Downtown Olympia is south Puget Sound’s regional hub with a vital retail core, attractive waterfront and lively entertainment activities.  However, the Downtown faces the challenges of uncertainties related to sea level rise and site contamination, homelessness and street dependency and the need for a more robust residential community and development context.  While the City has adopted clear comprehensive plan policies there was a need for a strategy (not a plan) to coordinate civic activities and identify priorities for actions within the next 6 years.

MAKERS led a multi-disciplined consultant team to assist the City in preparing a strategy that established a road map to achieve the city’s vision and built a consensus for an ambitious but achievable set of actions.  Through an extensive and multi-faceted public engagement process involving over 3,500 individuals, the MAKERS/City team prepared a strategy that included:

  • An extensive “tool kit” of development incentives targeted to specific opportunities and objectives, informed by a market and development feasibility analysis .
  • A housing strategy to address housing affordability while achieving the City’s goal of 5,000 new downtown residents in the next 20 years.
  • Land use measures to address sea level rise and site contamination challenges and to enhance development opportunities
  • A homelessness and street dependency strategy calling for a regional, interagency effort.
  • Design measures to enhance Downtown’s diverse set of character areas.
  • Recommendations for transportation improvements including preliminary street designs.


City of Olympia, WA

MAKERS Services

Downtown planning, community planning, redevelopment planning and incentives, street design, design guidelines

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