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Fort Lawton
- Base Realignment Closure
- Fort Lawton Historic District in Discovery Park

Frequently Asked Questions

What is happening to the properties inside the park that have housing on them?
Housing Parcels
The City of Seattle is acquiring a parcel of U.S. Navy land, known as the “Capehart site,” that will add 24 acres to Discovery Park’s current 534 acres. The Navy has sold two other parcels of former officers’ and non-commissioned officers’ housing to a private developer.

These actions are taking place because in 1990, Congress adopted legislation requiring the military to be more entrepreneurial in how they deal with their real estate holdings. The U.S. Navy has sold much of its Puget Sound-area housing to a developer, American Eagle, in an arrangement that will allow for housing to be upgraded and replaced at Bremerton and Whidbey Island, for new housing to be built at Everett or Marysville, and for disposal of other housing, including the Capehart housing at Discovery Park.

The parcels affected by these actions are:
1. The “Capehart” site, which includes 66 units of Capehart housing built in the early 1960s on 24 acres, located in the middle of the park. Capehart is the name of a program that began in 1955 to provide for the construction by private developers of housing on U.S. Air Force and Navy bases nationwide.

2. The non-commissioned officers’ housing (also known as the “900 area” and the “Montana Circle Housing”), which includes 13 units on 3.5 acres.

3. The officers’ housing (also known as the “600 area”). These 13 units are on a 5.5 acre parcel in a historic district with views of Puget Sound.

What will happen to each of the properties?
Mayor Nickels worked with King County, the State of Washington, and our state Congressional Delegation to reach an agreement, signed in December 2004, which states that:

--In return for $11.1 million, the 24-acre Capehart housing area will become part of Discovery Park. American Eagle will demolish the Capehart housing down to the foundations, and the City will complete the demolition and convert the site to a meadow consistent with the Master Plan for the park: (
--American Eagle will preserve the historic officers’ and non-commissioned officers’ homes. American Eagle can use, sell, or lease these homes.

Are these properties the same ones being discussed as the Fort Lawton base closure?
No. The Fort Lawton site is targeted under the Federal Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) (click here to see the attached map) for closure in 2009. It is undergoing the BRAC process, which is governed by federal laws and regulations. For more information on this process, please click here.

What protections will be in place for the historic properties?
The transfer of property from the Navy is called an “undertaking” under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The federal agency, in this case the U.S. Navy, is required to meet its obligations under the law and to comply with Section 106 (please see for more information on Section 106).

Section 106 was established to identify historic resources affected by federal actions, and to identify ways to lessen the impact of actions that may have an adverse effect on those properties.

The U.S. Navy, the Washington State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO,) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) are signatories to an amendment to an earlier 2004 Programmatic Agreement among those parties, the City of Seattle, and American Eagle, who were Invited Signatories. For more information on Section 106 and the ACHP, please go to

The amendment to the 2004 Programmatic Agreement identifies specific measures, in addition to those identified by the original agreement, that include identifying a review authority and allowing the City of Seattle to seek delegation of those responsibilities from the SHPO. Friends of Discovery Park has also been invited to be a consulting party to the amendment. In addition to the protective measures included in the Programmatic Agreement, a Historic Preservation Covenant will be conveyed with the deed on the properties.

The Commander, Navy Region Northwest website contains the Conditions Report for the historic properties as well as a documentation of the public process conducted by the Navy as part of the Section 106 consultation process.

The City established a landmark district at Fort Lawton in 1988 through Ordinance 114011 (PDF, 210k). That ordinance includes the properties that were transferred from the U.S. Navy to American Eagle and other City-owned historic properties.

The City has a contract with BOLA Architecture and Planning to update the survey and inventory forms for each of the historic properties in the district and to revise the ordinance in an effort identify the important features of the buildings and landscapes in the district. That process is under way and will be completed in spring 2007.

The City’s Landmarks Preservation Board, a division of the Department of Neighborhoods, will administer that district. The City will simultaneously revise the historic district nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. For more information on the National Register, please go to

The Landmarks Preservation Board will develop, with community input, design guidelines for the administration of the Fort Lawton Landmark District. That effort begins in spring 2007. For more information, please call Karen Gordon, City Historic Preservation Officer, at 684-0381, or e-mail her at

What is the schedule?
The City plans to complete the purchase of the Capehart property in 2007. The City Council must authorize the purchase, and we anticipate City Council action early this summer. The Capehart property is needed for military housing until the replacement housing is built. American Eagle anticipates that this will take place in 2009. Initial demolition will take place in 2009 when the existing homes are vacant.

When will the Capehart property become part of Discovery Park?
Once the Capehart housing is removed by American Eagle, the City will remove the foundations, the road network, and other infrastructure, and will regrade the property. Then Parks will convert the property to a meadow consistent with the Discovery Park Master Plan. More specific dates will be available as it becomes clearer when American Eagle will demolish the housing and vacate the site.



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