Monday, opponents of aPodments on Capitol Hill are looking forward to their opportunity to bend the ears of Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin and DPD head Diane Sugimura. They’ll probably tell the city officials about the loss of buildings like this one at the corner of 13th Ave E and E Mercer in exchange for multi-story boarding house-style apartments that squeeze through zoning loopholes without the additional oversight other types of large multifamily projects endure.
We’ve documented those loopholes, mapped the projects underway around the Hill and taken you inside the small studios. We’ve introduced you to the community groups pushing back — and the developers who are pushing the trend forward. The Capitol Hill Community Council has come out in support of a moratorium until review requirements are strengthened. Conlin has said the City Council isn’t ready to take action. The conversation at Monday’s December session of the East District Council will likely include more of the same.
Despite the community groups and neighbors frustrated by the projects, planning and density advocates continue to voice support for allowing more nimble development of the boarding-house style projects. This Sightline Institute essay calls the projects “dormitories for grown-ups” –
The leading Cascadian example is the aPodment, a product of Calhoun Properties of Seattle. These units are rooming houses updated. Individual rooms are smaller than parking places — typically less than 150 square feet. Each is lightly furnished and has a microwave and a mini-fridge plus a petite bathroom. Off-street parking is minimal, and it’s rented separately, but the buildings have shared kitchens and laundry facilities. In 2011 and 2012, rent was commonly around $500 a month, including internet and all utilities. At under $17 a night, aPodments rent for roughly double what San Francisco rooming houses cost a century ago, adjusted for inflation, and aPodments have private bathrooms and partial kitchens.
The men behind Calhoun, Gary Mulhair and his son Dirk, are moving forward with another project that will replace the old home at Mercer and 13th. Along with partners, they purchased the property from the Salvation Army last February for $832,000. The demolition paperwork has started but no permits have been issued yet. If the project moves forward like the rest, by late 2013 or 2014, the site will be home to a 56-unit aPodment building.
Here’s an announcement about Monday’s meeting from the Reasonable Density Seattle group.
Monday, December 10 starting at 5:45pm.
The shelter house is located in the park north of Pine St and adjacent to the playing fields.
This is an important meeting if you are concerned about the proliferation of apodment type building projects in Seattle. Councilman Richard Conlin and Department of Planning and Development Director Diane Sugimura will be addressing the meeting and taking questions.
I believe this meeting is a first of its kind so please attend if you have concerns about these projects. Demonstrate that concern, show support and solidarity and learn more about this issue. A lot of effort has gone into creating this opportunity, the more concerned residents we can muster the more seriously City Council will take our concerns.
Tell or better, bring your friends and neighbors. Feel free to forward this email to others that may be interested.
Cal Anderson Park’s Shelter House is located at 1635 11th Avenue.
Thank you, we hope you can make it.
Reasonable Density Seattle