‘With strings attached’ — Hearing on development of Broadway Station property | UPDATE

They’re talking about the future of Broadway this morning at City Hall. The Seattle City Council’s Committee on the Built Environment is hearing public testimony on Council Bill 117263, legislation designed to create a process for the City of Seattle to regulate Sound Transit’s development of the property it owns adjacent to the light rail Broadway Station site between Denny and John.


The bill is some wonky stuff, outlined below in a City Hall memo, but basically boils down to an addition to Seattle’s land use laws that will specifically enable the city to negotiate with Sound Transit about the types of development that will accompany the opening of the light rail station in 2016. At the core of those negotiations will be the Urban Design Framework developed by the city in conjunction with Capitol Hill community groups to lay out specific guidelines and priorities for how the more-than-2-acre Sound Transit-owned site will be developed as it becomes operational in 2016.

“If negotiations go well, Sound Transit would sell its surplus properties at Broadway with strings attached, strings that make building shapes, densities and uses in line with the vision of the UDF,” committee chair Sally Clark told CHS about the process earlier this summer.

This isn’t the first time the city has needed a bill like this one but it doesn’t come up much. The most recent example was 2001 when the city needed to draw up agreements with the developers of the Northgate Mall.

Below is the city memo on the bill and highlights from the UDF. We’ll update this post with highlights from Wednesday morning’s public hearing. You can watch the meeting live here.

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Key elements of the vision include:

  • Sustainable and collaborative design and development
  • Design and development of a civic quality,resulting in a dynamic place people want to be,
  • A dynamic place that houses people and activities reflective of the diversity and vibrancyof Capitol Hill.

The Urban Design Framework provides a toolfor the City and the Capitol Hill Communityto work together with Sound Transit, SeattleCentral Community College and other partnersto leverage public and private actions to achievethe community’s overall vision for the immediateBroadway Station area.

  • Development Guidance for Sites A: Vibrant ground floor retail or active service should front Broadway
  • Development Guidance for Sites B: Provide affordable housing for a range of residents.
  • Development Guidance for Sites C: Orient vibrant ground floor retail or active service along Broadway.
  • Development Guidance for Site D: Provide affordable student housing and other uses affiliated with the College according to the needs of the college.

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13 thoughts on “‘With strings attached’ — Hearing on development of Broadway Station property | UPDATE

  1. Urban Design Frameworks are a fairly common way to develop a template for development. I think it’s great they are thinking about the variety of uses this development will need to house. Hopefully they’ll do a better job than most commercial developers do.

  2. that the plan calls for “Vibrant ground floor retail…”. Seattle should just pass such a general law covering the entire city then it will be wine and roses for everyone evermore.

    Seriously, it’s nice to be nice and thoughtful but some motherfuckers actually got to run this goddamned burg. After all, it almost resembles a small American city now.

  3. I think it’s good they won’t be allowing non-vibrant ground floor retail. Cuz after all, Broadway already has enough of that. No doubt that’s why they specified. “Non-vibrants need not apply”.