So About That Portland Loo Contingency Money ...

As I noted yesterday, Mayor Mike McGinn’s 2014 budget proposal will include money for a Portland Loo in Pioneer Square. To many this seemed strange, given the fact that a deal with real estate developer Urban Visions to foot the bill for the Loo in Pioneer Square in exchange for permission to build an apartment building above the normally allowed height had been struck - and heavily reported. Why include money for the Portland Loo if there was a developer eager to pay for it?

Well, as it turns out that developer is no longer eager to pay for it. As Marc Stiles of the Puget Sound Business Journal noted last night (and Aaron Mesh of the Willamette Week picked up on today), Urban Visions is backing out of the deal because the review process took too damn long.

As the Puget Sound Business Journal reports:

So now it appears that Pioneer Square will get neither the apartments nor the loo. And what would [Urban Visions CEO Greg Smith] say to community supporters of his earlier plan?

“Talk to the city,” he said, explaining the city of Seattle has been looking at the 130-foot-tall building and Portland Loo proposal for 24 months. In the meantime, thousands of downtown residential units have been built or are planned, so the ship has sailed on the opportunity for him to include residential units because so many are already on the market.

“These kinds of things should not take two years to get done in the city. It’s paralysis by analysis,” Smith said.

This, it would seem, is where the Loo contingency money in McGinn’s proposed budget comes into play. Asked this afternoon if the contingency money in the 2014 proposed budget - if approved - would be used for a Portland Loo in Pioneer Square (and, to be clear, not some other brand of outdoor toilet), McGinn spokesperson Aaron Pickus responded succinctly, “You got it.”

While McGinn’s budget obviously still has plenty of hurdles to clear, it will no doubt come as music to the ears of Pioneer Square business owners to know that not all is lost in their fight for a Loo.

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