Historic South Downtown is…

The Historic South Downtown Community Preservation & Development Authority (“HSD”) is a state agency responsible for preserving, restoring, and promoting the health, safety, and cultural identity of Seattle’s Pioneer Square and Chinatown-International District neighborhoods.

HSD was created by the Washington State Legislature as the first community preservation and development authority in the state to respond to impacts from ongoing construction of major public facilities, public works, and capital projects in both neighborhoods. It is governed by a board of thirteen volunteer and elected directors that represent community stakeholders from Chinatown-International District, Pioneer Square and local legislature.

Current Projects


  • Access & Mobility

    Downtown Seattle is facing many important and long planned transportation and development projects scheduled for construction in the coming years. Projects include the deep bore tunnel, waterfront development, seawall replacement, the Streetcar expansion—not to mention the influx of private development. While these investments are essential to support economic development and job growth and to enhance Downtown’s stature as the region’s premier location to live, work, shop and play, in the short-term they present complicated challenges for convenient and reliable access to and through Downtown.

    Historic South Downtown has partnered with the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) and Seattle’s Department of Transportation (SDOT), to create a Downtown Access Strategy. This strategy will ensure that Downtown Seattle survives and prospers during the extraordinarily high level of construction activity. The Downtown Access Strategy will engage Downtown’s public and private stakeholders for input on construction issues, phasing, priorities, and mitigation for Downtown’s transportation projects. The study area for this project includes both Pioneer Square and the Chinatown-International District.

  • Unreinforced Masonry

    The Chinatown-International District and Pioneer Square neighborhoods have the largest inventory of historic masonry buildings in the city and many are likely to experience severe damage during a significant earthquake event. In recognition of the vulnerability of masonry buildings, the City of Seattle is drafting new regulations that will require retrofits to improve the seismic performance of these buildings. Historic South Downtown is partnering with the City Seattle in funding a Community Outreach Project to study the impact of new seismic regulations on old masonry buildings. Retrofits are likely to be expensive and unintended consequences could include a building owner’s decision to close the building, displacing residents and businesses. The Seattle Chinatown-International District Public Development Authority (SCIDPDA) will conduct engineering assessments of 7 – 10 buildings in the two neighborhoods to provide cost information that can be used by building owners and the City in designing the retrofit program and in creating tools to help fund needed improvements.


    Past Projects

    See past project work here.