The King County Council on Monday unanimously approved a complex deal that will open up nearly 500 parking spaces near Safeco and Century Link fields and reap millions for the county's transit agency.
The deal is part of a plan to develop the old North Lot of the now-defunct Kingdome. Under the agreement, King County will grants rights to the Washington State Public Stadium Authority for event use of available spaces at the Metro garage, in exchange for $10.2 million from North Lot Development LLC. That money comes on top of $10 million the development firm paid the county for the North Lot property.
The Metro Transit Lot at Royal Brougham and 6th Ave. will be open to the public after 5 p.m. on nights that games are scheduled at one or both stadiums. A total of 491 spaces will be available.
“We created an innovative solution that uses available parking spaces at a county-owned garage to double the County’s return on the North Lot property,” said Executive Dow Constantine. “Metro gets $10.2 million that can be used to maintain bus service, and we avoid putting another parking garage on valuable land in SoDo.”
A council staff person said many of the details were finalized over the weekend, with Councilmember Larry Gossett particularly involved in closing the deal.
The stadium authority does not currently include the backers of a proposed basketball and hockey arena near the existing stadiums. Parking and other infrastructure concerns have been raised by some Seattle businesses -- including the owners of the Mariners -- to question the viability of the arena proposal.
According to King County, the North Half Lot was purchased along with neighboring properties by King County in 1971 from Burlington Northern Inc. for the purposes of the Kingdome stadium development. The 3.85 acre parcel is adjacent to Century Link Field and was purchased from the County by the development team of Opus/Nitze-Stagen in 2007. In the sales agreement, the developer said it would work with the city of Seattle to develop family-wage housing on the parcel.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of spaces that will be made available to the public.