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The old PacMed Hospital--most recently the corporate headquarters for Amazon.com--stands all but empty on its ominous perch atop Beacon Hill.
Similarly, the Youth Services/Detention Center (juvie) on 12th Avenue in the Central District is aging, inadequate, and underused.
Could a solution that involves imprisoning King County's juvenile inmates in the same rooms in which Amazon imprisoned its employees be on its way?
Eric Scigliano at Crosscut examined the ongoing effort to find a new tenant for PacMed hospital recently. And of the six proposals currently under review by the county, the one that involves turning the old hospital into a new juvenile-detention center may be the frontrunner.
. . . a solution beckons to both their problems: to move the detention center, which is south of Seattle University, to the Beacon Hill tower, replacing view offices with cells and courtrooms.
Crosscut couldn't get anyone to confirm whether the juvie plan is being favored--the county's review process is still open and there are five other proposals for the juvenile hall.
We tried to get someone to talk on the record about the project, to no avail.
"This process was all about trying to look at all sorts of different ways we could renovate or replace the [juvenile detention] center," King County Executive Services spokesperson Cameron Satterfield tells Seattle Weekly. "We did receive six proposals from six different organizations. Right now we're in the process of reviewing those. So I can't say much about each proposal."
Scigliano does note, however, that at a recent meeting King County Facilities Director Kathy Brown said that the county had finished meeting with the proposed developers and had settled on a top pick--an "off-site proposal," which would line up with what PacMed property owner Wright Runstad & Company is proposing with the hospital-to-juvie plan.
We put a call in to Brown's office seeking clarification on her comment.
At any rate, some folks in Beacon Hill are none too pleased about the prospect of Amazon's old haunt (and we use the word "haunt" quite literally, as the building is supposedly quite haunted) becoming rooms-with-a-view for the county's young hooligans.
Judith Edwards, president of the North Beacon Hill Council, says "This is going to be greeted by the community with 'Here we go again. We're getting dumped on.' "
But whether it's young criminals or slightly older tech workers, Wright Runstad, the owner of the very large, very expensive old building, would like very soon to stop paying its $320,000-per-month lease payments for an empty landmark.