Seattle Parks and Recreation Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent
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Langston Hughes
Parks and Green Spaces Levy
Project Information


Location: 104 17th Ave S, Seattle WA 98144

Project Status

Thank you Seattle! This project is complete.
This project is now substantially complete! The staff is beginning to reoccupy the building and the kick off event was on April 14, 2012 with an opening night event for the African American Film Festival. The opening dedication is scheduled for May 1, 2012.

The facility is closed through March 2012 to accommodate planned seismic and electrical renovations along with architectural improvements to the interior. During construction we have uncovered issues relating to health and safety and provided Andersen Construction, the contractor, with a construction extension. Parks is currently working with the contractor to address these additional issues while proceeding with regular contracting scope of work.

The primary consultant for these improvements is Ron Wright and Associates. Construction has been awarded to Andersen Construction, and is now underway.

Some of the improvements include:

  • Essential structural upgrades to the dome, including steel reinforcement and additional concrete support columns.
  • Improved electrical systems.
  • Improved sound system.
  • ADA improvements to restrooms and other locations within the facility.
  • Fire safety improvements.
  • A variety of architectural improvements throughout the facility.

104 17th Ave S, Seattle WA 98144
Parks and Green Spaces Levy funding was $3 million;
$365,000 from 2010 Major Maintenance Funds;
$449,000 from a State Building for Arts Grant;
$140,440 from a prior renovation project
Planning: Through June 2009
Design: July 2009 - August 2010
Construction: September 2010 - March 2012
Completion: March 2012

Project Description


Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center is housed in what was formerly the Jewish Synagogue of Chevra Bikur Cholim. The building is designated as a historical landmark subject to protection by city ordinance. The building was designed by B. Marcus Priteca, a well known Seattle architect. Priteca's plans were completed in early 1913 and in August 1915 the synagogue was dedicated. The building is a commanding polygonal structure of tan brick the white terra cotta detailing.

The Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center was established in the building in 1969, and became a program of Seattle Parks and Recreation in 1972.

The primary space in the building is the theater space, which has fixed seats with a capacity of 285 individuals. Within the lower part of the original building is a large activity hall which can accommodate almost 300 individuals.

Construction History

A single story addition to the south side of the building was constructed in 1961. In 1971, a second story was added to the south addition. At the same time, the interior of the auditorium was renovated, replacing balcony area with seating. Another addition was added in 1991 on the east side of the auditorium, together with seismic retrofit improvements. A final addition was added in 2003 to the southwest corner of the auditorium.

In general, the collective additions provide administrative offices and support spaces for the center, and provides barrier free access to the performing arts theater. The building is currently used year-round, functioning as an important cultural resource for the community.

New Seismic Upgrades Proposed

A study was completed in 2008, and provided a performance based seismic evaluation documenting the likely performance of the building during a seismic event. The study identified a number of deficiencies, and provided a series of recommendations for improving the seismic performance of the building.

New Electrical Service Upgrades Proposed

The same 2008 study identified the need for additional electrical power to accommodate theater operations. The recommendation of this study was for a new 1,200 amp electrical service to be installed, replacing the existing 800 amp service.

Renovation to Interior Spaces

The interior theater space is used continuously for live productions representing local, regional, and international performing artists. Additional interior upgrades will enhance these uses by providing improved restroom facilities, upgrades to the lobby floor and main entrance, upgrades to the sound and lighting booth, including ventilation, and improvements to theatrical dressing rooms.

Community Participation

Public Meeting 5/27/09

Important Links

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Updated February 26, 2013


Opening Celebration
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
10 a.m.
104 17th Ave S
Seattle WA 98144

The ribbon cutting event will feature opera, jazz, a youth string ensemble and spoken word. LHPACs dance partners will be rehearsing in the Grand Rehearsal Hall on the new sprung floor.

For More Information

Gary Gibbons
800 Maynard Ave S, Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98134

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