Year Listed: 2012
Location: Seattle, King County
Located in the First Hill neighborhood, Harborview Hall stands as a fine example of the Art Deco style in Seattle and a notable work of architect Harlan Thomas. But perhaps more important is the role Harborview Hall played in training multiple generations of nurses, serving as the base for the University of Washington’s School of Nursing from 1931 to 1961. Despite this, the master plan in place for the Harborview Medical Center Campus called for the Hall to be demolished, replaced with an open plaza. Complicating matters is the fact that King County owns the buildings on the medical campus, but responsibility for facilities management falls to the Harborview Medical Center Board of Trustees.
Under the leadership of County Executive Dow Constantine, King County intervened, asking the Trustees to allow the county time to assess the economic feasibility of redeveloping Harborview Hall. In November 2016, the county included $2.5 million in the budget to convert the building to a homeless shelter. While the project experienced significant delays due to code-compliance issues, an overnight shelter opened in late 2018 on the first floor only. King County Council is still exploring ways to upgrade the building to be an “enhanced” shelter which would be open 24 hours a day with case managers to connect shelter residents to housing and behavioral health services.
As for the rest of the building, there are no immediate plans but the Council is exploring ideas to convert it to low income or affordable housing. Executive Constantine’s office has estimated that a renovation of the entire building that would fully comply with code standards is around $15 million. The county is still determining the building’s long-term plan, a process that County Councilmember Rod Dembowski expects to take at least five years, with the shelter occupying the space in the interim.
We are excited to see the shelter open and are calling this campaign a save — for now. We’ll be keeping an eye on the building and will reopen the advocacy campaign if needed!
In the news:
“‘It should have been open a year ago’: Homeless shelter to open in Seattle’s Harborview Hall — but it hasn’t been easy” – The Seattle Times, July 30, 2018
“Harborview Hall finally put back to use as homeless shelter set to open” – Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, December 2, 2018
“Harborview Hall opening to welcome up to 100 adults and their pets to warm, safe shelter on First Hill” – King County Press Release, December 20, 2018