Seattle Waterfront Development Plan

  • Client

    • Friends of Waterfront Seattle
  • Project Type

Design Achievement - The Seattle Waterfront Symposium explores how public and private stakeholders and social services organizations are an integral part of the City of Seattle’s vision for a Waterfront for All. The event was developed in partnership with Friends of Waterfront Seattle and Feet First, a Seattle-based nonprofit working to ensure all communities in Washington are walkable. DLR Group’s design team organized an experience that guides stakeholders through the existing conditions of the Seattle Waterfront to the vision of what the reality of this space could be with the removal of the Viaduct and the appropriate teams designing and developing the land. The discussion centered around three current development case studies and three concept design vignettes. The Symposium investigates how private development, artists, and residents might engage the Waterfront Seattle plans and catalyzes a conversation about private investment in the Waterfront neighborhood as complement to the transportation, public park, and right of way investments being made by the City for the public good. These concept designs explore how private development can benefit by considering how the existing residents, business owners, land owners, and not-for-profits along the waterfront and downtown are served, including accommodation of social services and workforce housing. A potential outcome of the Symposium may include creation of a cultural overlay district that would inform a more equitable and art-focused development of the Waterfront as a vibrant retail/commercial/mixed-use district. 

Scope Summary - The project explored urban planning scale transportation, infrastructure, and land use issues as the first step to identifying potential private development opportunities aligned with and supportive of the City of Seattle’s Seattle Waterfront redevelopment. Leveraging an existing private utility already in the neighborhood at a time in which the right-of-way is under major reconstruction, the vision for growth of the neighborhood defines the opportunity for development of a green infrastructure district that would support not only new construction projects, but also existing buildings in the sixteen block district. This central heating loop would serve as a demonstration project for the City of Seattle as it seeks methods by which it can meet the City’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. Design explorations explored layered themes to support varying scales of investment and empowerment and different levels of public/private partnership.

Extending the definition of the Waterfront
The Waterfront is more than the water’s edge. It is a district that occupies the hillside linking downtown down to the water. The neighborhood is home to the east-west connectors that are the counterpoint to the north-south corridor of Alaskan Way.

Regional Stitch
The Waterfront neighborhood is a transportation nexus connecting Seattle to cities across the Puget Sound. It is the heart of the greater Seattle area community, a destination location, and the front door to the City.

City stitch
Nine corridors connect the Waterfront back to the City’s West Edge. Three catalyst sites illustrate the challenges of grade change across the neighborhood: a two block pedestrian hillclimb at Pike, a through street at University prioritizing people over cars at the bottom of the Harbor Steps, and a multimodal transportation hub at Columbia.

Neighborhood stitch
Activated street corners provide nodes that draw people off of the Waterfront Boulevard into the cityscape. A twenty foot wide strip of former ‘back alley’ property connects the entire east edge of Alaskan Way, an opportunity to redevelop, engage, and enliven the former backs of buildings that will be the new face of the City once the Viaduct is gone.

Regional Stitch Case Study
The tower at Columbia and Alaskan Way will cradle an active transportation hub connecting people traveling from downtown to West Seattle and Ballard and across the water to Bremerton and Bainbridge. A program of artist live/work lofts anchors the lower floors of a fourteen story tower, a mixed-income community providing life, vitality, and diversity to the City.

City Stitch Case Study
From First Avenue and Pike Street down to Alaskan Way, wander from Ghost Alley Espresso next to the gum wall in Pike Place, past Roberto’s Venetian Trattoria, and you arrive at the Pike Street Hillclimb.

Neighborhood Stitch Case Study
As University and Seneca connect people from the light rail stations at Second and Third Avenues down to commerce along Western and Alaskan Way, pedestrian scale streetscapes create an extension of the Harbor Steps community of residents, workforce, and shoppers, and daycare attendees. Enlivened street corners and refreshed building facades put eyes and activity on the street.

Seattle Waterfront Development Plan

Friends of Waterfront Seattle