Mike McGinn, Mayor
1/23/2007 6:20:00 AM
Martin McOmber, 684-8358
Todd Burley (206) 684-5081
Seattle Seeks Redevelopment Proposals for old INS Building
City issues RFP following discussions with federal officials
SEATTLE – Mayor Greg Nickels announced today the city of Seattle is seeking proposals for the redevelopment of the old Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) Federal Building at 815 Airport Way S. in the Chinatown International District. Responses to the request for proposals (RFP) are due by 5 p.m., March 20, 2007. The complete RFP can be downloaded at: http://www.seattle.gov/realestate/default.htm.
“This building has considerable historical significance on both a local and national level,” Nickels said. “We’re looking for ideas that will fuel neighborhood revitalization, while preserving the building’s historic elements and celebrating the immigrant experience.”
A community meeting is scheduled to share information on the status of the INS Building, review steps the city has taken this last year and outline next steps:
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Tashiro Kaplan Community Room
115 Prefontaine South
The building has been vacant since the fall of 2004, though the federal government has allowed SHARE/WHEEL to use basement space for temporary emergency shelter. In March 2006, the City Council authorized the Office of Housing to enter into talks with the federal government regarding redevelopment of the building.
Discussions at previous public meetings have identified several desirable options for the property, such as affordable housing (particularly for downtown workers), retail space, historical exhibit space, and space for agencies serving immigrants. Through the RFP process, the city seeks a development entity that can redevelop the site while meeting the city’s objectives. Those objectives include a development plan that:
- Preserves historic building elements, remembers and celebrates the immigrant experience, and reflects the historic uses of the building.
- Incorporates as much of the community vision as possible.
- Meets the city’s sustainability objectives in design, operations and maintenance.
- Furthers the city’s goals of increasing participation of disadvantaged businesses.
- Is financially viable over the long term without need for city funding.
Opened in 1932, the INS Building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 at the “national” level of significance, meeting National Register listing criteria for both exterior and interior features that should be preserved, in view of its important role in broad patterns of the nation’s history as well as an important example of Neo-Classical architectural design. National Register listing of the site recognizes the impact that early 20th century U.S. immigration policies had both nationally, as well as on the world stage. The United States Assay Office was housed on the building’s top floor, where millions of dollars of gold and other precious metals were processed.
The U.S. General Services Agency (GSA) conducted an RFP process for the INS Building several years ago but it did not result in the selection of a developer. The GSA then invited interest by other government agencies. Seattle stepped forward and indicated strong interest in facilitating transfer of ownership to further the community’s revitalization objectives for this key south downtown location.
Get the mayor’s inside view on initiatives to promote transportation, public safety, economic opportunity and healthy communities by signing up for The Nickels Newsletter at www.seattle.gov/mayor/newsletter_signup.htm.
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