Seattle's Washington State Convention Center Breaks Ground on Expansion

Work is underway on a new facility that will double the capacity of the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle

Washington State Convention Center Expansion - Rendering

Seattle is booming. Thanks to companies like Starbucks, Amazon and Microsoft, just to name a few, its economy is expanding at a rapid clip. To accommodate the growth, it needs more housing, more services and more transportation. And also? More meeting space.

Fortunately, it's about to get a lot more of the latter: The city's official destination marketing organization, Visit Seattle, announced on Aug. 14 that Seattle's Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) has officially broken ground on a new building that will double the convention center's capacity for meetings and conventions.

Located one block northeast of WSCC's existing facility, the new building will be called Summit -- named for Seattle's geography, as well as the dramatic staircase that will be the new building's centerpiece. The existing building, meanwhile, will henceforth be known as Arch in honor of the famous sky bridge and canopy arch that bridges the facility along Pike Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues.

While Arch has 414,722 square feet of space -- including 205,700 square feet of exhibition space, 45,000 square feet of ballroom space and 57,000 square feet of breakout space -- Summit will comprise 440,000 square feet, including 255,000 square feet of exhibit space, 60,000 square feet of ballroom space and 125,000 square feet of breakout space. As a result, WSCC will now boast nearly 1 million square feet of space.

The additional square footage will be a major boon, according to Visit Seattle, which said Seattle has had to turn down more than 350 event proposals in the last five years due to lack of space or timing constraints, costing the destination more than $2.13 billion in potential economic benefit.

When it's finished in 2022, Summit is expected to attract more than 400,000 new convention attendees to Seattle and generate more than $19 million per year in tax revenue.

"The WSCC's Summit building is one of the largest public capital projects in downtown Seattle's history and creates new opportunities to generate more economic impact for the region," said WSCC President and CEO Jeff Blosser. "This additional facility is a game changer for our ability to give meeting planners additional dates and space with the opportunity to book their events in Seattle."

Echoed Visit Seattle President and CEO Tom Norwalk, "Meetings mean business in Washington and our convention center's Arch and Summit buildings are an economic catalyst for Seattle as we now have the ability to fulfill excess demand for meeting space in our city. Thoughtfully designed and centered in the heart of our downtown, both buildings will provide an atmosphere that foster future innovation and connections."

Of course, cities that need more meeting space also need more hotel rooms. And Seattle is flush with them thanks to a number of new hotels that have either recently opened or are currently under development. Visit NorthstarMeetingsGroup.com for a roundup of four of the newest additions.