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SEATTLE –-The Seattle City Council has voted five to three in favor of awarding a local developer, Richard Hedreen, development credits, which remained from his Grand Hyatt Hotel, to build a new Denny Triangle development.

The City Council bent its rules in favor of the developer when it approved a proposal by Hedreen to exceed Seattle’s building size limit. The credits will allow Hedreen to increase the square footage of his new development, which may be located at Eighth Avenue and Olive Way.

When the Washington State Convention and Trade Center was designing its expansion plans, it sold the development rights for a 1,000-room hotel to fund its project. It also signed an agreement with the city, in which the center contributed funds for 44 affordable housing units in exchange for credits that allowed it to build a hotel that exceeded Seattle’s building size limits at Seventh Avenue and Pine Street.

Hedreen purchased the development rights and size credits from the convention center for $15 million. However, the convention center opted for a smaller hotel, and Hedreen’s credits went unused. Hedreen recently approached the city requesting the right to use those credits, which have since expired, to build a new hotel and office development.

Five City Council members support Hedreen’s request, while three others say that it is unfair to make an exception for Hedreen, who knew the rules when he purchased the rights. Mayor Greg Nickels has the power to veto the decision and must still approve the city council’s decision.

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