Mayor Durkan Announces She Will Transmit Legislation to Advance Seattle’s New “Waterfront for All”

Seattle (January 3, 2019) – Joined by community members at the Seattle waterfront, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today she will transmit legislation to complete funding of Seattle’s new “Waterfront for All” that will include 20 acres of public spaces and an elevated pathway reconnecting Pike Place Market and downtown to the waterfront.

If passed by the City Council, the legislation will help ensure that full construction on the new waterfront will begin in 2019 with funding from the philanthropic community, City, and State.

Of the approximately $711 million need to construct the new waterfront, less than one third will come from City sources.

To fund construction of the waterfront, the philanthropic community has committed $110 million, while the City of Seattle will invest $248 million, including funding from the Park Improvement District. Under the legislation, commercial and residential property owners who stand to benefit most directly from the waterfront improvements will contribute $160 million as part of a Local Improvement District. It would also establish a partnership between Seattle Parks and Recreation and the nonprofit Friends of Waterfront Seattle to ensure that new waterfront park spaces are safe and well-maintained.

In addition, the State of Washington has committed $193 million for the new Alaskan Way to maintain a critical freight and Port connection along the waterfront.

Following the permanent closure and demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, Seattle’s Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects will rebuild Alaskan Way and critical infrastructure in the SR99 corridor, as well as build park elements including a park promenade, park piers, an overlook connecting the waterfront to Pike Place Market, and pedestrian improvements on Union Street, in Pioneer Square and on Pike and Pine streets in the heart of the retail district. Seattle’s new waterfront will support safe and efficient travel for pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicles and freight, while providing much-needed green space to support Seattle’s continued growth.

“As we build a city of the future, we are reconnecting Seattle with our heartbeat – the Puget Sound – and creating a new Waterfront for All for the next generation. When the viaduct comes down and we reconnect our downtown to our waterfront, there will be a collective gasp of awe,” said Mayor Durkan. “This legislation will help ensure the next generation of Seattleites have the chance to make new memories on our waterfront and have access to great new public spaces.”

“Rarely does a city have the opportunity like the one before us, the creation of a beautiful waterfront park with public spaces that reconnect people to our urban shoreline, each other, and demonstrate our environmental values,” said Maggie Walker, Board Chair, Friends of Waterfront Seattle. “The vision for the park has been developed through unprecedented collaboration among government, community partners, philanthropy, the business sector, numerous stakeholders, and the greater public. With the removal of the viaduct, we are now on our way to realizing the vision, and Friends is ready and thrilled to be at this moment.”

The Waterfront for All design and construction process was informed by extensive community engagement with downtown residents and residents citywide. Since 2011, the City has engaged more than 17,000 people including briefings, tours, workgroups, and workshops, and received more than 7,000 public comments.

“The new waterfront will be an incredible asset, not only for downtown, but for our entire region,” said Downtown Seattle Association President & CEO Jon Scholes. “Everyone stands to gain from this shared investment in a great public space.”

Under the proposed Waterfront Local Improvement District, the typical downtown condo owner would pay approximately $8 per month, or $96 per year, over 20 years, which totals approximately $1,900 over the 20-year term. Typical commercial property owners would pay $25 per month, or $300 per year, over the same term. Deferrals are available for senior, disabled, and low-income individuals as well as those experiencing economic hardship.

To learn more about Seattle’s new waterfront, please visit the City’s Waterfront Seattle Program.