COVID-19 has wiped out Seattle’s hotel tax revenue putting $1.8B convention center expansion ‘at risk’

Lying across I-5 from Capitol Hill, the massive hole filing quickly with steel girders where the state’s downtown convention center expansion is rising might also need to suck up new financing and federal assistance.

Saying the project is now “at risk,” officials are scheduled to hold a Friday morning press conference about the COVID-19 crisis snuffing out key funding for the massive project and new efforts “fighting for critical federal support to find new financing to keep the $1.8 billion WSCC Addition project under construction.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in plummeting lodging tax revenues, which support the bond funding that pays for the project,” an announcement of the Friday conference reads. “A long-planned second round of bond financing is required but is lacking sufficient tax revenue to support it.” Continue reading

Downtown safety at core of Durkan’s 2020 ‘State of the City’ address

The major focus of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s third annual State of the City address delivered Tuesday? Safety in the city’s downtown neighborhoods.

“As Chief (Carmen) Best and the city continues to increase public safety downtown and everywhere in our city, we also have to be willing to try new things,” Durkan said. “Today, I can announce that as part of our comprehensive approach to public safety, we are investing in a new community response program. While the police investigate a scene, and police and fire keep people safe and arrest offenders, we will also have a new parallel community response. This new program will dispatch trained, trusted community members to respond immediately after a shooting, to hospitals, to neighborhoods, or hot-spots.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | #impeachandremove — Seattle rallies for Trump impeachment

Hundreds rallied in downtown Seattle Tuesday night in advance of a day of debate and decision in the House of Representatives on the impeachment — and removal — of President Donald Trump

“This is a day of accountability and defending our democracy,” WA-07 Representative and member of the body’s judiciary committee Pramila Jayapal said during her part of an expected six hours of debate to proceed the House votes Wednesday. Continue reading

Historic Seattle and Seattle Theatre Group step up with bid for The Showbox

Nonprofits Historic Seattle and Seattle Theatre Group, the operator of The Paramount, Moore, and Neptune Theatres, have made their bid to purchase downtown Seattle music venue The Showbox.

The groups announced their bid Tuesday night but did not disclose the dollar amount of the offer.

“We are thrilled to have such a strong partner as STG in our effort to purchase The Showbox,” Eugenia Woo, director of preservation services at Historic Seattle, said in an announcement of the effort. “As we continue our due diligence and look forward to the opportunity to negotiate with the property’s owner, Historic Seattle will not back down in our fight to protect The Showbox.” Continue reading

Seattle Fire knocks down blaze at treed encampment near convention center

Thanks to a CHS reader for this picture from above the fire scene

Seattle Fire and Seattle Police responded to a fire that reportedly broke out at an\ encampment and spread to nearby trees near the downtown convention center above I-5 Friday night.

911 callers reported flames shooting into the sky and multiple explosions at 9th and Pike. According to emergency radio updates, witnesses said a tent set up below the trees on the northeast corner of the intersection above I-5 caught fire, igniting at least one of the large trees.

Arriving police reported the sound of explosions coming from inside the burning encampment.

Seattle Fire arrived within minutes and reported the fire under control.

There were no immediate reports of serious injuries. We do not have information on the extent of damage to the camp or the trees.

Temperatures Friday night were in the low 40s and expected to dip into the upper 30s overnight.

A picture showing the full extent of the fire and more details from the scene was posted to Reddit:

Continue reading

Pocket Democracy: Conference with Keynote Speaker Opal Tometi (Cofounder Black Lives Matter)

“Pocket Democracy” is a 2 day conference between Berlin and Seattle investigating digital technologies as a means for political solutions.

How can digital democracy be recognized and used?

Join Goethe Pop Up Seattle and Thomas Mann House Los Angeles, in collaboration with STATE Berlin, World Affairs Council Seattle, and UW Center for West European Studies and European Union Center, for a conference on digital democracy. The event will be broadcast live to Berlin and features a host of renowned international speakers, including a keynote at 9:00 from Opal Tometi, co-founder of Black Lives Matter.

All participants are also invited to the day-long workshop on October 24th and Ramesh Srinivasan’s book talk on Thursday evening, October 24th.

For a detailed schedule of the conference and registration information for each event, please visit www.vatmh.org/

Downtown ribbon cutting includes good vibes for new bike projects including Pike protected lanes

Now on 8th Ave (Image: SDOT)

Mayor Jenny Durkan and SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe weren’t out for a ride but they did come out to celebrate Wednesday’s opening of a new 8th Ave protected bike lane with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The redesigned 8th Ave includes a “one-way northbound protected bike lane between Pike St and Bell St, one travel lane, paid parking and load zones, and new bike signals at busy intersection,” SDOT reports. “This project completes a two-way couplet for people biking with the existing one-way southbound 7th Ave protected bike lane.” Continue reading

With engineering and economics study underway, Lid I-5 effort holds open house

A rendering from an early community workshop on ideas for the lid concept including housing, open park space, and more (Image: Lid I-5)

With work underway to study the “engineering and economics of lidding I-5 between Madison Street and Denny Way,” a Lid I-5 Community Open House on Capitol Hill Wednesday night will provide updates from the groups advocating for the project, two city council members, and the people managing the research.

In March, CHS reported on the $1.5 million study process and the lengthy local and national firms contributing work to the project. The Lid I-5 group has been advocating for the lid and helping to push the idea from an urbanist dream into City Hall’s budget. The University of Washington is also conducting a real estate analysis of the economics and value a lid might have for private development that could also consider how funds generated by the new buildings might offset the costs of building the lid.

Council members Sally Bagshaw and Abel Pacheco are scheduled to attend the open house Wednesday at The Summit meeting space at 420 E Pike to remark on the earliest stages of the effort. The session is slated to start at 5:30 PM. You can learn more and register here.

Police take one into custody after downtown stabbing suspect reportedly flees to Capitol Hill — UPDATE

Police quickly took a suspect into custody who reportedly fled toward Capitol Hill completely naked after stabbing multiple people at the 6th Ave Nordstrom building.

According to East Precinct radio dispatches, the suspect was reported as a nude male seen fleeing eastbound on Pike toward Capitol Hill after the stabbing incident inside the 1600 block 6th Ave building. Police reportedly took the male into custody after he was spotted headed east near 8th and Pine.

Details were not immediately clear about the scene of the attack but Seattle Fire was responding to a report of two or three people stabbed across multiple floors of the downtown building.

UPDATE: Police say three people were stabbed in the incident and confirmed that the naked suspect was taken into custody: Continue reading

Seattle marks first commute without buses in downtown Transit Tunnel

Bus riders downtown might be searching for new stops and light rail passengers to and from Capitol Hill should have a smoother, maybe even quicker go of it. Monday morning marked the first commute through Seattle with buses kicked out of the downtown transit tunnel.

City officials are calling it a second chapter of the “Seattle Squeeze” following Seattle’s weeks without SR-99 in chapter one — a story that turned out to be a little overdone.

Sound Transit says the booting of the buses as necessary as the Washington State Convention Center expansion project will soon remove the northbound access point for buses at the former Convention Place Station and the agency needs to update the older downtown Seattle stations to prepare for expansion to Northgate in 2021 and the opening of the Blue Line to the Eastside in 2023.

SDOT has posted about the changes on Seattle surface streets to accommodate the increased bus activity here.

Metro and Sound Transit say the change will have immediate benefits for light rail riders, “enabling reliable six-minute peak hour headways, eliminating significant service disruptions that occur under joint operations.”

“Light rail service frequencies will increase in future years as the system expands,” officials promise.

You can learn more about the Metro service changes and tunnel transition plans here.