City of Seattle to Provide Immediate Rent Relief for Nonprofit and Small Business Tenants

City to Provide $400,000 in Rent Relief to an Estimated 90 Arts and Cultural Nonprofits, Small Businesses, and Artist Studios that Rent City-Owned Property, including Seattle Center

Seattle (March 20, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today that the City of Seattle will provide $400,000 in rent relief to arts and cultural and other nonprofits, small businesses, and artists’ studios that are located on City-owned facilities. An estimated 90 tenants on the Seattle Center grounds and on Parks and Recreation facilities will receive immediate financial relief in the form of rent waivers or rent deferment for April and May.

“Earlier this week, we announced an eviction moratorium to help our small businesses and nonprofits retain their livelihoods and a first-of-its-kind Arts Recovery Package. We’re building on that work by providing immediate financial relief for renters of City-owned facilities,” said Mayor Durkan. “We know that the economic impacts on our small businesses, nonprofits, and cultural community will be devastating, and that many might not be able to pay rent for weeks and months to come. I urge property owners throughout the City to adopt this practice immediately if they’re able to. Now more than ever, we must be compassionate with one another, and look after each other during this unprecedented time.”

“These nonprofits and the artists they employ provide a cultural salve our city desperately needs in this time of emergency,” said Councilmember Andrew J. Lewis (District 7 – Pioneer Square to Magnolia). “I am proud to work with the Mayor and my Council colleagues to ensure that this important part of Seattle will still be here when this crisis is over.”

“Providing rent relief for our nonprofit partners and small businesses in City-owned buildings will allow them to continue to do their important work serving our community during this uncertain time. Our nonprofit human service providers are on the front lines, serving vulnerable communities who are most impacted by the coronavirus, and small businesses keep our local economy strong. Together, with the workers who keep them running, they make up the fabric of our community and we must protect them.” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide).

While rent arrangements vary across City-owned facilities, the City will provide rent relief in the equivalent of two months. For nonprofit organizations and renters with artist studio licenses, including Seattle Children’s Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Cascade Bicycle Club, the relief is in the form of rent forgiveness. For businesses including Arena Sports, Marination Station, and vendors in the Armory their rent will be deferred.

The City of Seattle is committed to providing immediate relief for small businesses and arts and cultural and other nonprofit organizations financially impacted by COVID-19. Through this initiative the City will work with organizations and businesses on an individual basis to develop longer-term responses. The City will be looking at all components of rent arrangements including cash, public benefit, in-kind and capital investment rent.

“The far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 have devastated the arts organizations and businesses that reside at Seattle Center, and this has been felt by the thousands of people who work on the grounds and broader communities they serve. We are so pleased to be able to offer this critical support and essential lifeline for our resident tenants,” said Seattle Center director Robert Nellams.

“Due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in our community, we estimate that Seattle Children’s Theatre will lose at least $1 million in operating revenue through the end of May 2020. The cancellation of our Drama School, public performances, and state-wide Arts-Based Learning Program means lost work for Teaching Artists, Actors, Designers, Theatre Technicians and so many more. The forgiveness of rent during this challenging time allows SCT to retain more staff, keeping more people employed, offering some peace of mind and giving teams the opportunity to focus on reimagining the presentation and delivery of our programs. It is through the ongoing support of the City and our community that we will remain an unparalleled resource for young people and their families—something we are proud to provide now more than ever,” said Kevin Malgesini, Seattle Children’s Theatre managing director.

“These arts and cultural organizations and small businesses make the unique fabric of this city a place we all want to call home. We are doing everything we can to ensure that they will still be here when this crisis is over and we can celebrate once again this incredible city,” said Seattle Office of Arts & Culture director Randy Engstrom.

“Our parks and recreation tenants are our partners in extending our recreation offerings in diverse, innovative, and accessible ways. I am pleased that the City will be able to offer this critical support to these partners at such a challenging time for our city,” said Seattle Parks and Recreation superintendent Jesús Aguirre.

Mayor Durkan and the City of Seattle have worked to implement a series of actions that support artists, nonprofits, small business, and workers, including:  

In addition, she continues to advocate for a comprehensive small business and worker relief package from Congress to provide immediate and lasting relief to Seattle communities impacted by COVID-19, and the City is working quickly to scale new programs. The City has created a comprehensive resource page for residents and small businesses impacted by COVID-19. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.