Seattle is Kicking Off its Next Phase as a Destination of Innovation
Author: Jennifer N. Dienst
This article was first published on PCMA.org; November 19, 2021
Natural light will play a prominent role in the design of Seattle Convention Center’s new Summit building, with a view of that famous Seattle skyline. LMN Architects
As a city that continues to grow and innovate, Seattle has much to look forward to in the coming years with an array of projects nearing completion. Among these is the largest expansion in the city’s convention center’s history, which will come to fruition with the debut of the $1.9-billion Summit building in January 2023.
Attendees meeting at the Summit will find some of Seattle’s most popular sights, including Pike Place Market, within easy walking distance. LMN Architects
The expansion is a long time coming for the Seattle Convention Center (SCC). In the past, the SCC had to turn away more business than it could book due to date availability. But the addition of the Summit will allow the destination to not only secure business it once couldn’t accommodate, but also allow Seattle to keep pace with its current roster of business events that continually see upticks in attendance. Currently, the Summit has 32 national conventions scheduled from 2023 to 2026.
“This will increase our ability to say ‘yes,’” said Jeffrey A. Blosser, president and CEO of SCC, in December 2019, when Convene was on site to write about the National Association of Independent Schools’ (NAIS) People of Color Conference (PoCC) and the NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference — both of which broke their previous attendance records.
Just one-and-a-half blocks northeast of SCC’s existing Arch building, the Summit will have close to 250,000 square feet of total exhibit space, just shy of 100,000 square feet of total meeting space, and a 58,000-square-foot ballroom. In addition, the facility will have an extra 145,000 square feet of lobby space to work with and 27,000 square feet of useable space in varying capacities (including a garden). All told, the Summit will offer more than 570,000 square feet of event space.
The Summit will do more than just increase the SCC’s capacity, it will also elevate the SCC’s commitment to sustainability by achieving LEED Gold certification as well as create a more intentional connection with the surrounding neighborhood with a glass atrium, a rooftop garden terrace, and a cascading stair climb — the feature for which the building is named — that will look down at Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market.
The new build will also benefit the community — $93 million of the Summit’s funding is going toward a community benefits package, which will increase mobility within the downtown core, enhance economic opportunities, and provide affordable housing for residents as well as parks and open spaces.