes that completion of the WSSC Summit Addition project is critical for the long-term future of Seattle’s economy. In addition, continued work on the Addition will provide hundreds of family-wage construction jobs right now, which will help the community more quickly recover from the current recession,” City of Seattle Senior Deputy Mayor Michael Fong said in a letter committing to the proposal, according to expansion project officials.
Any loan from the city would require City Council approval. Expansion project developer the Pine Street Group says both the county and the city loans would “depends on participation by the State.”
The developer says the $1.9 billion project and 1,000 construction jobs are in jeopardy without a funding solution for the project as it faces a gap of roughly $315 million in financing capacity needed for completion in 2022.
“I am committed to finding a solution that supports the completion of the Washington State Convention Center Addition project that benefits our entire region,” Governor Jay Inslee says in the press release on the proposed city loan. “My staff and I will continue to work with legislative leaders to find the best way to join King County and Seattle in providing a $315 million bridge loan to the Convention Center. We look forward to completing the construction of this critical project in 2022.”
As part of the expansion project, the convention center agreed to $93 million in community improvements that include “substantial funding” for affordable housing, parks and open spaces, improvements to Pike/Pine between downtown and new bike lanes to Capitol Hill.
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