With all of the delayed transit projects around Seattle, here’s some encouraging news: light rail service on Capitol Hill is still on track to start by early 2016. According to Sound Transit, the project also remains $150 million under budget with the total cost expected to come in around $1.8 billion.
The University Link line will extend from downtown to connect with Capitol Hill and University District stations. Sound Transit began boring for the Northgate Link tunnel in November, which will add three more stations north of the University Station: U District, Roosevelt, and Northgate.
Construction on the Capitol Hill Station is around 78% complete. Recent work has included erecting structural steel over the station entryways and installing elevators and escalators.
As for the housing and retail development that will surround the station, Sound Transit is still evaluating proposals submitted in December. The board is expected to announce the winning contractor(s) in early March. Sound Transit denied an earlier request by CHS to obtain copies of the proposals they are considering.
There are just four developers left in the running to build all or part of the 100,000 square feet “transit oriented development” that will include housing, commercial, and a community spaces:
- Capitol Hill Housing – Site B North
- Gerding Edlen – Master developer for all sites
- Jonathan Rose Companies/Capitol Hill Housing – Master developer for all sites
- Lowe Enterprises – Sites A, B-South, and C
As part of the agreement, the City of Seattle will allow the project to stretch to an 85-foot height limit — some 45 feet above the current maximums for the 10th Ave E neighbors of the project. The extension will help the development plan make space for goals driven by the community design framework while providing enough units for developers to profit and create affordable and low-income housing in the project.
Meanwhile, the First Hill Streetcar will be further delayed. CHS recently reported that service is likely to be delayed for several more months as the streetcar’s manufacturer, Inekon, continues to face assembly delays in the Czech Republic. The six streetcars for the First Hill line were planned to be ready by October 7th as per the $26.7 million contract with the Seattle Department of Transportation.