Burien Actors Theatre (BAT Theatre) on May 17, 2023 held a presentation on their proposed new, $48 million performing and visual arts center in Burien, based on early renderings from LMN Architects.
The presentation – to around 30 or so supporters – was given by BAT’s Artistic Director Eric Dickman and Managing Director Maggie Larrick, who showed LMN’s renderings and answered questions.
King County owns property at SW 150th Street and 4th Ave SW that BAT says “is perfect for this project.” That property now serves as a parking lot directly south of the King County Metro parking garage, near Chase Bank and the Transit Center.
In 2022, a national study showed that the average arts tourists spend $31.47 dollars at each venue they attend, outside of what they spend at venues.
Lack of Venues in South King County
BAT says there is an obvious need for a new performing arts center in South King County, as evidenced by this “heat map”:
Location of Proposed Venue
BAT’s proposed venue would be located at a county-owned lot at SW 150th Street and 4th Ave SW that already has $10 million earmarked to it by the county since it would include housing.
Dickman said the proposed location is “right in the middle” of the city, “which is really good.”
“It’s also near transit – literally near transit – so the nice thing about that is if you were to ride the new F line from Seattle, your bus would drop you off right at our door,” he said. “And if you were to take light rail and you were to take the shuttle in, you’re also right at our door.”
Dickman and Larrick also emphasized that having an active arts center like this would surely reduce crime, as more people would be present.
“Which is really really good, and and all of the stuff we do will reduce crime.”
On the ground floor would be a lobby area that would include a cafe on the corner that could be used for events when the theater isn’t active.
“So you could do a like a fundraiser there or something on an off night,” Dickman said. “But more importantly, it’s a place to get out of the rain and wait for the show to open.”
The theater space would include a stage that’s a little offset, which gives it more wing space to store stuff and offer back-of-house support like bathrooms, dressing rooms, costume room, offices, storage and more.
An art gallery would be next to the cafe, along with a multipurpose room, with the plan that you could open it up between the two rooms for different needs.
“So if you had a large art show, you could spill into the multipurpose room, which could also be accessed from the lobby, so we could use that as a small performance space for activities like a reading, stand up comedy, acoustic music and more.”
“All those things can fit in that space.”
Center Would Also Include Housing
The new venue would also include low to affordable housing for around 100 or so units located above the theater space.
“We’re also looking at the idea of doing affordable condominiums, which would reduce the number of housing units but allow intergenerational wealth in that income bracket,” Dickman said. “So that’s still up in the air for developers, and how that works is really not our call, but it’s something we’re looking at.”
In Discussion with Developers
BAT said they’re currently in talks with some developers.
“And there is interest in that property,” they said. “So the question will be what’s a good fit and what works for them and how will it pencil out.”
How You Can Help
BAT is asking residents to please contact the following people and tell them you “fully support Burien Actors Theatre’s (BAT’s) plan for a 300-seat performing and visual arts center together with multiple floors of artist/affordable housing on the parking lot next to the Burien Transit Center, in Burien.“
King County Executive – Dow Constantine
King County Chinook Building
401 5th Ave. Suite 800
Seattle, WA 98104
Email: [email protected]
Main Phone: 206-263-9600
King County Council Chair Dave Upthegrove
Email: [email protected]
Chief of Staff:
Policy and Outreach Aide:
Councilmember Joe McDermott (8th District – not running for reelection)
Email: [email protected]
Chief of Staff
Senior Policy Advisor
Organizers add that this project got rave reviews, with the most often-heard comment being:
“This would be a game changer for Burien.”
Click arrows to view photos from the May 17 event, taken by Scott Schaefer:
BAT’s Next Presentation will be Wednesday, June 14
The likely date of BAT’s followup presentation will be Wednesday, June 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. at a location still to be determined.
“We want to show you the presentation and are finalizing the venue,” BAT organizers said. “We’ll also explain that King County has a piece of land in Burien that is perfect for this project. We’ll ask you to contact the County electeds to help BAT secure that property.”
If you plan on attending, please RSVP to [email protected], so they can plan based on the expected size of the crowd.