Follow us:

Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

February 14, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Three City Councilmembers want shorter Vulcan towers

Vulcan towers near Lake Union should be shorter and slimmer than proposed, said three Seattle City Council members in a joint statement today.

Nick Licata, Tom Rasmussen and Sally Bagshaw said they want Vulcan’s three proposed towers limited to 160 feet, or roughly 16 stories, not the 240 feet, or 24 stories, proposed by Mayor Mike McGinn.

Licata said a majority of the nine-member council will probably support the proposal. “I don’t have solid numbers now because council members are saying they’re supportive” but it’s not certain until they vote, Licata said.

Three 160-foot towers would provide better public views of Lake Union and less shadowing on Lake Union Park, Licata said.

“My goal is to minimize the effect of the towers on Lake Union Park,” Rasmussen said. Bagshaw said 160-foot towers would advance goals for more dense development “without sacrificing space and openness.”

Vulcan executive Lori Mason Curran said nixing 240-foot towers seems counter to investments and policies the council has supported to make South Lake Union a more dense and vibrant neighborhood.

Mason Curran, Vulcan’s director of investment strategy, also said the council shouldn’t be focused on height per se, but what will create the best streetscape in the area.

Under the mayor’s proposal, Vulcan could go from the current 65-foot limit near the lake to 160 feet by paying so-called bonus fees for public benefits such as affordable housing. To reach 240-feet, Vulcan would have to provide extraordinary public benefit in the council’s eyes.

Council members shelved a proposed land deal, called Block 59, that would have allowed Vulcan to build 240-foot towers near the lake. But that still leaves the option of 240-towers open, if Vulcan provided special public benefits.

Mason Curran wonders if a majority of council members are willing to forgo an extraordinary benefit and limit the towers to 16 stories.

“In order to go to 160 you still have to provide public benefits,” Rasmussen said. “There will be fewer potentially but they will still be required.”

Rasmussen said he’s still supportive of tall buildings and increased density in the city and South Lake Union. “But there is a place for them and this is not the place,” he said.

0 Comments | More in Politics Northwest, Seattle City Council | Topics: seattle city council, South Lake Union, Vulcan

COMMENTS

READER NOTE: Our commenting system has changed. Find out more.

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►