Cultural Development Certification

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The Office of Arts & Culture has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop a Cultural Development Certification program. The deadline is Wednesday, January 22nd (see details at the bottom of this post). The Office of Arts & Culture will review all proposals and will award the winning proposal $10,000.

This first-of-its-kind certification would apply to commercial and mixed-use building projects within the City of Seattle. It will be analogous to existing certifications such as LEED, would provide a project with access to tools within the city that would benefit the developer and the community.

Would this Fremont apartment building qualify for a cultural development certification?

Would this Fremont apartment building qualify for a cultural development certification?

The certification would be available to projects that provide for the inclusion of specific interior cultural space, such as galleries, museums, theaters, artists’ studios, offices for arts and culture organizations or other public or private cultural space.The required deliverable for the RFP is a written report, which should include and address:

1. The national and international context of such projects (both in the arts and in other sectors, such as LEED certification)

2. A description of the amenities a project would have to provide in order to qualify for certification. There may be different levels of certification (e.g. Silver, Gold and Platinum, based on a menu of options and the scale of the amenities offered). The amenity options would all have to address key issues in the support of cultural space:


•Suitability of the built space

•Tenure, or the security of the asset for long-term use by, potentially, various users

•Sustainability, or the adaptability of the space for various uses

3. A menu of the tools that such certification would access. Possibilities include:

•Procedural streamlining (single reviewer, front of the line, etc.)

•Added Floor-to-Area-Ratio bonuses

•Tax incentives and permit fee incentives

•Relaxation of parking requirements

•Transferable development rights

•Transfers of city-owned properties

4. A plan for the establishment of an Arts Brokerage, which would market this certification to developers and property owners, and provide introductions to vetted, viable arts organizations to inhabit the cultural space.

5. A plan outlining how the developer, with assistance from the City of Seattle, would engage with communities to determine appropriate and necessary qualifying cultural space.

6. An exploration of how this program could be applied to “retrofit” existing properties, in addition to new development.

7. Legislation-ready language for the creation of the certification and the codification of the benefits it would access.

Responses to this request for proposals should be addressed to Matthew Richter no later than January 22, 2014. Responses may be sent via email to, or via mail to:

Office of Arts & Culture | Seattle PO Box 94748 Seattle, WA 98124 Attn: Matthew Richter

For questions about the RFP process, please contact Matthew Richter at or 206-733-9955.

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