Currently, the tallest building in Seattle, the 76-storey Columbia Center, which stands at a height of 967 feet. However, in a notice to the builders, the FAA proclaimed that if they reduce the height to 965 feet, they would receive a more favorable response, thereby denying them the right to supersede the current tallest structure. And so continues the tale of Seattle’s stunted skyline.Back in 2015, a plan was unveiled to erect a 102-story building at Fourth Avenue and Columbia Street; this would have been the tallest structure in Seattle by a fair margin. The plan, put forth by the Crescent Heights Inspirational Living and LMN Architects, was struck down straightaway by the Federal Aviation Administration, who deemed it excessive and soon after, sent a “notice of presumed hazard” to the developers.
…visionaries, like Freeman, continue to strive for the betterment of Seattle. We look to a new vision of the future that recognizes a need for change and continued breakthroughs.
Opponents whistle a similar tune regarding these restriction on development. Along with his public support for various beautification projects, George Freeman has been a staunch advocate for an upgrade to Seattle’s infrastructure. Freeman believes in the cultural advancements of Seattle and responsible development to meet the city’s pressing demands and to reflect the true sophistication of Seattle, one our nation most beloved cities. Directives, like the ones given by the FAA, limit the potential of the city to achieve these milestones.
Vancouver, another budding metropolis, too has many height and corridor restrictions in place, but the relevant authorities are willing to allow for exceptions when they see that the benefits are far-reaching. This fluidity allows restrictions to be seen and used as levers to negotiate around, instead of decrees set in stone, which hamper creativity and progress.
While striking down the plan for the new tallest structure that would have stood at a height of 1,117 feet, the FAA showed concern that it could interfere with flights in and out of Boeing field, as well as helicopter flights to and from Harborview Medical Center. While seeing some merit in the argument, it’s hard to understand the lack of commitment being shown to put forth more holistic and creative plans that allow for safety to be met, while not stifling process. Re-routes could be incorporated that would give room for compromise, but the desire seems to be missing.
It seems the struggle against these restrictions will be a long one as visionaries, like Freeman, continue to strive for the betterment of Seattle. We look to a new vision of the future that recognizes a need for change and continued breakthroughs.