Sports arenas

What’s next for the dilapidated Magnuson building: a Hollywood soundstage or more sports arenas?

Seattle Parks and Recreation has issued a request for proposals to redevelop and operate a 144,000 square foot complex with two aircraft hangars.

The last large undeveloped building of the former naval air base in what is now Seattle’s Magnuson Park could become a giant movie fortress.

Or a lacrosse complex. Or an archery range. Or both. Or something else.

Seattle Parks and Recreation this month released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the renovation and operation of the 144,000 square foot double hangar known as Building 2, and Hollywood-level film production can do part of at least one proposition.

“We’ve gotten calls for everything from swimming pools to basketball, archery, movie production and rock climbing, some really bold and interesting ideas,” said Cheryl Fraser, director of strategic awareness of the parks.

The ministry asked for proposals for a number of buildings in Magnuson Park in 2005, but no one was interested in Building 2, Fraser said. “Since then we have received many inquiries about space,” she said, leading to the new RFP.

Between 1975 and 2005, the US Navy ceded 364 acres of the station on the Sand Point Peninsula to Seattle Parks and the University of Washington.

Building 2, used until 1970 as an aircraft assembly and repair shop, includes a 15,484 square foot north hangar built in 1929 and a 32,548 square foot hangar built in 1941. There are also workshops here. , offices and mezzanines.

The north hangar’s truss ceiling rises 45 feet above an expanse more than half the size of a football field. There are puddles of water on the concrete floor, and the mezzanines are strewn with pigeon droppings. Some roof windows are still blackened, a reminder that enemy planes were considered a threat during World War II.

Basic work to get a certificate of occupancy will cost whoever has the winning proposal at least $ 20 million, Fraser said. The roof must be replaced, the utilities must be redone and seismic reinforcement is necessary. The complete redevelopment of Building 2 will cost much more.


But the ramshackle hangar is huge enough to let the imagination run wild, and when Kate Becker is there, her imagination races to filmmaking.

Becker runs the Seattle Office of Film and Music and works with industry players who can submit a proposal. Seattle is losing markets to cities like Vancouver, British Columbia, because it lacks a soundstage – a huge black box where movies can be produced.

“Our competitors all have sound stages,” she said. “It is the largest open-air public building north of LA. This is an opportunity that we must pay attention to. “

Building 2 has been used in several ways since 1970. The US Coast Guard briefly occupied part of the structure, as did the US Marine Corps.

From 1992 to 2001, this site and other sites in Magnuson Park were used by film production companies. Building 2 played a role in 1995’s “Assassins”, starring Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas.

There were intermittent art exhibitions in Building 2 in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and from 2002 Arena Sports used the structure for indoor athletics.

The only tenant is now Parks’ Seattle Conservation Corps, as Arena Sports moved in 2010 to redevelop and manage Building 27, another Magnuson Park hangar.

The city’s vision for Building 2 has changed over time. In the 1990s, several plans mentioned film production, while a 2007 plan called for skateboarding. Over 70 people participated in a community charrette last June to help develop a new vision.

The new RFP says Parks is looking for someone who can make a significant capital investment in return for a long-term lease or concession agreement and who will manage recreational, artistic and cultural or environmental programs open to the public. public.

Radiation from the phosphorescent radium paint the Navy used on the cockpit dials was detected in Building 2 last year. But the Navy has completed a cleanup, Fraser said. The site is in three historic preservation districts, which will increase the cost.

Proposals are due June 3 and Parks plans to announce a winner on August 19. The resulting lease or agreement must be approved by the city council.

In addition to Arena Sports, park tenants include The Mountaineers, Cascade Bicycle Club, and Seattle Waldorf School High School. Parks, UW and Solid Ground, a nonprofit that provides housing in Magnuson Park to formerly homeless families and people, have together invested more than $ 100 million in improvements.

Representatives for Next Step Archery, who have expressed interest in Building 2 and possibly sharing it with lacrosse lineup, did not return a request for comment.

Julianna Ross, executive director of Sand Point Arts and Cultural Exchange (SPACE), a non-profit arts organization in the park, said she believes film production is the right choice.

She said a lot of Magnuson is already sports focused. The park has outdoor sports fields, a tennis center and Arena Sports, with football, basketball and a gym.

Less space is devoted to the arts. SPACE manages 32 artist studios and a gallery.

“People come to the park after not being here for a while and are amazed at how much of a sports complex it has become and nothing more,” said Ross. “Building 2 has long been envisioned as a sound stage. The entire film community is rallying around this.

Ross said the larger hangar could house high-profile productions, while the smaller one could be reserved for independent films and local youth training.

Loren Hill, who plays Ultimate Frisbee in Magnuson and sits on the park’s advisory committee, said Building 2 is expected to house both recreation and arts programs.

Hill said his main concern was for Parks to make sure all kinds of people had access to the structure, which could be difficult with a soundstage.

Fraser said Parks encourages potential users of Building 2 to work together.

“Because there is so much space in the building and so much capital needed,” she said. “Collaborating could be more doable and better for the public. “


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