Mayor announces new developer to take on Civic Square project

Triad Development has submitted a formal request to the city to transfer its interest in the Civic Square project to local developer Touchstone, Mayor Ed Murray announced today.

“This new agreement will allow us to move forward with a vibrant Civic Square development that includes public open space and light rail access,” said Mayor Murray. “I look forward to working with Touchstone as we get this project moving. We aim to break ground this year.”

In his response to Triad’s request to transfer the project to Touchstone, Finance and Administrative Services Director Fred Podesta allowed for a 60-day period during which the City and Touchstone will refine details of a revised project structure. By May 11, Touchstone must submit, and the City must approve, a financing plan, project schedule and references, among other requirements. If terms are reached with Touchstone, the mayor will send legislation to City Council for approval.

“We’re excited about an opportunity to move forward on this project with the City,” said A-P Hurd, Touchstone president and chief development officer. “We believe the mix of residential, office, retail and open public space will activate the block around this site that has stood vacant for too long.”

To be constructed at the vacant site of the former Public Safety Building to the west of Seattle City Hall, the project includes a mixed-use office and residential tower with a public plaza and retail space. The City first entered into an agreement with Triad Development in 2007 to develop the site. Triad submitted a building permit application in June 2015, but ultimately could not meet all the requirements to proceed with the project. At that point, the City entered into a standstill agreement to engage in discussions for 60 days, during which Triad would look to assign its rights in the project to a new development team, subject to the City’s approval. As that deadline approached, promising conversations with Touchstone prompted the City to offer 10 additional days for that discussion to play out, resulting in today’s announcement.

City Hall, the Seattle Municipal Tower, the Justice Center and the former Public Safety Building site are all components of the City’s 1999 Civic Center Master Plan. The plan envisioned a new building for public and/or private use on the north side of the old Public Safety Building site (known as Civic Square), balanced by a major public open space element on the south side of the block, linking to public spaces at City Hall and the Justice Center.

Mayor urges caution during Sunday’s windstorm

With Seattle experiencing high winds and additional rainfall Sunday afternoon, the City of Seattle recommends that residents exercise caution when traveling and defer trips until after the storm has passed. City officials also ask all residents to avoid any downed power lines for their own safety and contact the City immediately should they discover one.

The recent extended period of rain has left some trees more vulnerable to soil failure in high winds. The windstorm has knocked down more than 25 trees, disrupted traffic signals and caused approximately 47,000 customers to lose power across the city. Crews from Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Seattle Parks and Recreation, and other city departments are currently at work addressing the storm’s impacts.

“My thoughts are with the family of the victims from today’s tragic incident in Seward Park, and I urge all residents to exercise caution while this windstorm is in effect. If possible, please postpone any plans to travel until the storm passes,” Mayor Ed Murray said. “I want to thank Seattle’s First Responders and all City crews, including crews from Seattle City Light, SDOT and Parks, who will be working continuously into the evening, braving fierce winds and rain to clear debris, repair power lines and keep traffic moving.”

Current power outage locations can be seen online at http://www.seattle.gov/light/sysstat/. To report a power outage, residents should call Seattle City Light at 206.684.3000 or 206.684.7400. Downed trees in the right of way or nonfunctioning traffic signals can be reported to SDOT at 206.684.7623. All roadway users are reminded to treat signals that are out of service as all-way stops.

Mayor Murray’s statement on the retirement of Sen. Jim Hargrove

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement regarding Sen. Jim Hargrove’s announced retirement:

“Jim was a close friend during my 18 years in Olympia. He may appear to those who don’t know him well to have a gruff exterior, but Jim has the biggest heart in the Washington State Senate. His work to expand access to early childhood education, support a fraying social safety net, and respond compassionately to victims of domestic violence has benefited thousands of lives all across our state. He stepped up to provide steady, thoughtful leadership on the Senate Ways and Means Committee when I became majority leader.

“Jim will be sorely missed in the Senate, but I know that whatever he decides to do next, he will continue to speak for those who too often are ignored or forgotten in our community.”

Mayor Murray launches Drive Clean Seattle

Today at the Climate Leadership Conference, Mayor Murray announced a bold new initiative focused on leveraging Seattle’s clean electricity across the transportation sector. Drive Clean Seattle is a comprehensive plan to accelerate and increase the use of electric vehicles to move people, goods and services around the City.

“Drive Clean Seattle is an aggressive plan to electrify our transportation at a broad scale, “said Mayor Murray. “We will work with residents, transit agencies, and businesses to promote the use Seattle City Light’s carbon neutral electricity to move around the city. Transportation is Seattle’s leading source of greenhouse gases and this plan will allow us to work aggressively to reduce climate impacts.”

“Transportation is the largest source of climate and air pollution in Seattle. Air quality is a major environmental justice issue here,” said Craig Kenworthy, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. “Getting cleaner vehicles on our roads will support better health outcomes for some of our most vulnerable residents in Seattle. I applaud Mayor Murray and the City of Seattle for making this commitment.”

Mayor Murray announced the following specific goals and actions:

  1. Leading By Example: Transform the City of Seattle Fleet
    Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the City’s municipal fleet 50 percent by 2025 through a combination of cleaner fuels, more efficient vehicles, and significant investment in electric vehicles.
  1. Accelerating EV Adoption: Enable and support the adoption of 15,000 electric vehicles by 2025
    This goal represents a five-fold increase in the number of electric vehicles currently on the road. To help accelerate the pace of adoption, the City will launch several projects over the next year to triple the number of publicly available DC Fast Chargers throughout Seattle. Seattle City Light will also launch a pilot project to support residential charging stations in homes through innovative on-bill repayment and time-of-day pricing.
  1. Improving Air Quality: Reduce congestion and improve air quality
    Electric transit and other modes of shared transportation means better air quality in busy transit corridors. Transit systems provide the best opportunity to reduce emissions at scale and ensure everyone can participate in the electrified transportation economy. In addition to welcoming a new electric car share company to the Seattle marketplace, the City will continue to partner with King County Metro, Sound Transit, and other regional transit agencies to identify opportunities to continue to use our clean electricity as a transit fuel.
  1. Growing the Economy: Electricity as a transportation fuel keeps our fuel dollars in the community
    Direct the Office of Economic Development and the Office of Sustainability and Environment to develop a strategy to help businesses, organizations, and residents participate in the electrified transportation economy, as well as align City regulations, policies, codes, and plans to encourage electric vehicles and private sector investment in cleaner transportation choices.

“From the time we embraced the goal of Seattle becoming a carbon neutral city, we knew clean solutions for the transportation sector would be critical,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien, chair of the Transportation and Environment Committee. “Drive Clean Seattle sends a strong message that we are serious and optimistic about being able to significantly reduce the climate impacts of our transportation system.”

“While Seattle appears to have a lot of electric vehicles, the charging infrastructure is sorely lacking,” said Larry Weis, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s nominee to become the next CEO and general manager of Seattle City Light. “I’m committed to finding a way to improve charging and other infrastructure to support electric vehicles.”

“MacDonald Miller has made conversion to electric vehicles a priority for our fleet,” noted the company’s fleet manager, Bruce Birdsell. “Mayor Murray’s Drive Clean Seattle initiative will create the infrastructure necessary for our continued conversion, saving carbon emissions from our transportation fleet as we continue to help our customers save carbon emissions through building energy efficiency.”

“Electric vehicles in Seattle reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. Climate change is one of the greatest human health threats of our time. The Mayor’s initiative is smart leadership that will help protect the health of our community for generations to come,” said Brenna Davis, Director of Sustainability at Virginia Mason.

Murray to hold Education Summit on April 30

This spring Mayor Ed Murray will host an Education Summit to guide the City in its work supporting Seattle’s students, families and schools. The Summit will be held on April 30.

“Perhaps the greatest challenge we face in addressing the opportunity gap is the persistent disparities in our public schools,” said Mayor Murray. “This is not just the responsibility of the Seattle school district. All of us have a responsibility to support the success of these students. These children are our children and we must not fail them.”

Mayor Murray’s Education Summit seeks to build on that partnership to address the disparity in educational opportunity and outcomes that disproportionately impact students of color and those from lower-income families. Community voices and local leaders will share what’s working well in our schools, where more support is needed and what strategies the City should support to help all students succeed in Seattle’s schools.

“I am excited and hopeful you will see an entirely new conversation on how we can improve our local public schools,” said Council President Bruce A. Harrell, Chair of the Education, Equity, and Governance Committee. “I want to get our children, parents, and teachers more resources. We have an incredible opportunity with our high tech companies and philanthropy in this city. I am where I am today because of education. Education has always been in the center of my life and it was education that became my strongest weapon against bigotry, racism and hate.”

The four co-chairs of the Summit are:

  • Ron Sims, former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Brad Tilden, President and CEO of Alaska Airlines
  • Sheila Edwards Lange, interim President of Seattle Central College
  • Kristin Bailey-Fogarty, a teacher at Eckstein Middle School and recipient of a KCTS 2013 Golden Apple Award

“Listening to our parents, students, families, and community is the only way we can ensure that the strategies we propose will resonate, and ultimately yield success for our students,” said co-chair Ron Sims.

Murray is also assembling an advisory group of education and community advocates, educators, and business and philanthropic leaders to help guide development of the Summit. The group will develop recommendations about how the City can best align its resources and efforts around closing the achievement gap. Seattle Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland and Seattle School Board President Betty Patu will participate. Other members of the group will be named shortly.

“The broader community has an important role, and responsibility, to assure a high-quality education for all students,” said Dr. Nyland. “Engaging all members of our community for their perspectives strengthens us as a community, a school system, and thus our ability to support each student to success.”

In the weeks leading up to the Summit, the City, Seattle schools and several community agencies will be co-hosting a series of community conversations to listen to Seattle’s families, students, and community. Locations and dates will be announced in the coming days. These conversations will be open to all, with interpretation and childcare available when appropriate.

“It is clear that students deserve better. Through strong partnerships with Seattle Public Schools, community, families, and students we can improve outcomes for students,” said Dwane Chappelle, director of the City’s Department of Education and Early Learning.

In 1990, Mayor Norm Rice held an Education Summit that established a deeper partnership between the City, Seattle Public Schools and education advocates. City residents came together to propose a new support for students and educators, the Families & Education Levy.