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Seattle Municipal Civic Center Master Plan
June 1999

Back To Table of Contents :: On To Section 3: The Direction

Section 2 - Background

The Mayor and City Council authorized the creation of a Civic Center Master Plan in July of 1998. A great deal of work had already been done by City staff, citizens and consultants, encouraging a municipal campus that could invite participation in the public realm, express our civic identity, and be an attractive and lively gathering place for the people of Seattle. This master plan is built on those efforts, and began with a review of these recommendations and decisions regarding City goals, functions and properties.

The City acquired Key Tower in 1996 after much consideration of options for meeting their needs for space. After looking at the various alternatives, decision makers concluded that the most cost effective direction was to sell the City Light Building, and to eventually demolish the Municipal Building and the Public Safety Building. The West Precinct Police Station and the 911 Call Center would move to a newly constructed facility on City-owned property and Police support functions would move outside of the downtown. The Long Range Facilities Plan of June, 1997, called for the location of the Municipal Court into a new building on the half-block directly east of the Municipal Building.

With these decisions, the City holds property on three contiguous blocks rising up the hillside from Third Avenue between Cherry and James Streets, with Key Tower adjacent to the Municipal Courthouse site. The challenge of this plan is to develop these four blocks into a cohesive, attractive and functional civic precinct, to create the best possible access for citizens, and to best utilize the two blocks where buildings would be demolished. In addition, the plan considered reuse options for using the nearby historic buildings owned by the City: the Dexter Horton Building, the Alaska Building, and the Arctic Building.

At the time the Master Plan was authorized, the starting point for the plan was outlined in a resolution approved by the Mayor and City Council and intended to give guidance to the Municipal Civic Center Plan. The civic center is to include construction of a new building to house the Mayor, the City Council and key customer services, with approximately 170,000 gross square feet. The preferred location for this building would be on the Municipal Building block, located on the east side of the block so that the existing building could remain occupied during construction of the new City Hall. The City was to retain the Arctic Building and improve its seismic capacity, and proceed with plans to sell the Alaska Building and the Dexter Horton Building, therein since the space would no longer be necessary for City use..

This plan has been developed with direction from the Civic Center Oversight Committee, the Citys Executive Services Department, and a number of well-attended workshops.

Back To Table of Contents :: On To Section 3: The Direction