Welcome to the Seattle City Council live video stream of the scheduling of the Seattle Arena street vacation public hearing, brought to us from government access television, Seattle Channel.
Sonics Rising is hosting the video stream here, unfiltered, so that you can see what is happening and comment in one place.
Today's council action, item #16 (yes, last):
J. ADOPTION OF OTHER RESOLUTIONS
16. Res 31650
A RESOLUTION setting the public hearing on the petition of WSA Properties et al. to vacate Occidental Avenue South between the north margin of South Holgate Street and a line parallel to and 30 feet south of the centerline of South Massachusetts Street in the South Downtown neighborhood of Seattle; according to Chapter 35.79 Revised Code of Washington, Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 15.62, and Clerk File 312905.
Full agenda can be found here.
A link to today's meeting agenda, including the supporting documents can be found here.
The proposed meeting time for the public hearing, hosted by the council's Sustainability & Transportation Committee, is Tuesday, March 15th, at 5:30pm.
This is a very exciting step in the arena approval process. A "street vacation" changes the public's purpose for a given piece of property to something that has a greater public benefit. In this case, two blocks of underutilized Occidental Avenue will cease to exist so that two properties on either side can be joined together. This joined property then would provide a large enough footprint to build an arena on. The street is being eliminated and an access road is being created on the east side of the joined property to serve local businesses, like the Safeco Field parking garage.
As you look at the same map the city council is looking at, notice the blue box around the street in question. To the immediate north of Edgar Martinez Way, a similar two-block stretch of Occidental was vacated for Safeco Field and the Seattle Mariners back in the 1990s. Occidental Avenue runs under what is now the 3rd base side of Safeco Field. The Safeco Field parking garage will be in between the two facilities.
This little-used stint of street will be used for a public gathering point (an arena and park) and an economic opportunity for public and private benefit. If the council votes not to vacate the street, then an arena in Seattle for hockey and basketball is essentially dead. The potential arena operator, Chris Hansen, would likely develop the two properties on both sides of the street into 85 foot tall office towers if it doesn't become an arena.
The Seattle Department of Transportation has determined that the street vacation would have little impact to local transportation and would provide a greater public benefit with this change. The petition to make this change was put forward by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray last November (found here).
Please contact the Seattle City Council to encourage them to move forward. Thanks.
Vacation, it's all I ever wanted…
[This post was edited on 2/9/2016 to replace the live video stream with the archived footage from SeattleChannel.org]