CHS wants to see one of the individual leaders of the Hill’s ‘transit oriented development’ process buy into the very area the process will transform. Sound Transit officials, Capitol Hill Housing reps, City of Seattle planners, 110 10th Ave E waits for you.
When CHS covers the ‘transit oriented development’ process related to Sound Transit’s construction of the Capitol Hill light rail station, we’re generally pretty positive. There is a huge opportunity to build something great. And there are plenty of signs that a community-driven process really will continue to emerge and define what gets built in the heart of Broadway and, to increase the import even further, the heart of Capitol Hill. That’s what transit oriented development should be about — TOD should be public transit focused, community minded and shaped by the people who live, work and ride in the area of development.
But there is another side to all of this. TOD is a euphemism for market driven development — except, in this case, the developer happens to be a gigantic public agency. Already the framework is in place for requiring any of the TOD to achieve ‘fair market value’ — you’d have to build condo towers to the moon to counterbalance the community and arts facilities some of the pinko commies (like me!) would rather see in the space.
All of this leads to a very real opportunity to put money where mouths are. On 10th Ave E, across the street from the expanse of blacktop currently capping the light rail station construction zone, one residential property has recently sold, one is sold but pending and another is for sale. To buy a home on 10th Ave E right now is to have deep faith in the TOD process. It is truly putting skin in the game.
110 !0th Ave E is a 3,000 sqft, 5-bedroom home built in 1908. It last sold in November 2002 for $410,000 — that would be a 50% appreciation if you offer full price. The gain would be about in line with other similar homes in the area for the period. It currently has a Walkscore of 97 – imagine what kind of score it will have once the trains start running and if TOD produces a great space.
The home directly to the south at 106 10th on the corner with Denny has an offer and is currently pending sale.
The house last sold in December 2006 for $500,000. Other homes in the 98102 ZIP code have fallen more than 10% in this period. This buyer is buying into TOD.
Meanwhile, this 10th Ave E condo sold back in January for less than it was paid for in September 2006.
For a transit official or community group leader with deeper pockets, there’s also this larger development project to consider — though the neighbors don’t seem very welcoming.
So there’s the opportunity. The lucky stakeholder who moves into the neighborhood has to put up with eight years of construction. When that works is complete, they’ll either live across the street from a development that is public transit focused, community minded and vibrant or they’ll be staring at a massive wall of expensive condos and a mall. And, yeah, they’ll probably actually look out on something in between. But knowing that one person has skin in the game and is truly part of the community directly affected by TOD would give us a whole new appreciation for the process.