Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan on Tuesday signed off on a new public development authority, which will develop real estate for cultural purposes.
The newly chartered Cultural Space Agency Public Development Authority will be the city’s first new PDA in almost 40 years, and will partner with communities of color and cultural organizations to purchase properties and develop cultural spaces.
The city has allocated $500,000 annually for two years to cover initial operating costs, with plans to build out funds through philanthropic investments. The PDA will “acquire properties and create property ownership opportunities in communities historically denied ownership options,” according to the city’s news release.
Randy Engstrom, who is departing after eight years leading the city’s Office of Arts & Culture, said in a news release that the Cultural Space Agency builds on a wish to foster opportunities for the city’s arts and culture sector, especially in underinvested communities.
“The Cultural Space Agency is the best mechanism for applying the City’s values to the commercial real estate market, in partnership with and on behalf of vulnerable residents in our rich cultural communities,” he said.
Durkan said in the news release that the agency is “central to our work to ensure an equitable recovery from COVID-19 for our artists, nonprofits, and cultural organizations.”
The PDA does not have taxing authority, but does have the authority to issue bonds, according to the Office of Arts & Culture.