One Big Reason to GiveBIG to the Alliance on May 6th

GiveBIG to the Alliance on May 6th!

The Seattle Foundation’s annual day of charitable giving – GiveBIG – is on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. If you plan to make a donation to the Alliance for Pioneer Square this year, please give on May 6th to make your donation stretch further. Any donations made through the Seattle Foundation’s website during this 24-hour period (May 6th, midnight to midnight) will be matched by a percentage of a stretch pool fund. That’s right; your donation during GiveBIG will be matched by stretch dollars! Bookmark our donation page on the Seattle Foundation website!

But why should I give to the Alliance for Pioneer Square, you might ask? If there is one reason to give to the Alliance, it’s this:

We are making progress.

Twenty-six new stores and restaurants have opened in Pioneer Square in 2013. Many of these new restaurants have been featured in the Puget Sound Business Journal, Seattle Met, Seattle Magazine, the New York Times, Bon Appetit, and GQ. There is a lot behind this transformation but the story of  Pioneer Square is beginning to change, thanks in part to our advocacy, business development, marketing, and promotion of the neighborhood. Local media is calling us the burgeoning new hot spot of Seattle, while our work and partnerships in the built environment and public safety realm continues to move forward. We can’t stop now! Revitalizing Seattle’s historic neighborhood needs your help. Support progress in Pioneer Square by giving big on May 6th.


Occidental Avenue

Historic South Downtown Funds South Downtown Study

Back Alley Bike Repair, located in a historic brick building
Residents and small businesses located in historic buildings both in Pioneer Square and Chinatown-ID are vulnerable in the event of an earthquake. Recent city policies addressing this and other issues may impact both neighborhoods.

Historic South Downtown is pleased to announce a funding partnership with the City of Seattle in support of the Seattle Chinatown International District Public Development Authority’s (SCIDPDA) RRIO/URM study that we believe will be of great value to South Downtown neighborhoods.

The City of Seattle has adopted a Rental Registration Inspection Ordinance (RRIO) and an Unreinforced Masonry Retrofit (URM) ordinance to require seismic retrofit of URM buildings is anticipated later in the year.  Pioneer Square and the Chinatown/International District (CID) will be particularly impacted by these policies. Together, the neighborhoods contain approximately 15 percent of all unreinforced masonry buildings in the city and are particularly vulnerable in the event of a major earthquake. Both also contain significant affordable housing for low-income individuals and families with children, seniors, and recent immigrants, as well as affordable commercial space for small businesses.

Much of the neighborhoods’ historic building stock may be subject to at least one of the new policies, and many buildings will be affected by both. In the CID alone, at least 700 affordable housing units (half of which are occupied) need work to comply with URM retrofit requirements; 600 of those will also require upgrades to meet rental inspection standards. Dozens of small businesses—largely located in mixed-use URM buildings—will also be impacted and potentially displaced.

SCIDPDA will conduct outreach in both neighborhoods as a practical way for property owners and city agencies to anticipate the work required to comply with the new policies, estimate associated costs, and create a sustainable, targeted financing mechanism for improvements. The pilot will explore the work required to rehabilitate 5 to 7 case study buildings for URM compliance, including needs assessments and cost estimates by professional consultants, and exploration of potential funding mechanisms to fund retrofit work. Community engagement will be conducted throughout the process.  For more information, contact project manager Paul Mar at 206-838-8233 or PaulM[at]


Walking Audit Identifies Opportunities in PSQ

Walking audit

Two years ago more than 40 people – residents, businesses, property owners and city staff gathered in Occidental Park. Our goal: to understand what make Pioneer Square a great place and to identify the opportunities to make it better. You came up with a list then, and ISI, working with the Alliance, has brought in more than $1 million to make those changes.

So, we plan to repeat our success, with the help of Feet First, the Alliance and you at the annual Spring Clean, to see how our neighborhood has improved and where we still need improvement. We’ll set out on routes with map, clipboards and cameras to cover nearly all of Pioneer Square.

Your work is all the more important now. Pioneer Square faces major construction projects ranging from the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project to the First Hill Streetcar. Your work will help us get things put back in better shape than when all the digging started.  We’re thinking active public spaces, an integrated transit system and a network of streets, parks and alleys that make people want to wander through the Square and its shops all day long.

Learn more about the Pioneer Square Active Streets Strategy. With the help of the Strategy we have a guide for thinking carefully about how to get full value of these investments to make a vibrant place for everyone.

Are you a keen observer of streets, sidewalks and alleys? Do you notice a freshly painted crosswalk, confusing pedestrian signage or missing curb ramps? Are you interested in making Pioneer Square more appealing? You could be part of the International Sustainability Institute’s audit of Pioneer Square’s streets, sidewalks and alleys to help us update our list of infrastructure improvements. Sign up for this or many other activities during the Pioneer Square Spring Clean on Saturday, April 19th.


Liz Stenning

ISI/Alliance for Pioneer Square

Business & Community Development Update – April 2014

Kristen-Honeycutt-Photo-Co_karensquare_smallI don’t have much to add since last week’s blog, but I’d like to mention briefly a couple of opportunities that remind me why Pioneer Square is such an extraordinary neighborhood:

The Spring Clean on Saturday, April 19 is an opportunity for everyone to roll up their sleeves to work side-by-side to make our neighborhood shine. Business owners, property owners, people who work in the neighborhood, people who live in the neighborhood, and people who love the neighborhood all have a vested interest in Pioneer Square. Behind-the-scenes planning has been underway for weeks so the event will be organized. We’ll accomplish a great deal in a short period of time. It’s going to make you feel great about being part of Pioneer Square AND you’ll get a great t-shirt. Sign up here.

4Culture’s annual LANDMARKS CAPITAL application period is now open.  The deadline for submittal of online applications is Wednesday, May 14.  Owners or long-term tenants of individual Seattle landmarks and contributing buildings in landmark districts are eligible to apply.  Any type of ownership, whether private, public, or non-profit, qualifies. The funding range this year remains at $3,000 to $30,000.  There is no longer a cash match requirement, although some level of owner cost share is encouraged.  Grants are reimbursable, and work items completed prior to award notification are not eligible costs.  Please help us spread the word. Landmarks Capital Applications are due May 14. For more information, contact Flo Lentz at 4Culture.



Director of Business Development