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SEATTLE-The City Council has decided that two-thirds of the former Public Safety Building block should be a public plaza and the remainder office space. The resolution is a toned down version of Mayor Greg Nickels’ April proposal for the Downtown block, which called for a public plaza on only one-third of the block and office and residential development on the rest.”Basically what was taken out (of the Mayor’s proposal) was space for housing,” a source at City Hall tells GlobeSt.com. “Everybody supports Downtown housing, but the Council thought that to complement the new civic campus, which includes the new Justice Center and City Hall, the plaza should be more of a town square and it’s hard to accomplish that if most of the block is buildings.” The property sits at the south end of the Downtown core, bordered by James and Cherry streets and Third and Fourth avenues. In April 1998, the Council approved a vision and set of principals for the Civic Center that endorsed the Civic Center Master Plan declaring a preferred alternative that includes open space and a plaza on the north side of James Street from 5th to 3rd Avenues, linkages to the new Justice Center and the Metro Tunnel, all in accordance with the principles established with the Civic Center Master Plan. “Seattle’s downtown future livability has been enhanced with this ‘Town Square’ alternative,” says Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck. “We’re keeping our commitment to providing more public open space in the urban core.” Nickels’ proposal went beyond the recommendations of the civic center master plan by including housing in addition to office, retail, below-grade parking, a public plaza and enhanced connections to the Metro Tunnel. His proposal called for approximately 100 residential units above retail on the southwestern third of the site.

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