new construction, plans for 3rd Ave – KIRO 7 News Seattle

ByShannon J. Cortes

Mar 17, 2022

SEATTLE – Long-term improvements are coming to downtown Seattle. Some of those plans target the 3rd Avenue and Pine Street area – which still has a heavy police presence two weeks after a series of violent crimes.

There is also a major construction project finally underway in a space that has been empty for over 15 years.

Downtown residents hope these are signs of meaningful change.

“Definitely a night and day difference since the police station came in and the huge police presence,” said Leslie Buker, who lives in the 3rd and Pine neighborhood. Businesses and residents say the area feels much safer since police arrived.

“I can jog in the morning and I don’t worry about who’s camping outside my front door,” Buker said. “I don’t look over my shoulder as much.”

The city doesn’t have a timeline for how long the major Seattle police presence will be in the hallway, but Mayor Bruce Harrell said they’re working on long-term plans to change the neighborhood, including exploring solutions such as more lighting and modification of certain bus stops.

The mayor’s office said it is currently working to change ‘standards’ for the 3rd and Pike area by having officers conduct informal outreach on what is considered ‘disorderly conduct’ in and around stops. public transport. Essentially, the code prohibits people from drinking, smoking, littering, or doing anything disruptive that isn’t related to public transit within 25 feet of a bus stop or a public transit station.

A spokesman said Thursday that the timing and method of implementing the plan were still being evaluated.

Jon Scholes, president and CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association, said while there have been improvements, there is still work to be done.

“We have made progress in recent weeks. I think we are going in the right direction, we are on the right track. But we can take it all for granted. I think we’re at a fragile point,” Scholes said.

He believes one way to move 3rd Avenue from a temporary fix with the Mobile Police Station to something more permanent is to revisit a ““Third Avenue Vision” beautification plan developed just before the pandemic hit. He now says there is renewed interest in this plan. Possibilities include adding trees, providing a median to open sidewalks, and adding outdoor cafe seating.

“We need to invest in that transit hub, so it’s lighter, brighter, a better place and a nicer place to get on and off the bus,” Scholes said.

Another sign of a changing downtown – developers of the long-vacant land opposite City Hall say they are ready to begin construction in April. Bosa Development said in a press release that the 3rd and Cherry city block would become a 57-story building with 422 condos, ground floor commercial space and a public plaza.

The land has stood empty for about 17 years since the demolition of the old public safety building in 2005. There is now vegetation and even several trees growing in the pit.

“Downtown needs people, so I’m glad they’re building something there, especially in this particular place. I think it’s great for the city of Seattle,” said Bill Flud, who works in downtown Seattle.

“We are excited to begin construction on our newest development and bring this long vacant block to life,” said Ryan Bosa, president of Bosa Development, in the press release. “It is destined to become the most transformative new development in downtown Seattle, enriching the urban fabric in the heart of the city.”

But Flud says that while he’s optimistic about the future, it doesn’t look like Seattle has turned the corner yet.

“What’s sad for me is that my staff who walk to transit don’t feel safe and don’t want to work downtown,” Flud said. “I hope that as people return to the city center after the pandemic, we will find that it feels like a real city again and not a wasteland.”

In the DSA’s annual Downtown State on Thursday, the organization said more people than ever before lived downtown – nearly 100,000 people. Nearly 170 new single-storey businesses have opened downtown in the past 12 months, including nearly 70 restaurants and 30 new retail businesses. However, foot traffic in downtown offices is still only 30% of pre-pandemic levels.