Building 11: Parks Committee recap for July 21st



The Parks & Seattle Center Committee met again today regarding Building 11 to evaluate the first in a series of formal changes to the proposed lease amendment. To recap our previous discussions, Seattle Channel video footage is available for committee meetings on June 16 and July 7.

If you’re not familiar with it, past blog posts (here and here) can provide the background of this legislation.

Council Central Staff presented a package of amendments to the legislation at today’s meeting. The discussion packet, available here, combines the direction that the Parks Committee provided at our July 7th meeting and addresses some of the significant concerns voiced by Councilmembers. Primary concerns, in summary, include the requirement of public benefits as well as payments that qualify for rental offsets.

When this issue first came to my attention earlier this year, I could not have predicted how complex the matter would become. For the past several months, I have endeavored to be responsive to the community’s concerns while working to facilitate an agreement between Seattle Parks and the developing partner, Building 11 LLC. I also have taken into account the concerns and needs of my fellow councilmembers and have looked for ways to reach a principled compromise — without compromising my principles.

It has been a real challenge to align the needs and desires of all parties. A lot of work has gone into getting us where we are today. But, we still have work to do.

The agreement from 2008 was negotiated and signed in good faith, and we cannot undo what has been done. My goal with the proposed lease amendment is to make it the best it can be – specifically with regard to public benefits.

This legislation is intended to strike a balance and allow a portion of the building’s potential commercial tenants to help make reduced leased rates possible for non-profits and recreation-based tenants. We’ve secured a subsidized, long-term tenancy for the programming of Sail Sand Point, and we are finalizing the details that will maintain the presence of an artist colony in the park.

I reaffirm my commitment to the stated objectives of Northshore Recreation Area and the focus on recreation and non-motorized watercraft use.  We need to make sure that water-based tenants can afford to be a part of the building through subsidized lease rates for the life of the lease, and that the design of the parking lot allows the easy offloading of canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and small sailboats via a thoughtful access plan.

My work continues on another series of proposed amendments that address input from the developer, community and my Council colleagues. I will post these new amendments to my blog as soon as they are ready, and our next Parks Committee meeting on Thursday, August 4th, will feature a thorough review of all the amendments and a possible vote.

As we move forward, one thing is certain. The situation with Building 11 has become a touchstone for how we will navigate future potential private/public partnerships in the Parks Department.  

I will work to ensure expanded public benefits at Magnuson Park. These include, but aren’t limited to, improved lighting and way finding that is consistent with the historic district, dedicated public access to the water, more recreational opportunities, improved habitat and minimized environmental impact, improved bicycle and pedestrian connections, and an effective circulation plan.

I hope that those of you who have been engaged in this issue will continue to work with us to develop a series of goals, a common framework and a standardized set of negotiation principles as we move forward with future partnership agreements. 

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