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Building project aims to revitalize Pioneer Square and Seattle

Construction of a shiny, new high rise is underway in Seattle’s oldest neighborhood. Residents, elected officials and the developer ushered in the Pioneer Square project they say will bring big changes to the entire city.

While one new building on the outskirts of downtown doesn’t seem like cause for a big to-do, King County’s executive, a couple of councilmembers and a former mayor all came out to the ground breaking. 

The first phase of the project, called Stadium Place, will replace a huge chunk of the parking lot north of Century Link Field with nearly 500 apartments. That could mean a big jump to the population of Pioneer Square where only 2,000 people live now, according to the Alliance for Pioneer Square. 

Implications for the city

King County Executive Dow Constantine says the influx will do much more than just help the long-struggling neighborhood reach a critical mass for revitalization:

“It is a big step in the transformation of our downtown. From being, what was, at one point an office ghetto, where all the residents had left, into a 24-hour vital urban center. And Pioneer Square is a key part of that.”

He expects Stadium Place to be THE catalyst for the neighborhood’s “come back.”

Costs of construction

In the meantime, it could be an inconvenience for residents and people on their way to sporting events. The schedule for erecting the building’s massive structure will coincide with demolition of the Highway-99 viaduct when it begins next month. 

The new housing will also come at a price:

“Once this project goes forward, there’s going to be quite a spike," says Kevin Daniels, the property developer. "It’s all driven by the market, who’s our competition and, Belltown is definitely our competition and Capitol Hill is. And that’s where our future residents are probably living right now.

About 30 units will be set aside for low-income residents and some will be priced for households near King County’s median income, which was $67,806 in 2009. Daniels says the bulk of tenants will pay “market rate” rents based on what floor they live on and how good the view is. 

If it’s successful, a second phase is planned with 225 condos, retail and office space.

Charla joined us in January, 2010 and is excited to be back in Seattle after several years in Washington, DC, where she was a director and producer for NPR. Charla has reported from three continents and several outlets including Marketplace, San Francisco Chronicle and NPR. She has a master of journalism from University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in architecture from University of Washington.