Seattle Land Condemned for Major Convention Center Expansion

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Seattle, WA – The final parcel of land needed for a planned major expansion of Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) has been condemned, which should speed up the negotiations over its purchase.

The King County Council voted March 2 to condemn the Howell Street site that currently has two restaurants on it. The condemnation was deemed necessary after the owner of the site refused to accept a $2.9 million offer from the Public Facility District, KING-TV reported. Condemning the property is a tool used by the government when efforts to negotiate a price with a landowner fails.

Howell Street is one of three lots that are in the process of being purchased for the $1.4 billion expansion. The other two are owned by King County and the regional mass-transit agency.

Overall, the WSCC expansion will roughly double the size of the current facility to nearly 500,000 sf of prime exhibit space. Convention center officials have said that because the WSCC is not big enough, they continue to lose business, specifically noting that 300 conventions were lost in the last five years.

Pine Street Group, the project managers for the expansion, have stated they hope to begin construction in 2017 with completion in 2020. An environmental impact study released this month said the WSCC would grow by more than 1.2 million gross square feet (sf). It would add around 250,000 sf of exhibit space, 125,000 sf of meeting space, a ballroom, parking structure and 30 truck bays.

The WSCC currently has 236,700 sf of prime exhibit space, 123,761 sf of meeting space, and 27,468 sf of flex space. It is ranked 56th on the list of Trade Show Executive’s World’s Top Convention Centers (WTCC). By adding 250,000 sf of prime space, the completed facility would offer 486,700 sf of prime space, bumping Minneapolis out of 31st place on the WTCC.

Reach Jeff Blosser, WSCC president & CEO, at (206) 694-5010 or jeff.blosser@wscc.com

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