Through support and advocacy from the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and other community partners, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously this week to approve key alley and below-grade street vacations so that construction can begin on the Washington State Convention Center Addition.
The Chamber has long supported the important role that the Convention Center plays in our community and region, attracting visitors from around the world who come to Washington and support our local and state economy through spending and related taxes.
The Convention Center has seen a dramatic increase in demand for event space in recent years, but has been unable to meet that demand due to lack of availability in the existing facility. In the past five years alone, the Convention Center has been forced to turn away roughly half of its proposed bookings, resulting in a loss of more than $2 billion in economic activity that would have been generated by would-be visitors to our region.
The Council vote represents an important step forward for our state’s ability to meet existing demand and promote further economic activity here in the Seattle metropolitan region. Construction on the Convention Center Addition alone will provide up to 6,000 construction workers with family-wage jobs, and nearly 4,000 ongoing jobs will be created at the facility and in hospitality-related businesses once the work is completed. Additionally, as part of the expansion, the Convention Center will directly fund more than $92 million toward community-supported benefits, including $38 million to affordable housing in Seattle and King County.
The Chamber advocated in favor of the Convention Center Addition through in-person testimony and written advocacy letters and was encouraged by the result of this vote by the Seattle City Council. We look forward to seeing construction on the Washington State Convention Center Addition project get underway as soon as possible.