Seattle Asian Art Museum Improvements

Updated: December 6, 2016

Fall 2016

The 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy allocated $9 million to provide renovations to the Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM) including seismic and HVAC upgrades to allow continued use of the facility as a home for the museum at Volunteer Park. This funding would pay for approximately 40 percent of the total anticipated cost of the renovations and Seattle Art Museum (SAM) would raise the additional funding to make the project whole.

The recession made it unlikely SAM could raise the like amount, so Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) used the funding on several much-needed major maintenance projects elsewhere in the park system.

SAM starting raising funding to move the renovation forward and proposed expanding the museum. The renovation and expansion goals include preserving the historic building; improving the museum's infrastructure; protecting the collection with climate control and seismic system upgrades; adding vital gallery and education space with a modest expansion; and enhancing ADA accessibility and the museum's connection to beautiful Volunteer Park.

Renovation and proposed expansion plans are in progress and your input will help implement changes that will best serve the visitors and members who cherish this world-renowned collection. Help the Asian Art Museum become a modern museum in a historic building at this series of community feedback events.

Public Meetings

Wednesday, October 5
Room L2-80, Boards and Commissions City Hall
3:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 15
Asian Art Museum Alvord Board Room
1 PM - 2:30 PM

Saturday, November 19
Asian Art Museum 
1 PM - 2:30 PM
Seattle Parks and Recreation is co-sponsoring this meeting.

Saturday, December 10
Asian Art Museum
Alvord Board Room
1 - 2:30 p.m.

Renovation and proposed expansion plans are in progress for the Asian Art Museum and your input will help us implement changes that will best serve the visitors and members who cherish this world-renowned collection. Help the Asian Art Museum become a modern museum in a historic building at this series of community feedback events.

History

The Seattle Asian Art Museum was built in Volunteer Park in 1933. The City of Seattle owns the building and the land under it, Volunteer Park.

The museum building underwent the addition of an office in 1947, the addition of a gallery in 1954, the addition of a board room in 1955 and the addition of an elevator in 2007. SPR and SAM entered a 2007 Memorandum of Agreement under which the City accepted SAM's offer to act as its agent for the purpose of seeking permits and design approvals, and calls for a letter authorizing this and a separate construction agreement.

The renovation of SAAM was a named project in the 2008 Park and Green Spaces Levy, funded in the amount of $9 million. SAAM agreed to raise a like amount to make the project budget whole. The recession made it unlikely SAM could raise the like amount, so SPR used the funding on several much-needed major maintenance projects elsewhere in the park system.

Levy funding for major maintenance projects has been replaced with funding from Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) revenues The city's contribution in the current proposed budget includes $14 million in 2017 and $5 million in 2018 to support the improvements.

Location

1400 East Prospect Street in Volunteer Park

Budget

The Parks and Green Spaces Levy allocates $9 million dollars toward the renovation.

Renovation and Proposed Expansion Project

SAM has moved forward with the design of the project, which now includes the originally anticipated renovations, upgrades and structural improvements, and an addition of gallery and educational space.  The addition includes an approximate 3,200 square foot expansion footprint further into the east landscape.

SAM began holding public meetings in July. SAM made presentations to the Architectural Review Committee, a subcommittee of the Landmarks Review Board, on May 27, June 23 and August 12. SAM needs a Certificate of Approval from the Landmarks Review Board to alter a designated landmark, which Volunteer Park has been since 1989.  The Landmarks Review Board review process has started; more information can be found at City of Seattle Landmarks.

Seattle Parks and Recreation is a partner in the project by virtue of the Major Maintenance funding in the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy in the project budget, and its status as the owner of the building and the land. SPR will review the project in terms of its design and integration into the park, in terms of project scope to make sure it meets the project description in the levy language, and for an analysis of the possible impacts of Initiative 42. This review is underway.  

ProView, SPR's internal project review team, reviewed the project on September 20. At that time SAM committed to bring back a final schematic design, as the landscape design around the building was in flux and the preliminary schematic plan was no longer accurate.

Attending ProView are SPR staff most knowledgeable about the facility or park and about its users, neighbors, nearby community organizations, demographics, historic landmarks, and active issues. Also attending ProView are the project manager and skilled trade, volunteer coordinator, or other staff bearing some responsibility for or knowledge of the project. 

This project has been submitted to Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) for initial permitting review. SDCI will be holding a public meeting to review this application on Thursday, December 15, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. at the Miller Community Center, 330 19th Ave E.  Written and/or oral comments may be submitted at the meeting.

Additional meeting details

If you are unable to attend meeting

  • Comments on the proposed land use action/application can be submitted to the Public Resource Center by email to prc@seattle.gov (include the project number (3024753) and address (1400 E Prospect St) in the email).
  • Questions about the land use permit process can be directed to Josh Johnson at joshua.johnson@seattle.gov.
  • Questions about the land use code amendment process can be directed to Christina Ghan at christina.ghan@seattle.gov.
  • Related documents can be viewed online at http://web6.seattle.gov/dpd/edms by searching the project number (3024753) or address (1400 E Prospect St).

Supporting Documents

Other Public Forums

Thursday, June 23

Seattle Board of Park Commissioners
100 Dexter Ave. N, Kenneth R. Bounds Board Room
6:30 - 9 p.m.  
Michael Shiosaki, Director of the Planning and Development Division of Seattle Parks and Recreation introduces Kim Rorschach, the Executive Director of the Seattle Art Museum and Sam Miller, partner and Architect for the Expansion project came to provide a briefing on the Asian Art Museum Expansion. 

News media to date on the project:

6/2 SAM seeks GC/GM to expand and renovate Volunteer Park Museum

8/28 And what the Seattle Asian Art Museum expansion could look like too

8/30 Seattle Residents Protest Asian Art Museum's $45 Million Expansion Project

9/10 Live from the Seattle Art Museum expansion meeting

9/11 Volunteer Park's Seattle Asian Art Museum shows design for "park lobby" expansion and overhaul

9/21 SAM hosting Seattle Asian Art Museum renovation, expansion feedback meeting Saturday

9/22 Asian Art Museum receives design tweaks