Washington State Convention Center Addition in Final Stages of Construction | New


Whether it’s packed with Marvel look-alikes dressed in World of Warcraft costumes and cosplayers during Emerald City Comic Con, or packed with business people for a week-long industry conference, the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) is home to some of the biggest events in the state. and expands to accommodate groups of all sizes.

The $1.9 billion project will more than double the convention center’s current capacity and is being funded by leaders who have elected to fund the project as a general obligation and is backed by existing Occupation aces hospitality and general resources of the Washington State Convention Center Public Facilities District.

Capacity was one of the drivers for the addition. Seattle’s current downtown convention center, named Arch, was one of the smallest such venues on the West Coast (434,080 square feet) and ranked 56th compared to similar centers across the country. The expansion will add 570,290 square feet.

“In 2009, the board started talking about it, in relation to how the destination needed extra space as they were turning away business on an almost regular basis, mainly due to the size of the convention center “, said Jeff Blosser, CEO and President of the WSCC.

Five years later, the council began moving forward on the design process, which was contracted by LMN Architects in Seattle. Plans for the building, which will be known as Summit, feature open plan spaces; a flexible acoustically treated room; a large carpeted ballroom; a heavy-duty display area with drive-up access; and more.

After the design was completed in 2018, construction on the seven-block site began with general contractors Clark Construction Inc. and Lease Crutcher Lewis.

“I think any time you do a project downtown, it’s a challenge to get everything in place and run in the right script while not causing any problems for our neighbors,” Blosser said. “We allowed for a different kind of construction, what we call ‘patchwork construction’, working from east to west, so the transit buses could still run.”

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Throughout construction, the WSCC estimates that approximately 6,000 workers were or are currently employed. Once construction is complete, the center expects to add 2,300 jobs. Another 1,600 jobs could be generated in the region thanks to the increased activity of convention centres.

As part of the Summit project, the center is also investing $93 million in community improvements, including nearly $40 million in funding for affordable housing, parks and open spaces; improvements to Pike and Pine streets between downtown and Capitol Hill; cycling infrastructure; and more.

The impetus, however, was to make the Summit building as sustainable as possible. The WSCC has included a radiant floor heating system that will reduce the energy needed to cool or heat the facility, and sensors have been added alongside the lighting to help “harvest daylight” to maximize the benefits of natural light.

With these and other green plans, the building is expected to achieve at least LEED Gold status. If additional funds are made available, Blosser said, the center plans to strive for LEED Platinum.

Blosser estimated that at press time the project was approximately 85% complete. Once completed, Summit and the more than 30-year-old Arch building will be able to accommodate groups of up to 5,000 people.

“Both of our buildings offer the right amount of space and services no matter which one you’re in,” Blosser said. “The additional building will greatly expand our ability to give meeting planners additional dates and space with the ability to book their events in Seattle, and we look forward to opening in January.”

Both the Summit and Arch buildings are open for events taking place in 2023. Those interested can inquire on the convention center website. To stay up to date on Summit’s progress, visit the project’s website online.


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