Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) has broken ground on an additional facility called Summit under a $1.7bn project.
While the existing facility will be called Arch, emulating that of the sky bridge and canopy arch along Pike Street between Seventh Avenue and Eighth Avenue, Summit will be an architectural design feature with Seattle’s geography and dramatic staircase in the design.
The Summit building is expected to attract more than 400,000 conventioneers to the city and generate over $19m in tax revenue each year by bringing demand to hotels, attractions, local restaurants and retailers, performing arts centres and cultural sites.
Leaders have opted to issue a bond and finance the project with existing taxes garnered from hotel room occupancy charges.
The facility is expected to create as many as 6,000 union positions over the next three years during construction, and after its opening, Summit is estimated to create 3,900 new, permanent jobs across the region.
Convention and local officials have earmarked $93 from the project to improve pedestrian and transit infrastructure, refurbish open space sites and create affordable housing opportunities in the region.
Pedestrian corridors near the Summit building will be improved by widening sidewalks and adding better lighting and landscaping.
Streets that will be improved for pedestrians include Pike and Pine streets between downtown and Capitol Hill, as well as Boren and Ninth avenues near the additional facility.
Intersection connections for pedestrians in the Denny Triangle, Capitol Hill and First Hill neighbourhoods will also be improved.
The project will help fund protected lanes on Pike and Pine streets and along Eighth Avenue streets for pedestrians and cyclists.
Safety improvements will also be taken up on Olive Way and Ninth Avenue for the benefit of drivers and mass transit riders.
Under the project, Freeway Park will receive $10m in upgrades and improvements and $39.3m has been earmarked to provide affordable housing opportunities in the area as part of the convention centre’s 30-year commitment.
WSCC will also continue to partner with FareStart, Mary’s Place and other organisations to offer employment and facilities to participants.
The Summit building, which will have a Northwest, urban, 21st century design, is expected to be LEED Gold Certified, and the vertical structure of steel and glass will allow interaction and integration between interior and exterior activities.
The building will also expand WSCC’s public art programme, which features Northwest artists.
Image: A rendering of WSCC’s Summit building. Photo: courtesy of Visit Seattle.