The Seattle City Council started debating Thursday about Mayor Mike McGinn’s plan to rezone South Lake Union.
The plan would allow taller buildings and encourage more residents to work and live in the neighborhood.
South Lake Union is busy during the day with thousands of workers at Amazon and other companies.
Small business owners in the area told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News the plan for the addition of 12,000 apartments will energize the neighborhood.
Josh Dickey, the manager at the Flying Fish, supports the plan and said the area empties out at night, making it hard for small businesses to survive.
“For small businesses, we rely on that critical mass of people coming through the area. We rely on the walk-ins, we rely on the regulars,” said Dickey.
Critics have said the area has not brought in success.
“Has it produced a school in South Lake Union? No. Has it contributed to improved traffic? No. Has it contributed to open space? No,” said former City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck.
The City Council will study the proposal from now into early next year, and will hold more hearings before taking any vote.