Seattle businesses offering perks to attract customers during viaduct shutdown

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SEATTLE - Despite the expected traffic nightmare during the viaduct closure, some businesses are hoping to continue to draw customers in.

Their main message: despite the construction, they remain open for business.

Call it 'Via-doom' or 'Seattle squeeze,' if you want or you can embrace it. You could also take advantage of some business discounts to keep you coming to Seattle.

“They can stay in downtown and avoid the traffic hassles as well. So we win, and hopefully the guests win as well,” said Tom Waithe, Regional Vice President for Kimpton Hotels Pacific Northwest and Mountain Regions.

The hotel chain is offering what it calls 'Save Your Sanity' package deals. According to Kimpton, they’re offering 20 percent off rooms at the Kimpton Alexis and Kimpton Palladian hotels and 25 percent off at the chains Hotel Monaco and Hotel Vintage.

“As well as when you walk in, we’re going to hand you a welcome cocktail to help you get settled, just put up with to stay with us,” said Waithe.

For businesses, the main message is that downtown remains open for business.

“Stay and play in downtown, we have a bunch of different places to get happy hour, go see a show. Don’t avoid being down here just because there might be traffic,” said Madeline Feig, transportation specialist for Commute Seattle.

Businesses are offering some help to employees too by flexing schedules.

“Or by opening up a lounge area, potentially with Wi-fi, snacks or coffee,” said Feig.

And it’s not just hotels; restaurants like Ivar’s along the waterfront are hoping you’ll still keep coming in.

“It’s not the period of maximum constraint for the waterfront, it's a period of maximum chowder,” said Bob Donegan, Ivar’s President.

And he means it. According to Donegan, if you stop by Ivar’s Acres of Clams or the Fish Bar along the waterfront during the three weeks of the closure, you get a free cup of clam chowder.

At Kidd Valley, the fries are free, he said. All the businesses along the waterfront  banded together to give you more of an incentive, he said.

“So, the Edgewater is at 30 percent off with free parking, the Marriott's at 15 percent off with half price parking. At the Great Wheel, it's buy one, get one free at the carousel,” said Donegan.

Yes, it'll be an inconvenience for some, but once all the construction is done, that'll be the payoff.

“When the park opens we will get two to three times as many people,” said Dongan.

While the incentives are nice, realistically Donegan expects about half of the number of people on the waterfront than at the same time last year.

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