City council approves Fort Lawton redevelopment after contentious debate

SEATTLE - Parts of Magnolia are known for the views, sprinkled with million-dollar homes.

And many flock to the area for Discovery Park, a quiet oasis of open space.

Right next to the park is Fort Lawton, an old Army outpost. It’s unused space that’s been a battleground for redevelopment.

On Monday, the Seattle City Council unanimously gave the green light to redevelop Fort Lawton.

During a public hearing, people for and against the project spoke in front of the council.

“I feel it’s inappropriate to take a neighborhood with its own quiet character and dropping 600 more people and their cars into a very small residential space,” said one woman.

“We are right now, today, at least 156,000 affordable homes short in King County,” one man said.

The development would create 238 units serving 600 people, including 85 homeless people.

The project includes 100 apartments that will be one, two and three bedrooms.

There will also be 52 three bedroom townhomes for low-income homebuyers.

Some who are opposed say they want the city to transform Fort Lawton into more green space, an extension to Discovery Park.

“We are preserving 60 percent of the land for open space and public parks,” Councilwoman Teresa Mosqueda said.

But still, over the years many Magnolia residents have voiced environmental and logistical concerns.

Mosqueda says she is working with Metro and SDOT to get more bus routes in that area and possibly more schools.

“The people who need additional services like counseling, they will have it on site,” Mosqueda said.

On Monday, two women who live very close to Fort Lawton did not want to go on camera but told Q13 News that they have plans to move because of the redevelopment.

Groundbreaking is 2021 and the project is expected to end in 2026.

The price tag is around $90 million, and Mosqueda says the city will be on the hook for about one-third of that total cost. The state and feds will pay for the rest.