(The Center Square) – Work has begun on a better-connected path for pedestrians from Seattle’s waterfront to its biggest landmark: Pike Place Market.
The pedestrian bridge, called the “Overlook Walk,” is part of Seattle’s $756 million waterfront redevelopment project.
Funding for the project comes from the City of Seattle, Washington, private donors such as Amazon, which has pledged $5 million to the project, and a special tax on downtown property owners .
The Overlook Boardwalk is expected to cost around $70 million to build with a finish date of early to mid-2025, according to Waterfront Seattle.
A 20-acre elevated park as part of the Overlook Walk will be placed on Alaskan Way, Seattle’s main waterfront street.
The pedestrian bridge will connect to the Seattle Aquarium’s $113 million “ocean pavilion,” slated to open in 2024.
“The Ocean Pavilion will integrate with the South Staircase and adjacent spaces that are part of the Overlook Walk,” the City of Seattle says on its website. “The three-story facility will also include public spaces, an amphitheater and a rooftop educational space, which is directly connected to pathways and public spaces along the upper portions of the Overlook Walk.”
The special tax used to fund the Waterfront project was negotiated in 2019 between then Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and downtown Seattle landowners. The agreement between the two parties reduced a proposed tax on downtown residents and businesses of $200 million over the next 20 years to $160 million.
“The investment will be more than worth it,” Durkan said at a press conference in early January 2019. She added that enough downtown landowners had agreed to the amount.
Homeowners who were likely to see an increase in the value of their property were primarily considered for the special tax. If these owners had been able to block the tax, the project would have lost about $200 million of its funding.
According to the City of Seattle, the average downtown condo owner pays about $100 a year, while the average commercial owner pays about $300 a year under the tax deal.
The $160 million in the tax funds the Overlook Boardwalk as well as renovations to Alaskan Way and other waterfront features. The Alaskan Way renovations would implement two lanes of traffic in each direction, one lane of buses in each direction and two turning lanes for traffic to and from the ferry stations near Colman Dock.