Expect Billionaire Urbanism to Kill Seattle's Waterfront Area

Comments

1

The fact that billionaire investors are interested in Seattle's waterfront is not news or interesting Charles. I was expecting with a pic of a (Trump tower?) or such designed for the waterfront by a billionaire.

2

I was under the impression the land was swallowed up, or at the very least hawked-over—by developers in anticipation of the original referrendum, which in turn was supported by said developers. I have no way of knowing if there's any truth to that but it was certainly a popular narrative.

What no one could predict in 2001 when all viaduct tear-down business really got serious was that commercial real estate clients in sectors like technology (and how much that sector rebounded) would begin to eschew suburban office parks in favor of downtown office space.

3

Charles, what did you think would happen?

4

OMG!!!! Tearing down the viaduct will open up a billion dollar market for waterfront property? No one could have foreseen that. Thank God for Charles Mudede....

5

What was Charles hoping for, people roasting their dogs for dinner, living in shanties like Caracas?

6

So why should the city of Seattle invest any public funds in the waterfront? If it’s gonna be billionaire urbanism, shouldn’t the billionaires pay for it?

8

"Two-bedroom Harbor Steps apartments were recently listed for $5000."

Say, that's Not too Bad!

I'll take ... Both!

Where do I sign, Chas?

9

Oh, wait -- that'd be per Month.

You know, I think I'll just think about it, for now.

10

@8 kristofarian: $5,000 a MONTH?!? Oh, Jesus wept, Seattle is SO not the city I once knew and loved so dearly so long ago when decent one bedroom apartments with single indoor garage spaces were $560 per month (back in 1996). Holy fuck.

11

Will The Stranger ever stop doubling down on failure? It opposed the tunnel replacement for Alaskan Way Viaduct years ago, and no amount of being proven wrong about it has in any way altered The Stranger’s opposition. (Indeed, being repeatedly proven utterly wrong has embittered The Stranger’s tone of rejectionism.) Supporting Cary Moon — another failure on the same topic! — was just another futile example of The Stranger’s inability to admit error on the SR-99 replacement.

The big ugly car monument is gone. We’re going to have an even more beautiful tourist and recreational waterfront. Please go on hating it all you want, Stranger; it just makes the whole experience that much more amusing.

12

A good read but the frog that is Seattle has no clue. Pics of that new Hudson thing are unsettling; it is an Escheresque nightmare. You want to see a vibrant downtown waterfront done right, go to Victoria BC or Sydney Aust. Seattle is what it is.

13

Wait ... so is Seattle dying or not? Can you just make up your mind, Chuck?

Oh I get it: homeless people trashing the city isn’t a sign of the city dying. Rich people building expensive condos where rich people have always built expensive condos, means Seattle’s dying.

Charles has lost his fucking mind.

14

@11 How was the Stranger wrong about the tunnel?
They said it would cost more than projected and not be finished on time and there were way better ways to spend that money that also would bring down the viaduct. They are two for three on that prediction and we won't ever really be able to know for sure about the last one.

15

"In this, our perverted world, what's abnormal is not obscene wealth, but its consequences." -- Chas

"A sane person to an insane society must appear insane.” -- Vonnegut

"Charles has lost his fucking mind." --Scottie

17

@10: If you think you could have rented a one-bedroom for $560/mo. with garage AT THE HARBOR STEPS in 1996, you’re delusional. (In 1996, I paid $500/mo. for a delightful place in the Pike-Pine corridor, but it was a dozen blocks from the Harbor Steps and did not have the view I now enjoy.)

The Harbor Steps was then and remains now one of Seattle’s great pieces of urban-renewal planning. Thus, it clashes with The Stranger’s attitude of “Seattle sucks and I’m miserable,” so Charles has to find some way to denigrate it, somehow.

18

So what? Dozens of new small businesses, jobs for workers, a new park and billions in tourism revenue. All of which will pay taxes to pay for all the free stuff we want.
Density downtown on the waterfront surrounded by skyscrapers? Oh the humanity! Won't somebody think of the children!

19

@7 I disagree slightly with your thoughts on Charles' vision. I don't think he wants homeless people or drug addicts or the mentally ill to exist in the sense they should get the treatment they need. And I agree.

What Charles seems to really want is a world where we all dress the same, think the same, live in the same standard government issued house, take the same form of public transit, work at jobs assigned to us by a committee, work each and every day for no pay just the glorious reward we'll all feel for contribution to the common good. He wants a communist utopia that will never exist in this country. So he just comes off as sour grapes.

20

Seattle's NIMBYism and inability to stop fantasizing about its potential to be a fantasy utopia has led to a limited land market for an expanding human population, and this ensures that only the rich can afford what land is available.

Those who refuse to participate in change will be swept away by it. Face some realities and make hard decisions. Articles like these are intellectual escapism and because they don't wrestle with factual realities, they only add to the power of the rich by further subjugating the intelligent to fantastical thinking that feels superior but is ultimately irrelevant to those it claims to oppose.

21

When I saw the early Tunnel/Water front renderings with all the happy trees and flowery meadows replacing the viaduct, I thought "Yeah, right - that'll happen". Some things are very predictable so please spare us the whining about how shocked you are at reality, Charles.

23

Blah, blah, effing blah. Lemmings to the cliff, lambs to the slaughter. Projections are for 1 million additional wingnuts to move into central Puget Sound by 2035. Think it's bad now? Just you wait. The only thing that can save Seattle is a 9.5 earthquake. I mean, yeah, I was born in Seattle but I could see the handwriting on the wall a long time ago and I got the hell out. I seem to remember reading somewhere that if you put too many hamsters in a shoebox, they tend to engage in cannibalism. Bon appetit!

24

That's a hell of a lot of conclusions to draw from a study of "property within a quarter mile of the viaduct" -- which is very nearly synonymous with "Downtown Seattle."

Last time I checked, urban cores all across America were experiencing significantly higher rates of development and inflation than their peripheries, with or without big public construction projects.

25

@14: You haven’t even come close to listing all of the objections The Stranger had to the SR-99 tunnel. Many can be found at this comically long and ludicrously alarmist article from 2011: (https://www.thestranger.com/seattle/stop-the-insanity/Content?oid=7200124)

Let’s review just a few highlights:

“So it's the tunnel that would clog the waterfront with traffic.”

Is our waterfront now clogged with traffic?

“Most drivers will exit before getting to the 10-lane tunnel portal, clogging the streets of Pioneer Square.”

Are the streets of Pioneer Square now clogged with private automobiles?

“The city would have to spend huge sums on improving surface streets—rerouting surface roads, adding lanes on I-5, timing lights—to mitigate this flood of traffic...”

For the past decade-plus, I have commuted through downtown Seattle almost every working day. I can state flatly there has been no “flood of traffic” to mitigate.

But wait— there’s more! The tunnel will kill cyclists and your grandma!

“In other words, frustrated drivers confronted with clogged downtown streets and longer commutes are likely to run down more cyclists and pedestrians.”

Seriously? No, this has not happened.

There’s a lot more if you want to read it, though it would be very cruel to The Stranger for anyone to recall how very, very wrong they were.

(Oh, and the vote in Seattle they demanded? They got it. It went 3-2 in favor of the tunnel. Picking a needless fight they then publicly lost still didn’t teach them anything, it seems...)

26

@11 The Stranger opposed the Seattle Commons project too. They lost all credibility on public projects last millennia.

27

@17 tensor: No. We lived in Ballard until 1997. I'm sure The Harbor Steps--or ANYTHING on the waterfront would have been a higher monthly rental rate than $560/ month on NW 65th Street in 1996.
@23 kalakala For the WIN.

28

"Is our waterfront now clogged with traffic?"

Just wait till there's a Mariners or Seahawks
Game with Holiday Weekend ferry traffic.
And/or a Nasty Crash on I-5 downtown or milepost zero point two on I-90...

It'll be Days till you can move/find your car.

29

@28: Read harder. The Stranger’s alarmism clearly claimed these traffic catastrophes would be routine occurrences as a result of the tunnel, not merely exacerbations of other, occasional and expected traffic events. (Obviously, a disaster at a choke point will cause problems; would you have us build more highways?)

30

@5- Charles wold oppose your suggestion as well, because the rich would likely have fatter and tastier dogs than the poor.

31

@28- I'd submit that we don't now yet how traffic is going to be. Lots of streets are closed around the viaduct area, so people are probably avoiding the area now. The tunnel is not tolled yet, and we don't know how many people are going to be avoiding it by driving on surface streets. Alaskan Way is not in the configuration it will be- for one thing lots of buses are not using it yet. It may turn out fine and it may not. BTW I work in Pioneer Square, and there is quite a bit more traffic on First now.