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Downtown is the central business district of Seattle, Washington. It is fairly compact compared to other city centers on the West Coast because of its geographical situation: hemmed in on the north and east by hills, on the west by the Elliott Bay, and on the south by reclaimed land that was once tidal flats. It is bounded on the north by Denny Way, beyond which are Lower Queen Anne (sometimes known as "Uptown"), Seattle Center, and South Lake Union; on the east by Broadway Avenue, beyond which is the Central District; on the south by Dearborn Avenue, beyond which is Sodo; and on the west by Elliott Bay. Belltown, the Denny Triangle, Pioneer Square, Chinatown, the West Edge, and the western flank of First Hill are sub-neighborhoods of Downtown. Near the center of Downtown is the Metropolitan Tract, owned by the University of Washington, the location of the university's pre-1895 campus. Downtown is Seattle's main financial district, waterfront, and shopping area (surrounding Westlake Center and connected to Seattle Center by way of a monorail), which make up the bulk of Downtown. It is also home to the landmark Pike Place Market.
Downtown Seattle's Columbia Center has a greater number of floors than any other building west of the Mississippi River, at 76, though there are taller buildings in Texas and California by height. (Smith Tower, in the older section of Downtown near the waterfront, once held the title of tallest American building west of the Mississippi.) Other notable buildings are the Washington Mutual Tower, Two Union Square, Nordstrom’s flagship store, Benaroya Hall, the new Seattle Central Library designed by Rem Koolhaas, and the main building of the Seattle Art Museum (built 1991, expanded 2007), the main facade of which was designed by Robert Venturi. Downtown parks include Westlake Park, Freeway Park, and Victor Steinbrueck Park. The Olympic Sculpture Park was completed on the Belltown waterfront in January 2007.
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Downtown Seattle's population is growing, with a number of high and mid-rise condominium towers being constructed. Most of the new units are priced for the top end of the region's housing market.
In 1989, building heights in Downtown and adjoining Seattle suburbs were tightly restricted following a voter initiative. These restrictions were dramatically loosened in 2006, leading to the increase in Downtown high-rise construction. This policy change has divided commentators between those who support the increased density and those who criticize it as "Manhattanization."
Government and infrastructure
The United States Postal Service operates the Seattle Main Post Office (also known as the Midtown Post Office) at 301 Union Street at Third Avenue. Seattle City Hall is located at 600 4th Ave, adjacent from the King County Courthouse. Downtown is serviced by the Transit Tunnel, in which the Link Light Rail runs through. The terminus for both the Light Rail and the Seattle Center Monorail is located at Westlake Center. A large number of bus lines also run through, with the ones operated by Metro previously being free of charge while in the now defunct Ride Free Area.
- http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002880895_downtown21m.html seattletimes.nwsource.com
- http://seattleweekly.com/2005-05-18/news/the-manhattan-project.php seattleweekly.com
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