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Sound Transit proposal has some in Uptown neighborhood worried

KEXP, Seattle Rep, Vera Project, and the Seattle International Film Festival support light rail, but worry about the impacts of construction.

SEATTLE — Arts organizations located near Seattle Center, including public radio station KEXP, are worried a future transit station could force them out.   

Sound Transit is proposing an underground station along Republican Street near First Avenue - next to four art organizations concerned that construction will derail their own plans of staying in the Uptown neighborhood.

KING 5 spoke with representatives from KEXP, Seattle Rep, Vera Project, and the Seattle International Film Festival. Each one said they welcome the arrival of Sound Transit in their neighborhood. 

However, they’re worried about the five to 10 years of construction that could take place, including crews working underneath and near their facilities. They fear the noise and vibrations from construction are detrimental to their venue’s operations and could force them to move.    

“There’s not a lot of spaces like ours, there’s not a lot of communities like Seattle Center that we can rely on,” said Ricky Graboski, the executive director of the Vera Project. “So, the fear of any of our orgs, let alone all of them being displaced by this type of project, is terrifying.”    

Sound Transit does have another option where they would build under nearby Mercer Street, but Republican Street is their preferred option. 

Officials with Sound Transit said they’re willing to work with the venues about noise and scheduling their construction when performances aren’t taking place.  

Nothing has been finalized, but the station is expected to open in 2037. Sound Transit expects to make a decision in June. 

Construction of light rail from downtown Seattle to Ballard is estimated to start in 2026. Service could start by 2037.

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