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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Pacific Tower Expected To Fill With Tenants; Long-Term Funding An Issue

Joe Mabel

After a slow start, the state of Washington says it’s on track to fill the former headquarters of with tenants. But long-term costs remain a concern.

Since Amazon moved out, Pacific Tower, on Seattle’s Beacon Hill, has sat empty. But by August of next year, the state expects the former hospital building to once again be full. The anchor tenant will be Seattle Central Community College’s healthcare training program. That lease is signed. Other prospective tenants include several non-profits.

Dan McConnon, deputy director of the Washington Department of Commerce, said there’s actually a waiting list for the building.

“It was much easier to fill it than we anticipated,” he said.

McConnon said rent will cover costs initially, but not in the long term. After the first 10 years of the 30-year lease, his agency will have to ask the legislature for more funding. Or, he said, “Rents would have to go up significantly.”

Speaker of the House Frank Chopp was the key champion of the state taking over Pacific Tower. He and several Democratic state lawmakers plan to consolidate their district offices into Pacific Tower.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."