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?

The City recently 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. The City has hired a consultant to ensure the full range of environmental impacts are considered through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and will engage the public and solicit input throughout this process. A timeline and list of ways to participate are described in greater detail below.

JUNE 2017

Scoping: The first step in the EIS process is scoping. The purpose of this step is to initiate public involvement in the process, including informing the public about the proposal and draft alternatives, as well as proposed elements of the environment to be studied in the EIS. The scoping process invites public comment, including comment on alternatives, mitigation measures, and probable adverse impacts, which helps the City learn about concerns and potential ways to address concerns.

  • See the public Scoping Notice that describes the proposal and draft alternatives, proposed environmental elements to be studied, and invites comments on the scope of the EIS.
  • Join us on June 19th, 2017 from 6:30-8:30pm for a Public Open House/Scoping Meeting.
    6:30-7:30pm: Open House 7:30-8:30pm: Public Comment
    Location: Daybreak Star Cultural Center, 5011 Bernie Whitebear Way, Seattle, WA 98199  
    This meeting will provide an opportunity for the community to learn about the vision to Fort Lawton, the range of alternatives proposed for study in the EIS, and the elements of the environment proposed to be studied. The City will invite partner community organizations to provide information about their mission and housing model. In addition, the meeting will include opportunities for community members to submit their comments.
  • Also, join us for an additional Public Meeting on June 21 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the Magnolia Community Center (2550 34th Ave W). This meeting will also offer the opportunity to provide written public comment on the scope of the proposal.

  • Additional Ways to Comment: Community members who can't attend the public meeting are invited to send comment in writing:
    • Via e-mail to: OH_Comments@seattle.gov
    • By mail to: Lindsay Masters, Office of Housing, PO Box 94725, Seattle, WA 98124-4725
  • All comments are due no later than 5:00 PM, June 26th, 2017  

FALL 2017   

  • Draft EIS (DEIS)/Public Comment Period: Following the scoping process, the City will incorporate feedback into the scope of the EIS and undertake a detailed environmental study. The DEIS will describe the objectives and purpose of the proposed action, and will include study of a range of alternatives, including a "no action" alternative.  The study will also describe the affected environment, identify significant impacts, and potential mitigation measures. The DEIS is followed by a 30 or 45-day comment period, which creates an opportunity for the public to review the document and provide suggestions for improving the analysis. These comments will help the City to improve the completeness, accuracy, and objectivity of the analysis.
  • Draft EIS Hearing: Following publication of the Draft EIS, we will hold a public hearing to collect comments. In addition, members of the public may submit comments by mail or email.  

WINTER 2018   

  • Issuance of Final EIS (FEIS): Following the public comment period, the FEIS will be published. The FEIS will include a response to all public comments received on the DEIS.  

SPRING/SUMMER 2018  

  • Proposed Redevelopment Plan:  Based on the FEIS, a proposed Redevelopment Plan for Fort Lawton will be prepared.  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.