City Amazon, Vulcan and… The Mariners
posted by August 29 at 14:20 PMon
There are apparently some fireworks going on in the negotiations between the mayor’s office and local developers such as Vulcan over the mayor’s plan to require rezones in urban centers like South Lake Union, Northgate, and the University District to come with strict guidelines about public benefits. That is: If a developer gets to build taller, the developer must provide public benefits like affordable housing.
Inside sources tell me specifically that Vulcan, which is focused on rezoning the industrial/commercial zone between Denny and Lake Union, have said that if the rezone doesn’t pencil out for them, their potential tenant, Amazon.com, may look elsewhere for its pending big move.
People are pretty mum about the negotiations—the city council is still out of the loop, and is waiting for the incentive zoning legislation to come down from the mayor in September—but I was able to talk to Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis today.
(Footnote: Ceis sounded like he was at the Mariners game with the mayor in the background scolding him for taking press calls. “Hey, there’s a ball game going on!” Ceis wouldn’t confirm being at a Mariners game; he said they were at a “public facilities inspection.”)
More important Ceis denied Vulcan was playing hardball. “No developer has played the tenant card,” he said. He also said that while the developers are making “the same old arguments” against public benefit incentives (“the deals won’t pencil out”), they don’t have much of a case given that the council passed a incentive zoning for downtown last year and “there’s no shortage of cranes there now. It worked,” Ceis said.
Calls out to Vulcan and Amazon.