New Funds for Preservation

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The Van Vorst Building, a registered landmark, in the 400 block of Boren Ave. N. in the South Lake Union/Cascade neighborhood.

4Culture just announced two new funding programs for preserving historic places. Preservation Special Projects and Preservation Sustained Support. Special Projects supports basic community preservation work, such as predevelopment studies on significant properties. Guidelines are now posted on 4Culture’s website. The deadline for applying to Preservation Special Projects is February 27. A sampling of those who can apply include Historic Seattle, Docomomo, the Seattle Architectural Foundation, and the City’s own Historic Preservation Program.

Preservation Sustained Support provides operating funds for organizations with a preservation mission and for cities with active preservation programs. Its application deadline is October 9. This is the first preservation program to fund operations, rather than projects, and will go a long way to keeping such organizations viable, especially smaller organizations.

4Culture’s Preservation Special Projects funds can be used to conduct surveys and inventories, registering landmarks, and project planning among other things. They want preservationists to identify historic places in innovative ways, communicate through new media, and engage people who may not think of themselves as preservationists. Awards can go to individuals, organizations and public agencies and will range from $3,000 to $10,000 per project.

Alice Winship, president of the Association of King County Historical Organizations, welcomes these new funds, which can address needs that are difficult for organizations to fill from other sources, like annual memberships and fundraising drives. AKCHO has more than 70 member organizations including Allied Arts of Seattle, the Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority, the Rainier Valley Historical Society, El Centro De La Raza, the Wing Luke Museum and the Ballard Historical Society.

The South Lake Union/Cascade neighborhood, looking north.

A neighborhood that comes to my mind when thinking of preservation is the South Lake UnionCascade neighborhood. The Council is currently considering an upzone to that area that would include an alternative that would provide the ability of landmarked properties to sell their unused development rights, through a TDR program (transfer of development rights), to other properties wishing to expand their developments once a TDR program is established there. None currently exists in South Lake Union. This alternative would apply if the Council chooses not to establish a program whereby development rights from rural King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties could be transferred to property in South Lake Union.  An added alternative being considered by the Council would provide developers of landmarked properties increased density through a floor-area-ratio bonus program (FAR), which grants projects additional floor space in return for preserving portions of landmarked properties.

With 14 current landmarked buildings within South Lake Union/Cascade and another 34 structures considered eligible for landmark status, 4Culture’s two new preservation funding programs offer timely tools for preservationists to utilize there.

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