Fort Lawton Redevelopment

History and past planning

Fort Lawton was established as an Army installation in the late 1890's on Magnolia Bluff in Seattle.  Originally, the fort was a military reservation of over 700 acres.  In the late 1960's, much of the property became surplus to the needs of the United States Army, and was transferred by the federal government to the City of Seattle at no cost under the "Legacy of Parks" program to create Discovery Park in 1972.  Several other parcels were subsequently added to the park over the next few decades.  In 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) decided to close the 70th Regional Support Command headquarters located at Fort Lawton. The Army named the City of Seattle the Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA), responsible for preparing and implementing a redevelopment plan. The City conducted an extensive public process that resulted in a detailed plan to create a diverse, mixed-income community with housing for homeless individuals and families and market rate housing, while also preserving existing wildlife habitat and creating a new neighborhood park. The plan was put on hold, when the City was directed to undergo State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) review, followed by significant changes in market conditions.

What Is the vision for Fort Lawton today?

The City's vision for Fort Lawton is an affordable, livable community that creates opportunities for those with low incomes to live in the Magnolia neighborhood, and takes advantage of the opportunity to increase recreational and open space for Seattle. This vision builds off past planning efforts, while recognizing the City's present needs and priorities. To accomplish this, the City is working on a redevelopment plan that includes:

  • Supportive housing with on-site services for homeless seniors, including veterans;
  • Affordable rental housing for low-wage households, including families with children;
  • Affordable homeownership opportunities for low-income families;
  • Preservation of existing natural areas that support wildlife habitat;
  • Development of new park spaces that support a variety of uses including active recreation; and
  • Re-use of one of the structures and associated parking as a maintenance facility for Seattle Parks and Recreation.

The success of this vision will depend on strong City partnership with community stakeholders, service providers and public agencies to best support new low-income residents in the neighborhood. The City is committed to fostering these partnerships throughout the planning process.

Download the Fort Lawton Redevelopment handout >

What is the City's decision-making process, and how can I engage?

The City has entered into a 5-year lease agreement that releases the Army from the ongoing costs of maintaining the property, while ensuring adequate time for the City to conduct SEPA review and create an updated redevelopment plan for consideration by the City Council. The City has hired a consultant to ensure the full range of environmental impacts are considered through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and will engage the public and solicit input throughout this process. A timeline and list of ways to participate are described in greater detail below. 

Scoping Process (Summer 2017) : We initiated the scoping process in June 2017, and received many comments during the public comment period and at two public meetings. The scoping process provided information on the proposal and draft alternatives, as well as proposed elements of the environment to be studied in the EIS. We invited comment on the range of alternatives, mitigation measures, and probable adverse impacts. These comments and the final scope are described in a Scoping Report published in August 2017. See Open House/Scoping Meeting Materials for more information.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)   

  • DEIS Publication:  On December 14th, we published a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that undertakes detailed environmental study of the proposal. The DEIS describes the objectives and purpose of the proposed action, and includes study of a range of alternatives, including a "no action" alternative.  The study also describes the affected environment, identifies significant impacts, and potential mitigation measures.

  • DEIS Public Comment Period: We are holding a 45-day comment period that extends through 5:00 PM January 29th, 2018. Comments may be submitted via email to OH_Comments@seattle.gov or via mail to: Lindsay Masters, Office of Housing, PO Box 94725, Seattle, WA 98124-4725. These comments will help the City to improve the completeness, accuracy, and objectivity of the analysis.
  • DEIS Public Hearing: Please join us for a public hearing on the DEIS at 6:00 PM on January 9th, 2018 at the Magnolia United Church of Christ, 3555 W McGraw St, Seattle, WA 98199. Oral and written comments will be accepted at the public hearing.

Final Environmental Impact Statement (~early 2018)  

  • Issuance of Final EIS (FEIS): Following the public comment period, the FEIS will be published. The FEIS will include a response to all public comments received on the DEIS.  

Proposed Redevelopment Plan (~early to mid-2018) 

  • Proposed Redevelopment Plan:  Based on the FEIS, a proposed Redevelopment Plan for Fort Lawton will be prepared.  Public comment on the plan will be taken before the plan is forwarded to the City Council.
  • City Council Review and Adoption: The Proposed Redevelopment Plan will be submitted to the City Council for review and adoption.  The City Council may seek additional public review once the plan is submitted.
  • Seattle Parks and Recreation property:  If the Proposed Redevelopment Plan proceeds and a portion of the property is conveyed for park uses, the site would likely be treated as a land-banked site until funding is identified.  Once funding is available, Seattle Parks and Recreation would run an additional public engagement and outreach process.
  • Seattle Public Schools: The City of Seattle has also agreed to work with Seattle Public Schools (SPS) on an opportunity for SPS to own a portion of the property dedicated to active park uses. The agreement can be viewed here (Page 3).