Property Reuse and Disposition

Real Estate Services (RES) coordinates the review of the reuse and disposition of all of the City of Seattle's "excess" real property. Each City-owned property is assigned to a "jurisdictional" department that manages the property. When a department determines it has no current or future use for a property, the department designates it "excess" to its needs. This decision triggers a formal "review process" (outlined in the above diagram) based on Seattle City Council-adopted policies and procedures. As a first step, RES creates and circulates for comment a "preliminary report." Following the review process, RES publishes a "final report," which includes RES' recommendation regarding the property (typically to either retain the property for use by another City department or sell it), and presents it to the Mayor for review. If the Mayor concurs with the recommendation, the Mayor sends the report to the City Council, along with legislation authorizing the reuse or sale of the property. Only the City Council can make the final decision on reuse or disposition of City-owned real property. If the Council approves the recommendation for selling a property, the property is declared "surplus." The Property for Sale page provides information about surplus City-owned real property currently for sale. The public has several opportunities to comment during the review process. Additional details regarding the property reuse and disposition process are provided below.

RES updates the list of excess property quarterly; information regarding those currently under review can be found on the Property Under Review page.

Property Reuse & Disposition

  • RES initiates review of a property declared excess by a specific department by sending out an initial public notice to neighbors within 1,000 feet of an excess property seeking input. At the same time, other City departments and public agencies evaluate need for property and/or issues affecting disposition.
  • Based on input received and analysis of the property, RES writes a preliminary report addressing policy areas identified in Resolution 29799, 30862 and 31770.
  • The Preliminary Report addresses the following areas:

    • Suitability for priority City uses, including affordable housing, economic development, parks and open space, including community gardens, child care facilities and similar priorities.
    • The highest and best use of the property and unique characteristics, as well as opportunities to consolidate with other adjacent public properties.
    • Conditions in the real estate market and known environmental factors.
  • Each excess property decision is classified as simple or complex based on the issues identified through circulation to identify decisions which may need additional public process.
  • For simple decisions, the preliminary report is sent to City departments and those who have commented. A notice board is installed at the site. Information is posted at the City website on the Property Under Review page. Legislation is sent to the Council for action no less than 30 days from report publication.

  • Complex decisions require the preparation of a public involvement plan (PIP) outlining how additional public comment will be obtained. The PIP is tailored to each specific excess property and those issues identified during the circulation phase. Properties held under the jurisdiction of a City public utility require a public hearing prior to be considered by City Council.
  • The preliminary report and PIP are sent to City departments and anyone who has previously commented. A notice board is installed at the site. Information is posted at the City website on the Active Property Review page. Comments are solicited.
  • The Real Estate Oversight Committee reviews and approves the preliminary report and the public involvement plan, providing comments as necessary.

  • RES publishes a final report, incorporating the Real Estate Oversight Committee's comments as necessary, and notifies the mailing list of the report's availability. The final report includes RES' recommendation regarding the property (typically to either retain the property for use by another City department/public agency or sell it).
  • RES forwards legislation authorizing sale of the property or reuse of the property, including the final report and public involvement report, to Mayor for review. If the Mayor concurs with the recommendation, the packet is sent to the City Council and the mailing list is notified that legislation has been transmitted to the City Council. No Council briefings or hearings are held for at least 30 days following this notice.
  • During this 30-day period, RES continues collecting all comments and/or proposals for the property. At the Council committee meeting to take action on the legislation, RES provides an updated summary of all comments received to date.
  • If the Council decides to hold a public hearing, RES provides 14 days' notice of the public hearing to the mailing list so that interested parties can attend and present their ideas and interests to the City Council.

The City Council has ensured the community has several opportunities to provide during every excess property review. Council adopted policies and procedures spell out specific requirements for the City to collect input from the community during the evaluation process.

The first opportunity is the initial public notice that is mailed to neighbors within 1,000 feet of an excess property. Anyone who responds with a comment is placed on an email mailing list for that property, and receives notifications throughout the remainder of the review process.

The second opportunity occurs when the preliminary report has been published. The preliminary report is posted on this website and a sign is posted on the property. The public has a minimum of 30 days to respond before any action is taken by the City Council, but depending on the recommendation, the timeframe may be longer.

If minimal issues or concerns are identified in the preliminary report, the disposition of that particular property is classified as a simple decision and legislation to implement the recommendation may be sent to the City Council. Notice of pending Council action is sent to the email mailing list at least 30 days prior to Council action. People can follow the Council calendar to identify the date of Council review for the legislation.

If there are more substantial concerns, the property disposition decision is classified as complex. RES prepares a draft public involvement plan (PIP) designed to obtain additional public input. The draft PIP is published with the preliminary report, and comments are taken for 30 days. The draft PIP is then presented to the City Council for review prior to implementation. Once additional public input has been received, RES publishes a final report, which includes RES' recommendation regarding the property (typically to either retain the property for use by another City department/public agency or sell it), together with a public involvement report, which includes all the public input that was received and summarizes how additional public comment was collected. Notice of pending Council action is sent to the email list and another 30-day comment window opens. The Council may also elect to hold a public hearing prior to acting on the legislation. If the Council decides to do so, RES provides 14 days' notice of the public hearing to the mailing list so that interested parties can attend and present their ideas and interests to the City Council.