SEATTLE, WA-Historic buildings and sites hold the “soul of the city,” according to Seattle City Councilor Peter Steinbrueck, and he has sponsored a project to conduct a survey that will document them. The City Council as a whole is supporting the project with allocations of $70,000 in 2001 and $100,000 in 2002.

Such buildings may be eligible for protection from one source or another, Steinbrueck said. The survey will provide the city’s Landmarks Preservation Board with the comparative data it needs to evaluate buildings nominated for designation as landmarks. It may also provide certain Seattle developers with some ideas. There is a current flurry of activity in the realm of restoring old buildings and putting them to modern use.

Steinbrueck defined the “soul of the city,” as “what is familiar and has character.” Citizen, he said are concerned that it may be lost as business districts and neighborhoods are demolished to accommodate new uses and greater densities. A 1979 survey identified buildings of architectural significance but did not catalog historically significant structures and neighborhoods. The city’s Department of Neighborhoods, which is leading the survey effort, is expected to hire a consultant to help coordinate it.

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