Did You Know? You can Attend Meetings of the Central Area Land use review Committee CALURC

The Central Area Land Use Review Committee (LURC) is a volunteer committee of neighborhood residents who are working to give those who live here a voice in decisions that shape our environment.  The LURC meets with developers and designers and advocates on behalf of residents.  Meetings are held at least monthly and more often as needed.  Currently, the LURC is working with community partners including the Historic Central Area Arts and Culture District, the Central Area Collaborative, and others to produce a set of design guidelines that are specific to the Central Area. To learn more, see the Central Area Land Use Review Committee on Facebook at https://www.Facebook.com/CentralAreaLURC/.


23rd & Union / Midtown Center Updates

The agreement to purchase and develop the 23rd and E. Union (Midtown Center) site described in this newsletter and other sources in December is not currently going forward. 

The Early Design Guidance meeting attracted a standing-room only crowd to hear a presentation for a project comprising a seven-story building to accommodate around 440 housing units and retail space including a 30,000 square-foot grocery store at the corner of 23rd and Union and a large pharmacy fronting Union just east of the grocery store.  A design including space for up to nine additional small scale retail spaces was presented.

Prior to the EDG, meeting the developer indicated in public meetings that they planned to participate in more than the usual two Design Review Board meetings because of the importance of hearing from and responding to the public.

The initial proposal had included the possibility that a portion of the site could be acquired by the community-based organization Africatown, but in mid-February, the developers Lennar Multifamily Communities and Regency Centers announced that the agreement between them and the property owners, the Bangasser family trust, had come to an end without a purchase having been finalized.

On March 3, at a community meeting called by Africatown, their spokesperson, Wyking Garrett told the public that he saw continued opportunity for Africatown to share in the ownership of the development of the site with a different purchaser.  At that meeting, a representative of Forterra, a non-profit corporation with decades of experience in complex land transactions, indicated that Forterra was prepared to “fully back” the effort spearheaded by Africatown to participate as an owner in the development of the site.

On that same day, March 3rd, on its website, Forterra further explained its position: http://Forterra.org/editorial/forterra-africatown-make-offer-23rd-union

In summary, the joint statement is that “Forterra and Africatown Community Land Trust are working together to secure a continued place for the historically-black community in Seattle’s Central District.  We hope to team in the redevelopment of Midtown Center, … and have made a proactive, pragmatic offer to purchase the property after another buyer’s offer was withdrawn.”

The statement goes on to say that redevelopment of the site “one of the last large blocks available for redevelopment in the CD, … if done right can help stem the displacement of current residents and ensure the continuity of the neighborhood’s rich African American history.”

However, The Capitol Hill Blog reported on an ongoing dispute between Africatown’s Black Dot and Bangasser’s Midtown Center Partnership as a result of the partnership’s attempts to block Black Dots continued access to their work space there. More details can be found at   http://CapitolHillSeattle.com/2017/03/black-dot-dispute-clouds-future-of...

In the meantime, the eviction of UMOJA Peace Center from in the Midtown Center block was completed despite protestors on Wednesday, March 15th, the same day that Wyking Garrett reportedly stated that the locks on the Black Dot space have been changed by the property owners.   More on this can also be found at http://CapitolHillSeattle.com/2017/03/standoff-at-24th-and-spring-in-evi....


You can have a say in the Neighborhood Park and Street Fund

The Neighborhood Park and Street Fund provides funds annually to neighborhoods for small-scale improvements to streets and parks. In the past, the Neighborhood District Councils reviewed proposed applications and selected three projects to forward to Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks) for feasibility and cost analysis. District Councils, Parks, and SDOT then recommended the projects for funding, and the mayor made the final decision. As of 2017, this program was been folded into the City of Seattle's Participatory Budgeting.  Process City Council, and community members will be voting in June on projects within their city council district. Details may be found at http://Seattle.gov/neighborhoods/programs-and-services/your-voice-your-c...

The deadline for submissions has passed, but any community member may apply to be on the project development teams who transform the ideas into solid projects for voting within their city council district. To apply, fill out the form found after you click “Learn more” under Project Development on the website.

All who live, work, go to school, receive services, volunteer, or have a connection to the City of Seattle will be eligible to vote once during June. Voting will take place on multiple days, locations, and formats, which may include schools, community centers, and digital/online voting.


A list of the ideas submitted this year can be found under Idea Collection on the website. To see the 2016 awarded projects list, go to http://SquireParkCC.org/NPSF_Awarded_2016.pdf




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