Port District Interbay: Seattle

by Georgios Avramides (MDes ’18), Duly Lee (MDes ’18), John Lee (MDes ’18), Emily Marsh (MUP ’18), and Alex Rawding (MUP ’18) — Recipients of 2018 Plimpton-Poorvu Design Prize

We believe that successful developments produce both social and economic returns. Our proposed Interbay master plan aims to address Seattle’s social challenges by leveraging the strength of the Port and Seattle’s history of technological ingenuity.

Seattle has experienced a period of rapid population growth and economic expan- sion over the last five years. The picturesque, but long overlooked, emerald of the Northwest, is undergoing the type of change and investment that most cities can only dream of. These recent triumphs, however, have also ushered an intensifying array of urban social challenges, such as increasing poverty, declining housing af- fordability, and growing traffic congestion. As investment continues to flood Seat- tle’s real estate markets, affordable housing and high-paying low-skilled jobs have been pushed to the outskirts of the city. Today, the Port of Seattle, once a bedrock of industry and working class jobs, is under immense political pressure to play an active role in helping to address Seattle’s socio-economic challenges. The Interbay Delta Master Plan and Port District development will play a key role in addressing these challenges for both the Port and the City.

Our master plan strategy is hinged on improving the existing and planned transpor- tation systems that cross through the site. Limited capital investment in Interbay’s existing transit infrastructure has made the corridor nearly inaccessible for cars, bikes, and peds alike. The improved connections will alleviate congestion, provide immediate benefit to adjacent communities, and, in turn, unlock Interbay’s real es- tate potential, creating natural investment opportunities for new housing, manufac- turing and office space, and community amenities.

Our proposed “Port District,” located at the southeastern section of the Interbay corridor and adjacent to Downtown and Queen Anne, provides an immediate op- portunity to create value within Interbay and to the Seattle region at large. The Port District is designed to pay homage to the Port of Seattle and to complement Seattle “software” industry by creating expansive advanced manufacturing space, which will specifically be developed for the cross-laminated timber industry – a growing regional, national, and international industry.

The remainder of the nearly 80-acres of land will include residential (market-rate and affordable), office, retail, hotel, public space and trails, and connections to the surrounding communities. We believe that the Port District will be a vibrant new community that will reaffirm Interbay as a civic destination of regional importance. The Port District is designed to both to be an economic hub and to connect to other economic hubs; it’s designed to provide new housing while improving the livability of existing neighborhoods.

The Port District’s explicit focus on fostering industrial innovation and housing di-versity embodies the City’s desire for a more inspired and inclusive future. The Port District will create jobs, homes, opportunities, and public spaces, and will signal a new era of equity and unity for the City of Seattle.