Mayor Announces East Precinct’s New Mixed-Use Parking Lot

In a neighborhood being built up as quickly as Capitol Hill, the East Precinct’s barbed wire-ringed parking lot near 12th and Pine didn’t stand a chance. Fortunately, SPD is about to get a pretty good deal out of a new development announced by Mayor Mike McGinn Wednesday that will pass ownership of the lot to the non-profit Capitol Hill Housing in exchange for a new secure underground parking and storage facility for East Precinct in the development.

Details on the “12th Ave Arts” project can be found here. The $38 million project has been a contentious one in the past at East Precinct where foot dragging had held up any plans for expanding use of the lot for years. The East Precinct building wasn’t built specifically for police use and so lacks adequate parking facilities. Parking spots costs money to build, of course, so any developer would want to minimize the number of stalls in the project. Despite the fact a streetcar will run a few blocks away on Broadway starting on 2013, SPD probably wasn’t ready to commit its officers to heavy dependence on public transit. Neither side is saying what changed in the parking discussion but it’s hard to say no to a deal where you get something for nothing — no City of Seattle general funds will go toward the project.

Now, the biggest issue for the precinct will be where officers will park for the year+ of construction that could begin when financing is arranged over the next 18 months. Planners will be looking for a satellite lot to use during that construction period.

When completed, the mixed-use development probably won’t help more cops live in the city. The 80 or so units are being planned as affordable and low-income housing that most Seattle officer — who start at salaries around $50 grand a year — won’t qualify for.