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Seattle Development News Thread

41258 Views 495 Replies 37 Participants Last post by  jmancuso
OK, post Seattle stuff here. For the whole Puget Sound region.
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Pics from WAMU tower and Cristalla (also Viaduct news)

Just got back from the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Waterfront presentation. Very cool stuff and a lot of people in attendance. You had a few protesters outside that want to rebuild the viaduct (besides money and a view, I don't understand the argument) and a few more whiners and complainers inside.

I have to admire the people there to answer questions for all of the complaints they have to put up with. Most of them were really professional and informative.

On my way back home I took a couple of pictures of the WAMU/SAM building and the new Cristalla building. You'll see from the pics that some of the exterior on the WAMU/SAM tower is being put on; they are going to be putting up the rest in the next week or so. Half of the steel for the SAM is fireproofed and the exterior frames are ready for the windows and skin. Should be an interesting couple of weeks.

Cristalla from up close is absolutely amazing. The quality of work on this building is fabulous and the integration of the old Bethel Chapel exterior works well. The sidewalk has very intricate details and stands out from the rest of the street.

Enjoy the pictures!!!
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Here are the pics

It's 4MB but worth it. By the way, I agree with PDXPaul; taking a second look I think it would be better to put light rail on the same corridor.

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Pier 48 (Colman Dock)

Pier 48 is Colman Dock, the Washington State Ferries terminal in Seattle. I spent a few minutes talking to them about what they were going to build. Basically they are going to make a massive terminal like the train terminals in Europe (think Paris, London) but more modern. This will be a signature, iconic building for the waterfront. The holding areas for the cars that are waiting to board is actually underneath the dock and extends south under the water. The entrance would be at Jackson Street.

Costs are $250 million covered by the 5 cent gas tax approved a couple of years ago. WSF will also receive revenue from any part of the property that is developed for commercial purposes. The entrance on Alaskan Way will be open and well light, modern and restore some of the shoreline to make it feel more natural.
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Pier 48

You're right. 48 is next door.

The pictures I shot were from the Alaskan Way Viaduct meeting at Benaroya Hall on Tuesday night.
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Why we don't have a subway

Here's what happened.

Late 60's, early 70's....... Boeing has a massive economic downturn and lays off a bunch of people.... Seattle freaked and people started to move away.

The city fathers at that time came up with the idea of Forward Thrust which had a bunch of items on it (Kingdome, Metro, parks, aquarium, etc. and most importantly a new subway system). Forward Thrust had several portions of the intiative so people could vote yes or no on the individual pieces. The opposition basically told people that they could get everything minus the subway for less than the entire subway system would cost. Everything passed except the rail portion.

When it was defeated the money that was to come from the Feds went to Atlanta and thus was born MARTA (Metropolitan Alanta Rapid Transit Authority).

You can read more at Read what Mayor Braman said about the rejection of the transit portion.
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Today's (09/27/05) Daily Journal of Commerce ( states that Vulcan has 10 new residential projects that are going to be announced. Anyone know what these might be besides yesterday's announcement?
Great posts. What we really need is someone to do an update of the under construction/approved and proposed list with links. Anyone???
True, true, but I know someone out there want's to take a crack at it.
Also, what do you think about replicating some sort of system of trams (streetcars) like they have in Melbourne? Check out I used these while I was there and they were exceptional. The monorail seems to be going down in flames and I wondered if people have other ideas for Seattle's neighborhoods? Let Sound Transit solve the regional mobility issue with light rail and Seattle with a tram network to connect it's neighborhoods starting with the West Seattle and Ballard and connecting other close in neighborhoods (i.e. Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, First Hill, Eastlake, ID, Pioneer Square, etc.). Paying for it is obviously going to be an issue but I think that they should raise the sales tax by .5% to generate the revenue necessary. Any feedback?
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I also agree with you about reducing dependency on foreign oil but jacking up prices for gasoline hurts everyone as has been stated. Here are my reasons for trams from a developement perspective:
1. A line that is static and dedicated makes the willingness of developers to invest in properties on and near the line. We'll see how this works in South Lake Union.
2. Trams will replace bus lines that can be used elsewhere and reduce fumes and pollutions in the city core and connected neighborhoods.
3. Running a schedule of intervals rather than time (every 10 minutes instead of 4:30, 4:45, etc.) helps people to rely on a constant source of transportation throughout the city. This system would need to run at least 18 hours per day for people to take full advantage of wanting to have dinner in Queen Anne if they live in West Seattle.
4. At grade construction would not require underground utilities to be relocated en masse unless absolutely needed. Two bridges are required for Ballard and West Seattle.
5. Streetcars will drive up the value of surrounding properties.

1. Obviously taxes will need to be levied to pay for this system. Nothing is free but it needs to be equitable and create enough revenue to pay for the system one part at a time.
2. Because the system is at grade it will be a part of traffic rather than above or below. I suggest creating transit only lanes on busy routes to separate cars from trams (i.e 5th Ave which is a one way only going south; other streets can absorb this traffic)
3. The political will to get this done probably is not there. Because of the monorail fiasco there is a hesitancy to tax people again for a system that might or might not be built. I think once the South Lake Union streetcar is built it could be a catalyst for other lines. Making this system part of Sound Transit might help.
4. Lines might be built into the more affluent areas first. To really make a difference start lines in areas where it can be used to help those without cars get around the city to jobs, groceries, etc.

These are just my thoughts. I have ideas for where this system could start and build out but they are only my ideas. I think from a developement standpoint this would go a long way to creating great urban villages and offices within Seattle and the surrounding neighborhoods.
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The biggest issue is that the Federal government doesn't subsidize mass transit transportation in it's large cities to the extent it used to (30+ years ago). Seattlelites want mass transit in a huge way; this kind of technology can be more widespread and have better penetration with the same amount of dollars as a 2 line subway system. Our soil presents many challenges to tunnelling whereas streetcars have that kind of European appeal that a progressive city like Seattle could handle and enjoy.

Anyway, is there any new news of developments in Seattle?
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