Lane Powell Live

Washington State Convention Center’s Massive Addition ”Topping Out”

June 11, 2021

Live from the historic Virginia Inn in downtown Seattle, Construction Attorney Ellie Perka interviews Matt Griffin, Managing Partner at Pine Street Group, about one of the largest construction projects taking place on the West Coast today: a massive expansion of the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) in downtown Seattle.

WSCC’s new addition, known as “Summit,” opens in mid-2022 and will add 1.4 million square feet of usable space to downtown – doubling current convention capacity. This is a big week for Matt and his team! On June 11, WSCC celebrates “topping out” construction with a crew lunch and commemoration ceremony.

Join Ellie and Matt as they discuss the downtown Seattle revitalization, overcoming financial and construction hurdles and how Seattle will bounce back from the recent pandemic.



02:01 – Matt grew up in Seattle and became an Engineer.

03:33 – 90's Era Seattle: boarded-up downtown blooms with development. Matt describes the Three Block Project.

05:55 – Ellie and Matt wax nostalgic about the Nordstrom flagship store moving into the Frederick & Nelson building.

07:14 – Perspective on how Seattle will bounce back as we emerge from the pandemic.

13:22 – WSCC: the big mega-project happening downtown.

14:06 – In 2013/2014 WSCC was turning away more business than it was booking. Seattle is popular for conventions.

15:19 – Matt: “What we’re trying to do is have more conventions, not bigger.”

16:21 – Squeezing 7.7 new acres of usable space in crowded downtown.

17:31 – What happened to the bus station located where WSCC Summit is now?

19:59 – Financing the project, especially during COVID-19.

21:27 – Shout-out to the people building WSCC Summit! Focus on employing people of color, people from high-priority zip codes and apprentices.

22:09 – Study in Oct 2020 showed tax revenue would come up short, Matt describes private financing methods secured in early 2021 to complete the build.

24:22 – Seattle has become the #1 city in USA for foreign investment.

25:31 – Matt describes the “topping out” ceremony June 11. Seattle luminaries and even sports celebrities make a cameo for this digital event.

28:04 – Is it true the top-floor ballroom will be as big as a football field?

29:50 – Fortunate to have LMN architects on this project. World-renowned firm from Seattle.

29:15 – WSCC bought the property under the sidewalks, very unusual. Why?

30:01 – Natural light makes a difference. Summit will have skylights even in the basement.



Project details:

Meet Ellie Perka: 

Matt Griffin’s firm:

Virginia Inn:


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