New designs for waterfront, but Mayor wants focus on seawall

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on October 27, 2011 at 6:22 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 27 at 7:01 PM

Poll:
Which one of the designs is your favorite?

SEATTLE -- City boosters dream of an expansive redesign of the waterfront, but Mayor Mike McGinn is calling for a reality check.

"For me the highest priority is getting funding for the seawall," McGinn said Thursday. "We want to build a great waterfront, but we have to be fiscally conservative about how we approach it."

Sketches of possible waterfront designs were released Thursday, with no set budget and no revenue source. With the sound end of the Alaskan Way Viaduct down, it's easier to see the possibilities for the space.

The lead landscape architect, James Corner, has a vision that includes a beach, promenade, shops, and a concert venue just to start.

"We're considering a space for swimming outdoors and hot tubbing on Pier 62," said Corner.

The reality check: "The budget is a shifting target," said McGinn.

Seattle's current seawall is aging and even rotting on the surface in some places. The project to replace it has a rough price tag of $300 million. The revenue source could be an upcoming property tax, but has not been identified yet.

The final waterfront design won't come until 2016 when the entire viaduct is down and the Highway 99 tunnel is complete.

"Lots of people have ideas for the waterfront, so we'll keep listening to those ideas," said McGinn.

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