[EDITOR’S NOTEThe following is a Letter to the Editor, written and submitted by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of South King Media, nor its staff.]

Please join us at the King County Metro Event on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023 from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. (drop-in) at Burien City Hall to give your input on the proposed affordable housing development project in Burien, Washington, located next to the Burien Transit Center at the corner of SW 150th Street and 4th Ave SW.

The project would include retail space on the ground floor.

What do you think would be the most productive use of this retail space?

After careful analysis, we believe that a performing arts center would deliver the most advantages for this space as opposed to conventional retail, of which Burien currently has plenty with new developments. Please consider the following:

1) Early conservative numbers indicate that the proposed 300-seat performing arts space would add at least $1.2 million dollars annually to the Burien economy. The economic boost would come from increased tourism, including increased patronization of local restaurants and shops. The $1.2 million is in addition to income generated by tickets sales, concessions, and merchandise at the venue. Also jobs will be created within the performing arts center itself.

2) The presence of a performing arts center would enhance the cultural scene of Burien and attract both residents and visitors interested in arts and entertainment. Moreover, the vibrant nightlife generated by the performing arts would contribute to reducing crime in the area and increase safety around the adjacent properties, including the currently underutilized transit parking garage.

3) Another significant benefit is that the Performing Arts Center would serve as an anchor for the recently established Burien Creative District. This district aims to foster a thriving arts and culture community. The performing arts center would be a cornerstone of this district, attracting artists, performers, and enthusiasts from near and far.

4) Unlike conventional retail businesses, the theater would have additional classroom spaces that can be used for teaching and training. This feature would provide opportunities for educational programs, workshops, and skill development in various disciplines. It would be a valuable resource in the community.

5) The proposed performing arts space also includes a coffee shop, wine bar, and visual arts gallery. These additional amenities would not only create a welcoming environment for patrons but also generate income and create an ongoing lively scene on the ground level.

6) The performing arts center would become the home of the Burien Actors Theater (BAT), in partnership with other arts organizations such as the Burien Film Festival. It would host a diverse range of events, including live music and dance performances, comedy, lectures, and other activities from local to international. This would provide a platform for local talent to showcase their skills and foster collaboration among artists.

A performing arts center in the retail space of the proposed affordable housing development in Burien would bring numerous economic, cultural, educational, and social benefits. It would stimulate the local economy, reduce crime, anchor the Burien Creative District, offer educational opportunities, and provide a vibrant hub for artistic expression. We believe this is the most productive and advantageous use of the retail space on the ground floor of the proposed affordable housing development on the King County Transit property at the corner of SW 150th Street and 4th Ave SW.

John White and Shelli Park

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