Today, Mayor Ed Murray sent a mayoral directive to Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) to negotiate the sale of the Civic Square project to Bosa Development and direct the proceeds to establish a new Equitable Development Fund. The sale would also net $5.7 million in funds for affordable housing, meeting or exceeding the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program requirement. Combined, nearly $22 million from this sale will go to equity and affordability projects around the City.
“Seattle is growing and we are working to ensure that it happens in a way that is equitable, benefiting everyone who lives and works here,” said Mayor Murray. “The sale of the Civic Square property allows us to leverage our resources to invest in communities most at-risk for displacement and to make a major investment in affordable housing. While we continue to revitalize our downtown core, we are strategically investing around the city to strengthen our communities for the future.”
The Equitable Development Fund will be established with the $16 million in proceeds from the sale, and used as part of the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI), which helps ensure Seattle’s existing residents and businesses also enjoy the benefits of development around the city, rather than being displaced by it. These funds will go to community-driven projects such as a cultural center for long-time residents to maintain neighborhood character or a job training program focused on good-paying jobs in the community.
The Office of Planning and Community Development and FAS will work with Council and the community to develop a plan for using the net proceeds from the sale. The additional $5.7 million will go to the Office of Housing to leverage other funding for building affordable housing.
The agreement with Bosa Development replaces the 2007 agreement with Triad Civic Center LLC, which had been hindered by the economic recession and a lack of capital partners. Under the terms of the new agreement, Bosa will develop a residential tower that will include the Civic Square Plaza, as well as retail space. The City will maintain the rights to approve the final design. The City expects to send the agreement to Council for approval in early 2017, with the expectation that it will be finalized by June. Construction would start in 2018.
“Bosa’s vision for this project is slightly different than what was originally planned, which is why the City believes it has a greater chance to succeed,” said FAS Director Fred Podesta. “Office space construction in this area has brought a new and higher demand for housing and public amenities, and Bosa is bringing that to the table. We believe this site is the perfect location to meet that need, as it is close to transit and vibrant, diverse neighborhoods, including Downtown, Pioneer Square, the Chinatown-International District and First Hill.”
Watch the press conference here