Local Development Roundup: December 2013

Time for our monthly “Local Development Roundup,” in which I collect some stories from other local sources about notable development going on in the Seattle area. The content in this month’s post comes courtesy of West Seattle Blog, Capitol Hill Seattle, Queen Anne View and the Seattle Times.

West Seattle Blog: How high is too high for ‘lowrise’ development? You’re invited to citywide meeting January 14th

What’s allowable in [“low-rise multifamily”] zoning is an area of interest/concern, literally, in neighborhoods around the city, including ours, as multifamily development intensifies, particularly in that zone, which is often adjacent to single-family areas. So if you share that interest/concern, from whatever viewpoint, you’ll want to make plans to be at a citywide meeting on January 14th, regarding possibly changing the rules

West Seattle Blog: 6917 California SW developer meets neighbors; see the future no-offstreet-parking building’s ‘identical’ twin

The developer planning to build a 30-unit, no-offstreet-parking building in Morgan Junction says it will be a duplicate of a 30-unit, no-offstreet-parking building the same architect designed for a North Seattle site.

After Mark Knoll explained that last night to about 30 people who came to hear from and talk with him about 6917 California SW (map) – the plan first reported here two months ago – we took a field trip today for a firsthand look at the “duplicate” building.

Ironically, we discovered, that building (same architect but different owner/developer) in Roosevelt is directly across the street from a big parking lot.

Capitol Hill Seattle: The Gatsby Apartments of Capitol Hill

With new apartment projects under construction across the Hill, CHS has noted the increasingly creative names used to market the projects. A new one we’ve gotten wind of seems to be more over the top than most. Come spring 2014, you’ll have the opportunity to live inside Capitol Hill’s new Gatsby Apartments

Capitol Hill Seattle: Design board goes back for thirds in effort to shape neighbor-friendlier Chutney’s building

Wednesday night, a four-story apartment project slated to replace the former Chutney’s restaurant at 15th Ave E and E Mercer will be weighed by the design review board for a third time.

According to the report on the September meeting, developers Stream Real Estate nailed down the “terminus” element well enough but left the board wanting more for the project’s northern and western walls facing the neighborhood’s more “residential” streets. Wednesday night, the East Design Board will weigh in on whether Nicholson Kovalchick’s new friendlier setback treatment for the “gateway” walls are good enough to move forward.

Queen Anne View: Seattle Children’s Home development plans revealed; public design review meeting Dec 18

The development site at 901 W McGraw St is bordered by W McGraw St, 9th Ave W, and 10th Ave W, with alley access to the site via Crockett St. These streets are key to understanding the 3 plan options, as the entrance for 60+ townhomes moves around in each plan. The plan includes on-site parking for approximately 122 vehicles and all options save the on-site cottage, converting it to a duplex.

Seattle Times: Big Lake Union site sold for $80M

A large site facing Lake Union was acquired this week for nearly $80 million by a developer who has proposed building 800 apartments there.

In preliminary plans filed with the city, Holland proposes to spend about $165 million developing 800 apartments in phases in buildings up to 65 feet high. Holland also has a land-use permit expiring in January 2016 to develop a six-story office building with nearly 150,000 square feet at 1101 Westlake Avenue North.

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1

    I just don’t get the new reality where developers are allowed to build thirty unit complexes and not have to provide any off street parking spots. Zero. When I had a duplex years ago, each unit had to have an off street parking space. And yeah, it’s good to promote and encourage people taking public transit. But this is in Morgan Junction, pretty far south in West Seattle. Great neighborhood, with a dog friendly tavern in it, but transit to downtown Seattle is not all that fast or frequent. And as more and more of these places get approved, Metro cuts bus service. McGinn made himself out to be a populist, but easing regulations for developers was one thing he accomplished.
    I can see that requiring the developer to provide one parking spot per residential unit maybe encourages too many cars, and is excessive. But the developer is reaping the benefits without contributing to the infrastructure. Are they paying for added bus service? Of course not.
    By not having these requirements, the developer is less invested in the community, and just wants to pillage it.

  2. 2
    Erik says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 1
    I think big cities such as new york city do not require parking spots. I acquired my knowledge from watching the tv show friends or Seinfleld. I just noticed that these people never drove cars. I think eventually Seattle will get that big and cars will become obsolete to those who live in Seattle. This is just a step in the process.

  3. 3

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 1 – It’s not about public transit. For the past four years in Seattle the bike has been king. That is just one example.

  4. 4
    k2000k says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 1RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 1
    I can’t speak for all developers, but I do know of one deal that went through a few years ago where an agreement was made with the city to build additional parking stalls at a separate location from the actual development. I don’t think this is most developments as this particular one was downtown and occupied a large foot print so I think it might have been the exception.

  5. 5

    RE: k2000k @ 4

    Sort of a Moot Point Anyway

    If the separate parking location means carting groceries by hand a 1/2 mile away in the rain.

  6. 6
    Nick says:

    By softwarengineer @ 5:

    RE: k2000k @ 4
    separate parking location means carting groceries by hand a 1/2 mile away in the rain.

    Having a few load/unload spots seems like a reasonable solution…

  7. 7

    By Nick @ 6:

    Having a few load/unload spots seems like a reasonable solution…

    Those are abused even in buildings with adequate parking. In a building without any parking they probably would seldom be available for their intended purpose.

    Of course, parking boots would keep them from being a problem, but those are unreasonable in the eyes of the Seattle City Council, unless of course it’s the City of Seattle who wants to use them as a means not of parking enforcement, but of bill collection. The hypocrisy of the City Council knows no limits.

  8. 8
    whatsmyname says:

    By softwarengineer @ 5:

    RE: k2000k @ 4

    Sort of a Moot Point Anyway

    If the separate parking location means carting groceries by hand a 1/2 mile away in the rain.

    There is no room for groceries in these units. Still, it would be good practice for walking to the bus in the rain, walking to Starbucks in the rain, and walking home from the bar in the rain.

  9. 9
    mike says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 1 – I’m ambivalent on these units. On one hand, the developers putting up SFH’s in far flung locales don’t have to pay for roads or busses (not to mention other types of infrastructure only used by locals) , although every resident is going to end up using them and sticking someone else with the bill.

    At least with the city parking around high density residential, it can be metered, zoned and otherwise doled out. Parking garages may end up being a decent private alternative if the # of residents with cars hits a critical mass.

    What’s more sustainable, building a $200K SFH in marysville with a 70 mile commute, parking at a transit center in Lynnwood and then a Metro ride, or forcing someone to cough up an extra $100/mo to park a car they use a few times a week?

  10. 10
    KMac says:

    By mike @ 9:

    On one hand, the developers putting up SFH’s in far flung locales don’t have to pay for roads or busses (not to mention other types of infrastructure only used by locals) , although every resident is going to end up using them and sticking someone else with the bill.

    Most municipalities which plan under the Growth Management Act, which is the vast majority, do impose mitigation and impact fees on developers.

    To claim that they don’t pay for infrastructure is false.
    And if you haven’t noticed, no mater how much one may pay, it is never enough.


  11. 11
    Erik says:

    While people buy these upscale condos and are forced to walk everywhere, SWE will drive his 70’s Firebird up to his Marysville McMansion. He will then open the door to his residence and begin rolling on the floor laughing at all of the “weak minded pundits” that overpaid for their places in the city. He will proceed to his covered old blue couch, put his old black sweatshirt on and open a coca cola, kick back and smile at his success. Only then will he realize he has made it.

  12. 12
    George says:

    RE: Erik @ 2

    Apparently, you didn’t watch all the episodes where they, um, drove their car, parked their car, had their cars vandalized or had to sell their car because the valet guy had bad BO!

  13. 13
    Peter Witting says:

    RE: Erik @ 11 – okay, now *that* is funny.

  14. 14

    RE: Erik @ 11 – Joking aside, I do wonder how much of this will be counterproductive to the goal of increasing the amount of high density housing. Most people in this day and age still want and use a car, so not offering parking will lessen the number of people willing to live in a complex.

    On the other hand, that lowered demand will result in lower prices, so this policy will help implement the goal of more affordable housing.

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