Council votes Mercer Megablock sale approval out of committee

This afternoon, the City Council voted out of committee an ordinance approving the proposed sale of the “Mercer Megablock” to Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

Here is my previous summary of the proposed deal.

The Council has been generally positive on the deal, though several Council members have pushed hard to make sure that childcare can be included on the site since there is a dearth of childcare services available in the South Lake Union area.

To that end, the ordinance approving the deal was amended slightly. It now requires the city to negotiate with Alexandria to include childcare as a permitted use within the 30,000 square foot community center that Alexandria will be leasing to the city rent-free. The city’s lead negotiator on the deal, Steven Shain, indicated that Alexandra is comfortable with that provision. The amendment also commits the Department of Parks and Recreation, which will manage the community center, to include space for at least three classes of all-day care in the community center for children up to 29 months of age; though the space should preferably be designed to accommodate non-childcare activities in the evenings and weekends.

The ordinance was unanimously voted out of committee, and will come up for final approval by the full City Council on Monday, September 16th. The plan for how to spend the proceeds from the sale will be part of the 2020 budget legislation, beginning at the end of this month.