The Seattle Convention Center, with a plan to build a 225,000-square-foot Addition, purchased parcels including five streets belonging to the City of Seattle nearly a decade ago. By law, the Convention Center paid market rate for these parcels and provided a package of public benefits that was presented to the Seattle City Council for final approval.
To secure the support of the council, the Addition project team needed to prove their overall proposal provided meaningful benefits to Seattle citizens and that they had engaged in authentic community-outreach efforts.
To build a positive relationship with the community and coalesce support for the project – particularly among City Council, residential neighbors and local businesses – DH developed and executed a strategic communications and public affairs program with significant public engagement.
Listened to the Community
DH’s first major step was to develop, advertise and execute a large-scale public open house – both in-person and online– to showcase a multitude of community and project team ideas and gather feedback. Nearly 200 individuals attended the open house and more than 200 participated online, garnering more than 6,000 total comments.
DH analyzed the feedback and developed a 14-page public-facing report detailing engagement, feedback and recommendations from the open house. The report formed the basis for the project’s public benefits package and provided context for meaningful outreach to key decision-makers.
Amplified Equitable Business Opportunities
DH conducted outreach to WMBE contractors around the region who had been hired to work on the project. The team scheduled video interviews to gain perspective on what the Addition meant to them and their communities, what they learned and the growth opportunities for their business. DH crafted profiles for the Addition website and newsletter, celebrating contractor and worker backgrounds and stories.
Navigated a Crisis
To help spread the word, DH partnered with the Addition team to garner support from senior city civic and business leaders, the county executive, and labor leaders. Together, they advocated for bridge loans to keep the project moving through a virtual media event and press outreach. Although the project secured private funding, these efforts resulted in coverage across eight major print, online and broadcast outlets, helping reinforce how important this project would be to Seattle’s economic recovery.
Partner for Long-Term Communications
DH supported the Convention Center Addition’s strategic communications, public relations and marketing efforts from 2014 until its grand opening in January 2023.