SEATTLE -- The King County Council voted Monday to condemn the last piece of private property needed for the $1.4 billion Washington State Convention Center expansion.
Condemning the property is a tool used by government when efforts to negotiate a price with a landowner fails. In this case, the convention center's Public Facility District offered the Kollias Family $2.9 million for 915 Howell Street, which currently houses two restaurants.
Convention center officials still have to finalize purchases of the larger pieces of public land owned by King County and Sound Transit.
"It's a small part of the project," said Matt Griffin, whose company Pine Street Group is developing the expansion. "We offered more for this property than we paid for the larger piece."
The larger piece Griffin referred to is a Honda dealership already purchased in the development zone.
A Kollias family representative said Tuesday it is merely looking for fair market value, around $1,000 per square foot.
"Nobody likes to have their land taken," the representative said. "We're still in negotiations. It's tedious"
The representative added neither business currently at 915 Howell knows about the likely land sale.
Overall, the WSCC expansion will roughly double the size of the current facility. Convention center officials have said they're losing business because it's not big enough. It's turned away 300 conventions in the last five years.
Paid for with hotel tax money, making the footprint larger aims to boost the downtown economy.
"What we'd like to do is have two conventions off by half-a-wavelength," said Griffin, "It uses the hotel rooms all the time."
Construction is slated for 2017.