On October 3, 2018 Seattle, Washington Mayor Jenny A. Durkan signed legislation to renew and expand the SODO (South of Downtown) Business Improvement Area (BIA), which is the primary revitalization program for this key section of the city.
“SODO is a vital part of Seattle’s history, identity, and economy. From our longtime businesses to murals to restaurants, SODO is an incredibly vibrant neighborhood, and we’ll continue to support this community,” said Durkan.
As part of her Proposed Budget, the new SODO BIA will have an estimated budget of $1 million in 2019 to fund transportation projects, public safety improvements, community events and increased outreach and advocacy for the district.
The original authorization for the SODO BIA will expire at the end of 2018. In response to support from the SODO community, the BIA will both renew its authorization and expand its boundaries to include all of what is considered the SODO neighborhood. These expanded boundaries will ensure that all properties and businesses will have access to the cleaning, safety, transportation, and advocacy services provided by the BIA. The Seattle City Council unanimously approved the renewal legislation the previous week.
“Over the past five years, the SODO BIA has worked with members of the SODO business community to address important issues facing our neighborhood. The expanded BIA ordinance signed today strengthens our ability to work effectively as a community to ensure that all of SODO is a clean, safe, and accessible community in which to own property and do business,” said Erin Goodman, Executive Director of the SODO BIA.
The SODO BIA uses funding to advocate for a safe, clean and mobile SODO. Investments benefit property owners, businesses, tenants, employees, and patrons of the district. Since its creation, the SODO BIA has funded projects including repaving the section of Occidental Ave S from Lander St to Forest St and the cleanup of hundreds of tons of garbage.
The SODO BIA also hosts public safety meetings and networking events, and has funded the completion of 42 murals throughout the neighborhood, including the award-winning SODO Track in partnership with 4Culture.
“SODO and its diverse businesses—from industrial powerhouses to corporate headquarters to neighborhood craft breweries—contribute so much to our city and our region,” said Rebecca Lovell, Acting Director of the Seattle Office of Economic Development. “We’re excited to continue supporting our partners at the SODO BIA in their innovative work to increase opportunity and equity in the district in the years to come.”
The SODO BIA is guided by the Ratepayer’s Advisory Board, which comprises members representative of the varying sizes, types and locations of business and property owners in the district and includes business tenants, Manufacturing Industrial Council (MIC) members, and a Port of Seattle representative.
BIAs are funding mechanisms for business district revitalization and management. Local stakeholders oversee and fund the maintenance, improvement, and promotion of their commercial district. There are currently ten established BIAs in Seattle.
Photo of downtown Seattle neighborhood in autumn via Adobe Stock.