This morning I needled the Space Needle's Facebook page—a page dedicated to celebrating lovely views of the Space Needle that could be obscured by allowing taller buildings nearby—as sounding a little, well, anti-density. Since then, the page has had a flurry of updates to say "we support density" and now features a link to their website, protectourviews.com, which explains the Space Needle is "a part of the fabric of Seattle, rising out of our skyline, peeking through treelines, and reminding us about what sets Seattle apart and makes our city unique."
Today the Space Needle also sent this letter to the Seattle City Council:
Thank you for your time over the last few weeks to see the modeling of possible new construction in South Lake Union. The Space Needle wants to be very clear about their positions on the South Lake Union Rezone Ordinance:
1. We Support Development. We understand the rationale for the incentive rezoning and the logic of density.
2. This is only about public views. We are only asking that a few key public views be protected by language included in the Ordinance.
3. There is strong public support for public view protection. Recent polling of Seattle voters show strong support (over 75%) for view protection consideration as part of this ordinance.
4. We understand the urgency of this matter and will support an ordinance with the public view protection language.
We approach this from a generational aspect for all of Seattle. We are committed to protecting key views and the unique personality of the Seattle Skyline.
Space Needle Corporation
The Space Needle has a point, as it were, but threading this needle, as that were, is tricky. Everyone wants to keep the Space Needle visible—it's iconic and genuinely beautiful. That's particularly true looking at it from Queen Anne and from across Elliott Bay, because those are its most picturesque angles. However, when they're talking about a rezone in the South Lake Union neighborhood (the other side, toward the city's midsection), the Space Needle Corporation must be specific about which views it wants to preserve. All of them? (Because that would be crazy.) Occasional peekaboo views? Or is it trying to stop the city from allowing, essentially, a wall of buildings? Explaining which density it supports will help a constructive dialogue while playing up its popular, pretty face.