by Sarah J.F. Braley | May 11, 2018
The Seattle City Council voted 9-0 Monday to allow work on the expansion of the Washington State Convention Center to go forward. The $1.6 billion project, for which ground will be broken this year, aims to double the size of the facility to more than than 850,000 square feet of space. 
The approval allows work to take place over city-owned alleyways. According to the Seattle Times, construction of the expansion will overlap with some central Seattle transportation projects and the erection of some private towers over three years.
"We are excited by the Seattle City Council's unanimous decision, as it is a major step toward ensuring we are able to break ground this summer on the Washington State Convention Center addition and be open for business in 2021," Rob Hampton, senior vice president of convention sales and services for Visit Seattle, told M&C. "For some time, the WSCC has turned away as much business as it books. Meetings mean business, and to capitalize on the interest in Seattle, our business and community leaders banded together in a truly collaborative way to plan this addition. It is strategically placed geographically to create synergy between the existing facility and the new addition, as well as to take advantage of our vibrant downtown, maximizing current and upcoming hotel inventory -- which is scheduled to increase by more than 20 percent this year."
Hampton added the expansion will help the facility remain a community hub, "tying pieces of our downtown neighborhoods together in a space where locals and visitors alike can enjoy its smart, beautiful design."
The WSCC earned LEED Silver designation in April 2017 and will seek further certification when the expansion opens. A new headquarters hotel for the center, the 1,260-room Hyatt Regency Seattle, is scheduled to open this fall with 103,000 square feet of its own meeting space, and the property will seek  LEED Gold certification.