Council Approves Incentives to Benefit Seattle’s Historic Theaters

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City of Seattle

Council Approves Incentives to Benefit Seattle’s Historic Theaters

SEATTLECouncil approved legislation today that provides land use incentives to downtown’s historic landmark performing arts theaters, The Paramount, The Moore and The Eagles Auditorium (ACT Theatre). The legislation increases development capacity for the theaters, which in turn can be sold to developers.

"These theaters are one reason companies such as Frank Russell, Amazon and Weyerhaeuser decide to locate in downtown Seattle," said Councilmember Nick Licata, sponsor of the legislation. "Their employees want to live close to restaurants, close to entertainment, close to where the action is. And, utilizing new development to preserve these beautiful old structures and the economic activity they generate requires zero tax payer dollars."

"Historic theatres provide a critical piece of Seattle’s cultural landscape, yet the non-profit organizations committed to caring for these beautiful structures struggle mightily to maintain them.  Ongoing resources are difficult to secure but with passage of this legislation we are much better positioned for long term care sustainability," stated Seattle Theatre Group Executive Director, Josh LaBelle.

While the size and unique characteristics of the design and function of these large historic theaters present challenges for ongoing maintenance, the City has an interest in supporting and promoting their continued operation. The legislation adopted today is part of a larger implementation plan that accompanied the City’s 2011 designation of the Downtown Historic Theatre District.

Today’s legislation increases the base floor area ratio (FAR) of qualifying historic theaters located downtown. This increase in space is considered unused development potential and can be sold to commercial development projects in other parts of downtown. In exchange, proceeds from the sale of these development rights can be used to further the theaters’ mission and physical upkeep.

[View in Council Newsroom]