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Alliance for Pioneer Square 

Description

The Alliance for Pioneer Square works to help preserve what makes Pioneer Square the most authentic, engaging, and dynamic neighborhood in Seattle. By fostering pivotal new programs and facilitating crucial neighborhood action, our district will continue moving towards a more vibrant and better place for everyone to work, live, and visit.

Mission Statement
The Alliance for Pioneer Square is devoted to the betterment of Pioneer Square through advocacy, programming, marketing, and community action.

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Alliance for Pioneer Square
310 First Ave S Ste 201 
Seattle 
WA
98104 
(206) 667-0687 

Leslie Smith 
Executive Director 

Programs

Alliance for Pioneer Square Programs

Business & Retail Development
There are over 1,100 businesses in the Pioneer Square historic district. We actively engage those businesses in supporting the economic growth and sharing the vision of our neighborhood. We help new and existing businesses navigate administrative mazes, connect them to resources and other businesses, boost their marketing efforts, and raise their profiles in the neighborhood. Guided by our retail recruitment strategy, we actively recruit new businesses to curate a vibrant mix of storefront uses. 

Marketing & Promotion
The Alliance has worked tirelessly to change the story of Pioneer Square and its portrayal in the media. We are now seeing a positive change in perception. Many of our new restaurants are now featured in publications including the Puget Sound Business Journal, Seattle Met, Seattle Magazine, the New York Times, Bon Appetit, Sunset, and GQ.  

Our robust social media and online marketing campaign continues to promote Pioneer Square to connected Seattleites. Our summer bus ads show off the history and burgeoning foodie scene. We advertise Pioneer Square in magazines to local tourists and provide printed walking maps to visitors. For the First Thursday art walk, we offer a free parking program to patrons of the art galleries and other participating venues. We partnered with the Washington State Department of Transportation and the central waterfront to launch DowntownSeattleParking.com, an online parking resource for parking in Pioneer Square, the central Waterfront and the Retail Core.

Public Realm
Pioneer Square is identified as a highly walkable neighborhood with unique architecture that contributes to its historic charm. The Alliance works to protect and enhance our built environment with numerous programs throughout the year. 2015 will see the continuation of traditional events, including the Spring Clean, as well as the addition of new improvement projects. Both the Parks and Gateways Project and Pioneer Square Streetscape Concept Plan will give us additional tools to improve the neighborhood. 

We also work to mitigate the impacts of numerous large public projects currently in the works. This includes coordinating with developers, government agencies, businesses and residents to lessen construction impacts. We anticipate this being a critical area of our work for a number of years to come. 

We are partnering with the International Sustainable Institute, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle City Light and the Department of Transportation to re-brick two potholed, central alleys and repair underground utilities. This collaboration will help ensure the alleys are pedestrian friendly and the neighborhood has access to the internet, electricity, water and sewage.

Another major focus area is working to make our sidewalks safer and more accessible for everyone. We’ve received funding from the City to design 13 new ADA ramps to improve accessibility. We hope to secure additional funding to construct them in the near future. We will continue to leverage construction processes to address ADA accessibility as well as sloping sidewalks, unsafe pedestrian crossings, and other issues. 

Clean & Safe
Despite significant progress, street civility continues to be a challenge throughout downtown. The Alliance is a key stakeholder working on the Center City Initiative to improve issues of street civility and safety. This work has resulted in an increased police presence in the neighborhood and an expansion of the LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program. 

The Alliance works closely with the Metropolitan Improvement District to ensure effective clean and safe services. Other areas of focus for the built environment include pedestrian lighting improvements throughout the neighborhood. While we are pleased with the progress we have made on this goal, we know we have more significant work to do.

Organizational Capacity
We continue to build both organizational and neighborhood capacity. More people are stepping up to participate, assuming responsibility for work, committees, and projects. Our progress in bringing the neighborhood together is significant. In 2013 we successfully expanded the BIA to include the entire historic district. In 2014, we continued to build long-term stability for the organization.

Building upon our on-going success with neighborhood engagement, we are cultivating more relationships and increasing communication with stakeholders. Those stakeholders include human service providers, sports teams, clubs, tech companies, upper level businesses, the Pioneer Square Residents Council, volunteers, and our partners in the preservation and arts communities. We are also reaching out to long-tenured art galleries to include their perspectives and voices. 

By leveraging current assets to build upon new opportunities, the Alliance has changed the trajectory of Seattle’s first neighborhood. While the successes of the past five years have been many, we recognize the fragile nature of Seattle’s first neighborhood. Our recently completed strategic plan, Pioneer Square 2020, identifies our priorities for the next five years. Our work has truly just begun.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

We've made great strides toward creating a vibrant, healthy retail environment in Pioneer Square. Building on the retail recruitment strategy developed in 2012, over 50 new storefront businesses have opened their doors in the last two years, including several destination restaurants opened by award-winning chefs. Retail indeed follows food, with the opening of independent boutique shops for the first time in years. The opening of a new dinner theatre marks is yet another example of the new liveliness in the neighborhood. 

New development and residents are further bolstering economic efforts in the neighborhood. The Stadium Place development brought over 500 new market-rate residential units to the neighborhood. Additional residential projects are in the works. The 22-story Embassy Suites Hotel and the highly anticipated 200 Occidental project with its high profile tenant, Weyerhaeuser are now under construction.

The world of retail has changed and we are continuing our search for relevant, creative retail businesses to complement our mix of long-time anchors and newest merchants. Street civility and construction will continue to be a challenge and we are working hard to mitigate their impact. We are not finished and are excited about the future of Pioneer Square.

    Evaluation

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