The Washington State Convention Center (WSCC), which has been in the midst of a coronavirus-induced financing crisis, has confirmed the sale of about $342 million in municipal bonds to close the financing gap and enable completion of the Addition project. Orders in excess of $3 billion were placed for the $342 million in bonds, a testimony to the belief by the bond market in the long-term strength of Seattle and the region. This private funding solution replaces the need for loans King County, the City of Seattle and State of Washington had been considering to offset the financing shortfall. The gap resulted from the pandemic-fuelled collapse of the tourism sector in 2020 and the subsequent drop in lodging-tax revenue to back a long-planned second bond issuance.
"We are so grateful to the leadership of the County, City and State for considering loans to bridge the financing gap", said Frank Finneran, chair of the WSCC Board of Directors. "Recent changes in the financing markets have made it possible for us to instead issue a second round of bonds, as we have always intended to do."
„These will shorten the time for recovery in the hospitality industry.“
Matt Griffin, managing partner with the project developer Pine Street Group, Seattle, attributes the changing financing markets to the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines and significant stimulus support from the Federal government. "Both of those factors will shorten the time for recovery in the hospitality industry, the key source of repayment for those bonds."
Without a financing bridge, the Addition project (also called Summit) would have started a shutdown this spring, more than a year prior to its scheduled completion in summer 2022. Now construction can continue, maintaining a construction worker population that is expected to grow to 1,000 people this summer, according to Griffin.wscc.com/node/3332