Sound Transit sets requirements, $30M+ price tag for prospective Capitol Hill Station developers

Just FYI, this is how Spain does transit plazas

Just FYI, this is how Spain does transit plazas public markets

CHStation-TOD-area-600x467-1What happens above ground at Capitol Hill Station will ultimately be just as important as the transit system serving thousands of passengers below. Another significant milestone has been reached in the process for Sound Transit to sell off its land around the Broadway station property to companies eager to meet the community’s transit oriented development needs. Here is the announcement from the Capitol Hill Champion community group assembled to represent the area’s residents, organizations, and businesses in establishing development requirements with Sound Transit and the City of Seattle for the properties:

Sound Transit has published its request for proposals (RFP) from bidding/short-listed developers for the Capitol Hill TOD sites.  The RFP includes site specific evaluation criteria, scoring for inclusion of community benefits, affordable housing tool, and an updated timeline. Links to the Sound Transit RFP documents can be found on our Resources page.

This marks another HUGE MILESTONE for the Capitol Hill community. BIG THANKS to the community for all of your hard work and support over the years!

We are still accepting responses to our 2014 Community Priorities Survey through 7/27.  Please take a few minutes to rate community priorities and answer developer’s questions to the community. The results will be included with our next correspondence to bidding developers and available on our website at the end of this month.

CHS reported here on a June meeting where the final roster of prospective developers made presentations about their work and vision for the sites.

The $1.8 billion light rail extension connecting downtown to the University of Washington under Capitol Hill is expected to open for service in early 2016. Sound Transit forecasts that by 2030, there will be 14,000 boardings a day at Capitol Hill Station. The transit oriented development around the station on Broadway could add as many as 400 apartments to the site. More than a third will be built as affordable housing. Thousands of square feet of retail and a semi-public plaza that could be home to a farmers market and more are also part of the plans.

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Of the more than 400 apartment units possible across the five sites, the City-mandated community framework adopted by Sound Transit sets groundwork for 36% to achieve the city’s affordable housing mark — 50% of the area’s median income. The total could climb close to 50% affordable if Site D is developed in conjunction with Seattle Central as student housing. To help make the projects pencil out, developers will be able to build above current height restrictions on the parcels — in some cases, the 85-foot limit will be 45 feet above current zoning. Projects will also be subject to a streamlined design review process that will be especially efficient should any developer end up working on multiple parcels under the agreement.

CHS has only just begun to review the extensive RFP documentation. It includes some fascinating elements including the current appraised price for square footage on the sites. The major Site A, for example, should weigh in around $403 per square foot. At 46,487 square feet in total, we’re talking about a price tag somewhere around $18.7 million. Back of the envelope-style — which we doubt is how this will play out, exactly — CHS puts the base value of all the sites around $34 million. We guesstimated something close to $40 million for Sound Transit here way back in September 2012, by the way. For comparison, the developer that purchased the Piecora’s property earlier this year paid $10.3 million for the land near 14th and Madison.

The documents also include elements of the community development framework pounded out over years for the sites and a spreadsheet that can be used to calculate the affordability of housing projects proposed by the participating developers.

The process is currently being planned around a late 2017 opening for the developments.

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7 thoughts on “Sound Transit sets requirements, $30M+ price tag for prospective Capitol Hill Station developers

  1. “Another significant milestone has been reached in the process for Sound Transit to sell off its land around the Broadway station property to companies eager to meet the community’s transit oriented development needs.”

    Oh dear, I have a feeling this does not bode well for those of us currently living right next door to this project. I’m totally “for” the light rail, but it is hard to live through all this never-ending change.

  2. I’m all for that land selling for $30million, ONLY if the profit Sound Transit is making goes back to the folks from whom they essentially stole the land to begin with.

    “Sound” Transit is not designed to be a for-profit organization and should not be allowed to make a profit from the land. I’m still not over the fact the City of Seattle did it when they started screwing people out of land for the failed Monorail project.

    • The City of Seattle wasn’t involved in the monorail project, the Seattle Monorail Project was an independent entity created by the voters. The profits from the sale of the land they had acquired went to pay off their debts and refund some car tab fees when the project failed.

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