Fight over plans to build high-rise development in Seattle's International District

by: Siemny Kim Updated:

SEATTLE - A fight is brewing over plans to build a high-rise development in Seattle's Chinatown-International District.

It’s also home to the city's oldest Chinese restaurant. Tai Tung has been in Harry Chan's family since 1935. As someone who grew up here, Chan is no stranger to change.

“I think that (can) happen in everywhere anyways,” Chan said, “So nothing is going to stop the change.”

But even he has mixed feelings about a new proposed high-rise development at 8th Avenue and South Lane Street.

“Hopefully we can create more jobs for the area,” Chan said.

If a proposed land use action sign on the property that has been tagged with graffiti and has a sticker that says "Vanishing Seattle" is any indication, many people are opposed to the project.

“At the same time I would like to keep the identity of Chinatown,” Chan added.

A rendering shows the latest design for the 14-story, mixed use building. It would house a hotel, expected to be a SpringHill Suites-Marriott with 158 rooms, and 103 apartments along with retail and underground parking.

“A lot of those folks will be wealthy (and) upper class who can afford to pay more when a lot of elders and struggling community members can’t be here anymore,” Arista Chen added. Chen lives in the Chinatown-International District and is also part of a coalition called “Humbows Not Hotels.”

Chen was one of dozens who packed a meeting to sound off on the project.

“A lot of culture is being lost with gentrification and displacement,” Chen said.

As for Chan, he hopes the heart of the historic neighborhood remains the same.

“As long as we keep Chinatown the way we are, I will be happy,” Chan said.

KIRO 7 tried reaching out to the developers, but never heard back.

The city still has to approve the project.

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