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Development Watch

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Ever since it was announced, it seems as though trouble follows 8th & Howell everywhere it goes on it's path to becoming Seattle's tallest hotel. The latest bit comes in the form of an investigation by the Seattle city auditor over claims that planners were going to allow the hotel project to move forward while contributing millions less than it should have to the city's low-income housing fund. The investigation comes at the behest of City Councilmember Mike O'Brien. Planners have since said the decision was a mistake while developer R.C. Hedreen claims it's all part of a union scheme meant to help their side in an ongoing conflict between the two. [ST]