-Public hearing Sept. 11, 9:30 a.m.
The Mayor and DPD, in partnership with the Alliance for Pioneer Square, are proposing a change to the land use code that would be a “win-win” for Pioneer Square. One of the seven top priorities in the Pioneer Square neighborhood plan is the development of the parking lot immediately east of Occidental Square. That dream seemed close to fruition a few years ago when a proposal emerged to build a project on that site that would have included ground-floor retail, housing, office and a maintenance facility for the Waterfront Streetcar. The proposal was granted additional development potential in exchange for the inclusion of the maintenance facility as a public benefit. Unfortunately, the onset of the “great recession” made financing the project infeasible at that time. Since then, First Hill Streetcar construction that includes a maintenance facility at the City’s Charles Street facility has eliminated the need for such a facility at the Occidental Square site.
In 2010, the City partnered with the Pioneer Square neighborhood in the development of an economic revitalization plan entitled Pioneer Square 2015 – A Strategy for Seattle’s First Neighborhood. In the plan, the neighborhood asked that the City join in taking a fresh look at options for providing badly needed public restroom facilities. The Alliance has found that unsanitary conditions in public spaces, including alleys, have affected public perception of Pioneer Square. A community/City committee analyzed options and unanimously recommended the installation of a “Portland Loo”, a free standing restroom facility that through careful design, addressed issues that made the previous automatic public restrooms unsuccessful.
Our improving economy has made it possible to fund the proposed development project on the site adjacent to Occidental Square. The proposed land use code amendments would allow that project to move forward by substituting the Loo facility as the public benefit. If approved, the amendments will encourage a mixed-use development that will bring office workers, residents and tourists to a key location next to Occidental Square. This will help positively activate the area and provide a safe, accessible public restroom to serve the needs of the broader community. The City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Sustainability Committee will hold a public hearing on the proposal on Wednesday, September 11 at 9:30 a.m.
For more information about the proposed amendments, contact: