Seattle Central and Sound Transit are poised to move forward with a process that will determine the fate of the first of four sites the transit agency plans to sell to developers around the under-construction Capitol Hill light rail station.
Thursday, a public hearing will be held to discuss the sale of “Site D” to the school. The lot on the western side of Broadway is currently being used by Sound Transit as construction offices for the light rail project. You might remember it as a Mongolian Grill restaurant before it was acquired and demolished.
“The agency is seeking public comment on a proposal to sell two parcels consisting of approximately 10,000 square feet of surplus land at the Capitol Hill light rail station site to Seattle Central Community College,” a Sound Transit statement on the hearing reads.
“Transactions are contingent on ongoing discussions and future approvals by the Sound Transit Board and Seattle Central Community College.” With the possibility of some portions of the “transit oriented development” around Capitol Hill Station reaching 85 feet, Seattle Central’s institutional zoning could open up the Site D property for a student tower reaching even greater heights of up to 105 feet.
Seattle Central has been eying the parcel and paid Sound Transit $500,000 for exclusive negotiating rights for the property and all properties “located adjacent to and surrounding the westerly light rail tunnel entrance,” according to a recently released feasibility analysis.
Disposal of Surplus Real Property to a Public Agency
Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013
12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Ruth Fisher Boardroom
401 S. Jackson St.
Seattle, WA 98104
The 12:30 PM portion of Thursday’s hearing will be dedicated solely to Site D. It will be followed by a 1:30 PM meeting of the Sound Transit board’s capital committee to vote on declaring sites A, B, C and D “surplus property” — a necessary step to unlock the development process we described in full here.
CHS recently reported that the school is also considering a plan to work with Capitol Hill Housing to pursue development of student housing on another Broadway parcel it already owns adjacent to the Neighbours dance club.
For more on the sites, see Capitol Hill Station development: 85′ high, 400+ units, $40 million
The school is currently working with Schreiber Starling and Lane, an architectural firm, in creating a new master plan for the school which will be required to go through with the acquisition. Many projects on the school’s most recent 2009 development plan have not yet been achieved. The feasibility analysis of Site D development raises several challenges the school will have to overcome if it hopes to get building, the biggest of which are time and money.
“ST has rules regarding timely performance as a qualification for development of the SS at the CHS. Timing is a deal breaker for ST,” the surprisingly frank analysis reads. “It takes several years for a community college to solicit and accumulate donations. The SCC Power and Promise district funding campaign started in 2006 called for $25 million, which took three years to gather the money.”
Another worry according to the feasibility analysis is community opposition to a 105-foot tower along Broadway.
“If SCCC asked for additional height over 40’ on the Lot zoned NC3P-40, this process could trigger community conflict, stall the development process even on site D, and extend the time needed to accomplish rezoning,” says the analysis. According to the analysis, the 2009 roster of projects were limited by concerns “citizen involvement might include recommendations that limit SCCC campus expansion on Broadway.”
Those unable to attend the hearing or board meeting can submit feedback in writing:
Sound Transit Board
c/o Board Administrator
401 S. Jackson St.
Seattle, WA 98104