SCCC has plans for 6-story student housing on Broadway, more for light rail ‘Site D’

Seattle Central mail center and former Atlas thrift store (CHS)

Seattle University isn’t the only big educational player on the Hill making plans for new development. CHS has learned of plans for Seattle Central Community College to put some of its Broadway property to work as student housing. Meanwhile, SCCC’s potential deal to be part of the “transit oriented development” around Capitol Hill Station waits in the wings.

In 2008, the Seattle Community College District acquired the building home to Atlas thrift store on Broadway and has since installed a mail center for Seattle Central there. The $2.8 million acquisition would also see the school become landlords for currently empty restaurant space that once housed Pita Pit.

“The College has also expressed an interest in a partnership with Capitol Hill Housing to develop the Atlas site for student housing,” Seattle Central vice president Michael Pham tells CHS.


SCCC has been working to find new ways to expand its student housing infrastructure. The school currently offers student housing at one Broadway building through Capitol Hill Housing. The Atlas project would represent a further tie up.

“If the discussions progress, we’d be happy to talk about the project and answer detailed questions,” said Michael Seiwerath, an executive director for Capitol Hill Housing, but declined further comment until the effort has progressed.

“The College and Capitol Hill Housing are working on the Letter of Intent.  All details regarding potential development have not been made nor worked out,” SCCC’s Pham said.

Broadway Crossing (Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill Housing already has a presence on the block. Its Broadway Crossing building provides 44 apartments above the Walgreens at Pine and Broadway. The non-profit developer’s next big Capitol Hill property will be the 12th Ave Arts apartment, office, theater and Seattle Police Department parking project.

Documentation from a recent Capitol Hill Housing board session fleshes out the plan for the Atlas property. “SCCC intends to partner with CHH for the purpose of developing on the Property student housing in five floors and commercial space to be located on the first floor (the “Project”).”

It goes on to outline the following:

SCCC envisions the commercial component comprising classroom and retail space potentially including a culinary training program open to the public as an operating restaurant, no onsite parking for the commercial component and envisions the residential component comprising five floors of housing for SCCC international students in a suite model which will include approximately 70 suites, three bedrooms per suite, housing three students per suite with one kitchen and bathroom per suite and no onsite parking for the Residential Component (the “Program”).

CHH envisions a development and ownership structure as follows: SCCC owns and operates the two parcels at 1515 and 1519 Broadway Ave East. Existing improvements on the parcels will be removed except that the façade of the former Atlas Clothing store on the 1515 site may be retained to preserve neighborhood character. SCCC will contribute the land to the Project through a long‐term ground lease. CHH will assemble financing, entitle and manage all aspects of building development to agreed specifications and in consultation with SCCC. Capitol Hill Housing will control and operate the building for the duration of the long‐term ground lease. SCCC will master lease the building from CHH and lease the units to SCCC students and manage tenant issues. CHH will manage the physical plant of the building as well as work‐orders and repairs. After an agreed number of years, the long‐term ground lease will terminate and ownership of the Project will revert back to SCCC.

The school and Capitol Hill Housing as of now have agreed to proceed with a “feasibility analysis” and upon completion will prepare a “development agreement.”

It’s not clear what a deal on student housing at the old Atlas site would mean to an ongoing process between the school and Sound Transit over a portion of the “transit oriented development” property around the coming Capitol Hill Station.

SCCC is working on a deal with Sound Transit over the use of “Site D” located immediately north of the school’s main Broadway Edison building. The college “is currently working through the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services to discuss with Sound Transit on the possible acquisition by the College of the Sound Transit Site D,” Pham said.

Currently serving as offices for Sound Transit, developing the lot could provide “an instructional building and/or student housing” for the school says Pham — a project that could also involve Capitol Hill Housing. It could also be quite the tower thanks to the height allowances in SCCC’s development plan.

SCCC has also been busy upgrading its existing resources spending $1.6 million in on campus renovations from childcare center transfer to an international student center to security updates and replacing pipes.

Though the school has seen a drop in enrollment the investment in student housing may prove profitable. During the last fiscal year the school saw a $1.7 million dollar increase coming from international students, the primary patrons of SCCC’s student housing.

5 thoughts on “SCCC has plans for 6-story student housing on Broadway, more for light rail ‘Site D’

  1. It’s clear that in recent years SCCC is enrolling more international students, in order to increase revenue because these students presumably pay much more in tuition that in-state students. That’s OK to some degree, but I have to question the prioritizing…seems to me that the main focus of a tax-supported institution should be in educating local students.

    And I don’t think it’s right to limit the proposed new housing to international students. That seems discriminatory. There must be many local students who would like to live there too, especially because of the reduced rents through CHH.

  2. Two corrections about Capitol Hill Housing. We do not currently offer student housing with SCCC. Additionally, my title is Executive Director of the Capitol Hill Housing Foundation.

    -Michael Seiwerath

  3. None of the sources that CHH currently uses to build affordable housing cater to students. And I am pretty sure tax credits don’t allow full time students. So if this is the case, this represents a big departure fromtheir current model for CHH. More like a traditional fee developer like what Seneca did for SU at Douglas and Malone did for Sccc at the Broadway building. Very interesting.