Mayor Jenny Durkan said the city has enough support from property owners to get LID legislation passed for the Waterfront for All project during a news conference at the Seattle Aquarium on Thursday, Jan. 3.
Mayor Jenny Durkan said the city has enough support from property owners to get LID legislation passed for the Waterfront for All project during a news conference at the Seattle Aquarium on Thursday, Jan. 3.
<
2
3
4
>

Mayor Jenny Durkan used the Seattle Aquarium as the venue to announce Thursday that there is enough support from property owners to transmit legislation to the city council for creating a local improvement district for the $712 million Waterfront for All project.

Negotiations with property owners, who had been looking at covering $200 million of the project to revitalize Seattle’s waterfront once the Alaskan Way Viaduct came down, had been expected to conclude last year, with legislation going to the city council by late November. If 60 percent opposed the LID, the legislation would not have gone through. Protests filed as of early December had reached 52 percent, according to the Seattle Times.

Durkan said enough property owners had signed a written agreement not to protest the LID that she is confident the legislation will proceed.

“They’ve agreed they will not protest,” the mayor said.

The LID being proposed now does come with a reduced cost to property owners, down from $200 million to $160 million. Durkan said increased capacity from the commercial parking tax is being realized as bonds expire.

“It will not be new taxes,” Durkan said.

A typical condo owner in the local improvement district is expected to pay a $1,900 median one-time assessment, or $95 per year for 20 years, plus interest. A commercial property owner would pay about $5,900 on average, or $295 per year for 20 years, plus interest. The interest rate would be based on the bond rates for the project.

Durkan said the entire city is bearing the cost of the Waterfront for All project, but it is those who will benefit the most who need to support it.

There are 6,310 individual tax parcels within the proposed LID boundary, and about 4,960 are residential condo units in more than 54 projects. The special benefit those property owners are expected to see from the Waterfront for All project is increases in property values.

“For all of them, the investment will be more than worth it,” the mayor said.

The LID legislation is expected to be made public on Friday, according to the mayor’s office. It will first go before Councilmember Debora Juarez’s Civic Development, Public Assets & Native Communities Committee.

The Waterfront for All project is also being funded through $110 million raised by Friends of the Waterfront, $249 million in city funding and $193 million from the state.

The Waterfront for All project includes an Overlook Walk that connects Pike Place Market to the waterfront, a rebuilt Pier 62 and floating dock, expanded Waterfront Park, an Ocean Pavilion at the Seattle Aquarium, a promenade from Pine Street to Pioneer Square along the waterfront, a new seawall already under construction and rebuilds of Alaskan Way and Elliott Way for multimodal uses.

The LID will support the Waterfront Park, pedestrian improvements on Pike and Pine streets from First to Melrose avenues, a Union Street pedestrian link from Western Avenue to the waterfront, the Overlook Walk, promenade and street improvements in Pioneer Square.

State Route 99 will close for three weeks starting at 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, so WSDOT can connect the highway to a new two-mile tunnel from SODO to Seattle Center. Once the viaduct is decommissioned, it will take six months to remove the structure, which has been a barrier between downtown and the waterfront for more than 60 years.

“I know change is not always easy,” Durkan said. “There are many, including myself, who have a little love for the viaduct.”

But the viaduct represents the city’s “gritty past,” the mayor said, and its loss will make way for a waterfront that is “quintessentially Seattle.”