AKA: Washington State Convention and Trade Center, Downtown, Seattle, WA; Washington State Convention & Trade Center, Downtown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - social and civic buildings - convention centers

Designers: Loschky Marquardt and Nesholm (LMN), Architects (firm); The Richardson Associates (TRA) Architecture, Engineering, Planning, Interiors (firm); Chris Eseman (architect); Phillip Lee Jacobson (architect); George Henry Loschky (architect); Judsen Robert Marquardt (architect); Allen Donald Moses (architect); John Frank Nesholm (architect); James J. Sanders (architect)

Dates: constructed 1985-1988

total floor area: 307,700 sq. ft.

800 Convention Place
Downtown, Seattle , WA 98101-2350

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Construction began on the Washington State Convention and Trade Center (WSCTC) in Fall 1985, and continued for nearly 3 years; it was a complex facility set on a difficult site, perched on the edge of US Interstate 5. The first event staged in the facility occurred 06/18/1988. Phillip L. Jacobson (b. 1928) of TRA Architecture Engineering Planning Interiors supervised the design side of the first 1985-1988 convention center project.

A large addition--doubling previous square footage--was made to the Convention Center in 1999-2001; this expanded building opened for convention use 07/09/2001, and was designed by Loschky Marquardt and Nesholm (LMN) Architects of Seattle. This 1999-2001 expansion increased floor space to a total of 307,700 square feet. Chris Eseman, Partner with LMN Architects, directed the design, programming and planning of this expansion project. A third addition, with a $766 million price tag, was first discussed in 2009, in order for Seattle to compete with other cities vying for lucrative, large-scale conferences. During the mid-2000s, many American cities had competed with one another to build capacious convention centers, resulting by the end of the decade in a glut of conference space; in a difficult economy, one strategy to differentiate one's facilities and to attract conventions was to continue to expand and update them. By 2009, some wanted to expand Seattle's Convention Center capacity to 400,000 square feet, still much smaller than mammoth facilities in San Francisco, CA, and Denver, CO. Funding for this expansion was to be paid for by the 7% hotel room tax paid within the City of Seattle; a controversy arose when state officials removed $65 million of this ear-marked tax money for use in Washington State's beleaguered general fund; expansion plans were raised in 01/2009, in part to recover this money and in part to enable the city to compete for mid- and large-scale convention business. Work was projected to be completed in 2014.

PCAD id: 8528