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Seattle's City Halls - Home
Introduction
Seattle's First City Hall
Katzenjammer Castle
The Third City Hall
The Bogue Plan
The County-City Building
Proposed Public Buildings Area
The Municipal Building
The Quest for a New City Hall
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Seattle's City Halls

The Quest for a New City Hall

model of new city hall
Model of new city hall

By the 1970s, the City was again looking for more office space. In 1973, a five-story wing on the east side of the Municipal Building was contemplated, with an estimated cost of $3.5 million. A space study done in 1975 to find a way to consolidate the 100,000 square feet of leased office space throughout the City concluded that the City should lease the old Public Safety Building at Fourth and Yesler for a five-year period while initiating the construction of a new City building. Another plan suggested the City consolidate rented space into either the Old Public Safety Building or the Alaska Building but this plan was rejected by City Council.

Another study done in 1986 also concluded that construction of a new City Hall was needed. The estimated cost by this time was $129 million. Although nine locations were suggested for the new civic complex, including the Washington State Convention Center and the Metro Transit building at Ninth and Pine, the two most popular suggestions were the King and Union Street stations and the existing City Hall site.

city hall groundbreaking
City hall groundbreaking

Despite hearings and resolutions on the municipal complex or campus, nothing was built. In the 1990s, the idea for a new Civic Center arose again. With the purchase of Key Tower in 1996 came the debate over whether or not the City could put City Hall in a skyscraper.

In 1997, the City Council adopted a conceptual vision of a smaller City Hall, that of "an important public place for Seattle's citizens while creating an appropriate, efficient, and nurturing environment for our city government." The new City Hall, designed by architect Peter Bohlin of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Bassetti Architects, was approved by City Council on January 22, 2001, and construction was completed in the summer of 2003.

City Hall
City Hall

The smaller City Hall houses the Mayor's Office, the City Council offices and Chambers, the Legislative Department, the Civil Law division of the City Law Department, and key customer services. The City Hall, the new Justice Center, and Key Tower, form a triangle in the new civil complex.

The building celebrates the civic and participatory nature of Seattle's community through a design that focuses on public spaces and experiences. It is meant to last for 100 years.


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