Fort Lawton Redevelopment

History and past planning

Fort Lawton was established as an Army installation in the late 1890's on Magnolia Bluff in Seattle.  Originally, the fort was a military reservation of over 700 acres.  In the late 1960's, much of the property became surplus to the needs of the United States Army, and was transferred by the federal government to the City of Seattle at no cost under the "Legacy of Parks" program to create Discovery Park in 1972.  Several other parcels were subsequently added to the park over the next few decades.  In 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) decided to close the 70th Regional Support Command headquarters located at Fort Lawton. The Army named the City of Seattle the Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA), responsible for preparing and implementing a redevelopment plan. The City conducted an extensive public process that resulted in a detailed plan to create a diverse, mixed-income community with housing for homeless individuals and families and market rate housing, while also preserving existing wildlife habitat and creating a new neighborhood park. The plan was put on hold, when the City was directed to undergo State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) review, followed by significant changes in market conditions.

What Is the vision for Fort Lawton today?

The City's vision for Fort Lawton is an affordable, livable community that creates opportunities for those with low incomes to live in the Magnolia neighborhood, and takes advantage of the opportunity to increase recreational and open space for Seattle. This vision builds off past planning efforts, while recognizing the City's present needs and priorities. To accomplish this, the City is working on a redevelopment plan that includes:

  • Supportive housing with on-site services for homeless seniors, including veterans;
  • Affordable rental housing for low-wage households, including families with children;
  • Affordable homeownership opportunities for low-income families;
  • Preservation of existing natural areas that support wildlife habitat;
  • Development of new park spaces that support a variety of uses including active recreation; and
  • Re-use of one of the structures and associated parking as a maintenance facility for Seattle Parks and Recreation.

The success of this vision will depend on strong City partnership with community stakeholders, service providers and public agencies to best support new low-income residents in the neighborhood. The City is committed to fostering these partnerships throughout the planning process.

Download the Fort Lawton Redevelopment handout >

What is the City's decision-making process, and how can I engage?

In 2017, the City entered into a 5-year lease agreement that releases the Army from the ongoing costs of maintaining the property, while ensuring adequate time for the City to conduct SEPA review and create an updated redevelopment plan for consideration by the City Council. Throughout 2017 and early 2018, the City conducted an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process to ensure detailed study of the potential environmental impacts of the proposal, and collect public input throughout the process. To sign up for updates on the project, please email OH_Comments@seattle.gov.

  • Scoping Process: We initiated the scoping process in June 2017, and received many comments during the public comment period and at two public meetings. The scoping process provided information on the proposal and draft alternatives, as well as proposed elements of the environment to be studied in the EIS. We invited comment on the range of alternatives, mitigation measures, and probable adverse impacts. These comments and the final scope are described in a Scoping Report published in August 2017. See Open House/Scoping Meeting Materials for more information.
  • Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Public Hearing: On December 14th, we published a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that included a detailed environmental study of the proposal, including study of a range of alternatives.  We also conducted an extended 45-day comment period that included a public hearing on January 9th. The comment period concluded on January 29th, 2018, and resulted in over 1,000 written and oral comments.
  • Final Environmental Impact Statement: On March 29th, we issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the project, which included revisions to the DEIS as a result of comments received, and responses to public comments.

Next Steps: Proposed Redevelopment Plan (Spring - Summer2018) 

  • Proposed Redevelopment Plan: Based on the FEIS, OH will work to draft a proposed Redevelopment Plan for Fort Lawton.  Public comment on the plan will be taken before the plan is forwarded to the City Council.
  • City Council Review and Adoption: The Proposed Redevelopment Plan will be submitted to the City Council for review and adoption.  The City Council may seek additional public review once the plan is submitted.
  • Seattle Parks and Recreation property:  If the Proposed Redevelopment Plan proceeds and a portion of the property is conveyed for park uses, the site would likely be treated as a land-banked site until funding is identified.  Once funding is available, Seattle Parks and Recreation would run an additional public engagement and outreach process.
  • Seattle Public Schools: The City of Seattle has also agreed to work with Seattle Public Schools (SPS) on an opportunity for SPS to own a portion of the property dedicated to active park uses. The agreement can be viewed here (Page 3). SPS would also conduct public outreach and engagement in coordination with the City of Seattle once funding for development is identified.