Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bye Bye Memorial Stadium?

Robert Jamieson's column in the PI this morning was about what the City and the district plan to do with Memorial Stadium. I had to laugh because it's true; if the Denny's in Ballard can be a historic landmark, anything can. Jamieson does lay out the facts: the stadium is over 25 years old, has historic significance (was built for WWII war dead), easily identifiable features.

What might replace it?

"Planners for Seattle Center are salivating over the possibility of turning the stadium footprint into a giant parking venue or amphitheater."

His take:

"The people shaping the future of Seattle Center are arrogant. They seemingly care little that the stadium -- like Seattle Center -- sits on land bequeathed to the city and dedicated in historical documents for "use of the public forever."

They seem dismissive that the site is owned by the school district. The land was deeded by the city to the district in 1946 for $1 with a stipulation -- the site be used for athletics. Adding to Memorial Stadium's value is its stone jewel -- a wall etched with more than 700 names of Seattle-area students who died in World War II.

Only when the school district decides it no longer wants the stadium can the grounds revert to city ownership. There are deep fears the district and city are cutting deals behind closed doors to make this happen sooner than later.

The property, along with the parking lot, is valued at $46.8 million. The parking lot is a cash cow for Seattle Public Schools, generating about $700,000 a year."

Interestingly, the Board is having an Executive session before tomorrow night's meeting (closed to the public) about real estate and litigation. I do believe that the district is planning to get rid of some real estate. I have a hard time believing they would get rid of Memorial Stadium but hey, maybe if the City throws enough money at them, it might work. Naturally that leaves where Roosevelt and Garfield, etc. would play until something else was built ( if it is). That's one huge problem for the district; where to play the high school football games.

8 comments:

me on 28th ave sw said...

That's one huge problem for the district; where to play the high school football games.

Not if they build a huge athletic complex where Denny MS currently sits......Snarky of me, I know.

Charlie Mas said...

And there is always West Seattle Stadium. Conveniently located for all points of the city so long as the Alaskan Way viaduct remains standing.

maureen said...

Didn't someone (a real estate guy as I remember it) float a proposal (on this blog?) last year to build a multi-story comprehensive High School on the site of Memorial Stadium to fill the QA/Magnolia/South Lake Union need? (Personally, I think they should build a K-12 science magnet there in cooperation with the Biotech and Gates Foundation communities).

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good question, Maureen. But I think the district only gets the stadium as long as they use the site for athletics. It also brings into question; if they redo Seattle Center, is the Center School part of the plan?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good question, Maureen. But I think the district only gets the stadium as long as they use the site for athletics. It also brings into question; if they redo Seattle Center, is the Center School part of the plan?

98112 said...

So, build the comprehensive high school (let's call it Seattle High) or the K-12 Science Magnet (The Mary Gates School?), and make the ground floor an auditorium for athletics, incorporating the WWI memorial wall as a piece of art.

It really does seem strange that there are no schools downtown, since it's the one place that has good bus access from the whole city.

Anonymous said...

West Seattle Stadium is owned by the City.

MH said...

The district will get completely hoodwinked on the Memorial Stadium deal because it doesn't have a property manager. Instead they have a lawyer, who has a laughable reputation at City Hall, who won't do the district justice in terms of negotiating appropriate compensation for Memorial Stadium. Does anyone else find it very odd that the district is in the midst of so many property deals, but doesn't have a property manager?