Mike McGinn, Mayor
6/26/2003 11:05:00 AM
Karin Zaugg (206) 733-9810
Mayor Celebrates UW Lease Lid Signing with Council members, community and business leaders
SEATTLE - Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and dozens of business and community leaders today celebrated completed work in the U-District and the beginning of great things to come on the Ave. The Mayor signed critical pieces of legislation that set the framework for increased partnership and economic development projects in the University District.
"Since launching the U-District Revitalization Strategy in February, we have made great progress in rebuilding the Ave, making people safer and promoting economic revitalization," said Mayor Nickels.
The Mayor signed four pieces of legislation related to the University District:
1) An ordinance amending the 1998 City-University Agreement to lift the 550,000 square foot lease lid imposed on UW leases in the University District;
2) a Residential Disturbance Ordinance which amends the City's noise ordinance to provide additional enforcement tools for the police to use to impede things such as noisy party houses;
3) a resolution to develop housing strategies; and
4) a resolution to develop a revitalization plan for the University District.
"With the signing of the lease lid legislation, the University is now ready to join forces with the City and local businesses in revitalizing the Ave," said Nickels. "The major legislative hurdles are now behind us and we can focus on the key remaining component of the revitalization strategy: housing development."
"The University of Washington is the largest employer in the City and one of the bright spots for the region's economy," said Councilmember Jan Drago, who helped steer the legislation through the Council. "We're not talking about a billion-dollar tax break here, but simply a fresh look at how the City could work with the university to spur economic development and job growth."
The Mayor congratulated the business and community partners on their hard work and accomplishments, including thanking SAFECO, University of Washington, University Bookstore, Wells Fargo and University Tower Hotel for their combined contribution of $250,000 for increased police patrols.
The Mayor also noted the new noise ordinance will give police new tools to ensure a quieter residential neighborhood, and the progress on Ave. street improvements with wider sidewalks and new benches and street lighting.
"As a small business owner of a retail store, I'm excited about what's happening on the Ave," said Fred Hart, La Tienda Folk Art Gallery. "I've been impressed with the speed at which the City as been working on infrastructure improvements. We're bringing back the Ave - it's a better place to live and shop."
"The business community is very pleased with the breadth of support we've received from the City," said Teresa Lord Hugel, Executive Director, Greater University Chamber of Commerce. "Together we're looking at the big picture, from the business district to housing availability, from public safety to open space - we're setting short-term and long-term goals for all the components. It's an excellent collaboration of our community partners."
Said Nickels: "All of us - the City, the University, the community, the service providers, neighborhoods, and businesses -- have done a lot to help bring back the Ave's greatness. But we've got a lot a lot more to do. The legislation I've signed today sets the stage for great things to come."
For more information, please visit the mayor's web site at www.seattle.gov/mayor.