Four-story near Seattle U, four-story near Broadway Hill, four-story… everywhere

She's enjoying life at 1305 E Marion

She’s enjoying life, he’s still figuring it out at 1305 E Marion

Two more of those pesky four-story apartment buildings are slated to take the final step in the design review process Wednesday night. Information on the infill projects near Seattle U and Broadway Hill Park — plus a bonus item on an “administrative design review” later this week for a project at 10th and Aloha that inspired one of the best anti-development letters we’ve ever seen — below.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.08.34 PM1305 E Marion
Land Use Application to allow a 4-story structure containing 18 residential units and storage for 14 bicycles. No parking will be provided. Existing single family residence to be removed — View Design Proposal  (7 MB)    

Review Meeting: July 8, 2015 6:30 pm — Seattle University, 824 12th Ave , Admissions & Alumni Community Building
Review Phase: REC–Recommendation  See All Reviews
Project Number: 3018035  View Permit Status  |  View Land Use Notice
Planner: Carly Guillory

This project just a block from Seattle U will trade an old apartment building and a single family home for a new apartment building with a planned 18 studio units.

“Surrounding development may be characterized as a rectangular street grid with a mixture of houses, apartment buildings and an occasional commercial structure,” the architects for Build Urban helpfully note. Prolific developer Ed Gallaudet acquired the property last summer for $1.5 million, according to county records.

The design board Wednesday night will busy itself assessing whether Build Urban has done enough to mitigate concerns about the treatment of ground level units in the project. The developer, you’ll be glad to hear, previously satisfied the board in its accommodation of the “exceptional tree” on the property.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.05.39 PM1010 E Republican
Land Use Application to allow a 4-story structure containing 36 residential units. No parking proposed. Existing structures to be demolished — View Design Proposal  (51 MB)

Review Meeting: July 8, 2015 8:00 pm — Seattle University, 824 12th Ave, Admissions & Alumni Community Building
Review Phase: REC–Recommendation  See All Reviews

Project Number: 3018148  View Permit Status  |  View Land Use Notice
Planner: Tami Garrett

This project next to the second pinkest house on Capitol Hill faced only questions about the development’s impact on the little house during the public comment portion of the early design guidance meeting last November. The board had more questions but ultimately indicated “a willingness to entertain” the key zoning departure request that would allow the project to pursue its preferred courtyard-based design.

The S+H Works-designed four-story project is being developed by John Odegard and Greg Elderkin of the Seattle Funding Group who purchased the property and the dilapidated 1910 home on it for only $425,000 in September.Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.05.19 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.06.55 PM

In November, the design review board said it will be “very important” that the project’s exteriors be constructed of “durable, high quality, attractive and maintainable materials that will age well in Seattle’s climate and be consistent/compatible with preferred materials in the neighborhood.” We hope the “metal through wall flashing” with “galvalume finish” is up to the job.

745 10th Ave E
Streamlined Design Review proposal to allow a 4-story structure containing 11 residential units. Existing Single Family Residence to be removed — Design Proposal Not Yet Available

Review Meeting: Streamlined Design Review- No Meeting
Review Phase: SDR–Streamlined Design Review
Project Number: 3019748  View Permit Status  |  View Land Use Notic
Planner: Beth Hartwick

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.04.52 PMWe don’t typically note smaller projects that qualify for DPD’s “streamlined design review” but this project planned for the southwest corner of 10th and Aloha deserves note for two reasons.

One, someday you can live in this 11-unit building and jump on the extended Broadway streetcar to get to Pike/Pine.

Two, the project replacing a 1924-built single family-style residence inspired this charmingly tragic, hand-written letter against Capitol Hill development:Foster 6-24-15

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67 thoughts on “Four-story near Seattle U, four-story near Broadway Hill, four-story… everywhere

  1. RE: the 1010 E Republican development. This building will truly tower over its neighbors, and is way out of scale to the lot and to the surroundings. And “no parking” adds insult to injury…parking is already extremely tight there. It’s naive to think that none of the 36 new residents (more if you assume some units will house more than one person) will have cars. Very RUDE to the existing residents of those blocks!

    • I have the exact opposite sentiment as Bob. I think it’s RUDE when developers build parking into their project because that just attracts more car traffic into our neighborhood. And if the building was any smaller, that would result in fewer units at higher per-unit costs, which drives up housing prices and makes our neighborhood a place only for the rich. Again, that be very RUDE.

    • Ditto.

      I know everyone wants to express opinions, so here’s some firsthand experience.

      When I listed a unit in central cap hill for rent last summer in the upper-$2K range without garage parking — EVERY SINGLE PERSON who had a car simply opted to rent somewhere elsewhere.

      In the end, the lack of parking led to self-selection of people without cars living in the apartment.

      Had I expanded my garage, there would have simply been an extra driver choosing to move into our neighborhood (rather than somewhere else with the parking they needed.)

    • It’s a fact that a significant factor in traffic congestion, especially in dense and commercial areas, is that motorists are circling blocks looking for a place to park. If apartment buildings provide at least some parking for the residents, this problem would be mitigated.

    • In an ideal world, maybe. But, realistically, some residents of no-parking buildings are going to own cars.

      Sometimes it seems that anti-parking zealots will not be satisfied until ALL Seattle residents (including granny with her walker) are car-free.

    • It’s also a fact that when you build parking you attract more cars to a neighborhood. The idea that somehow having parking will magically match to exactly the number of cars is ludicrous and unsupported by any data.

      A ten unit building without parking might bring in something like 4-5 net new cars. A ten unit building with ten parking spots will bring in 12-13 net new cars. So, while the second might bring in fewer cars that need street parking, it also brings in 2-3 times the amount of congestion produced elsewhere when the cars are in use.

    • If you want a guaranteed parking space, rent a garage. You are not entitled to park your car on the street, especially on valuable land 3 blocks from a light rail station. Parking is a privilege, not a right.

    • Parking or no parking, this bldg is ridiculous. The beautiful single-family home next to 1010 E Rep is almost 100 years old. The tiny house next door being demolished had probably 3 people living in it. Replacing it with even 12 units would’ve been a lot. But it’ll now be 36 units and probably half of those will have at least 2 people living there, so now they have 50 more neighbors breathing down their necks in a single-family home neighborhood. That’s just absurd. As for parking– at the least, if a bldg like that is built without any parking either required or even available, those residents shouldn’t be eligible for the residential parking decals.

    • Why not? What makes people in a 100-year-old house more deserving of street parking than people in a brand-new multi-unit household?

      By the way, 10th & Republican isn’t in a “single-family home neighborhood.” Its zoning allows multi-family homes like this one. Why would we have single-family homes so close to major roads and light rail? That doesn’t seem environmentally sustainable.

    • “Why would we have single-family homes so close to major roads and light rail?”

      Because the homes were there before the major roads and light rail?

      Is this now a case where it’s perfectly fine to destroy old Seattle architecture?

    • Not when the costs of such a development are considered…an out-of-scale building towering over its immediate neighbors, probably built on the cheap (and ugly), squeezed into a small lot; and less-available parking for those who live in that area.

    • Why would there be less available parking for those who live in the area? Your garage is still intact. You can still use it.

    • Simple answer, Feedback…because some of the residents in new no-parking buildings will own cars, and will park on the street. That will decrease parking availability for all.

      It’s often said here that car-owners should just bite the bullet and rent a garage, but that’s a straw argument because 1) some people can’t afford it; 2) there aren’t that many garages available in some areas, and it would be a major inconvenience for someone to park many blocks away from where they live.

    • So you’ve decided that you own a spot on the street? When was this law passed? I thought that street parking was a shared resource for ALL residents of Seattle, not just those in the immediate area.

    • I’m not sure how you inferred that. For the record, I am lucky and have a driveway, so I don’t park on the street. But I feel for those who do, who are having increasing problems finding a place within a reasonable distance of where they live.

    • It’s often said here that car-owners should just bite the bullet and rent a garage, but that’s a straw argument because 1) some people can’t afford it;

      Bob, you’re advocating a policy that, by restricting housing supply, will make housing more scarce and therefore more expensive, in order to protect long-term residents from having to share a significant subsidy– virtually free government provided land to store your car.

      Do you see the irony here? Why do you think the government should making car ownership artificially cheap while making housing artificially expensive? Why are cars so much more important than people?

  2. The developer at 1010 E Republican really got a great deal for the 3k sqft lot. A few blocks away on 13th and Mercer, a tear down house sold at 1.2 million just for the 6k sqft lot. So goodbye to the tiny house and lush gardens and hello to what is expected to be a 4+ floor box covering every bit of the lot.

    This is the problem when we’re building small developments on arterials – we have encroachment into quieter side streets. If we up zoned all arterials and kept side streets at LR3 (and didn’t waver on what LR3 really means) then we’d be better off.

    I expect this to be the latest trend until someone gets the courage to make changes.

  3. What I dislike about a lot of the new construction is that there is little or no setback from the sidewalk. Living room or other quarters are separated from the sidewalk only by the window.

    no greenery, just a lot of glass and metal.

    • Setbacks and landscaping can make a big difference in a neighborhood, especially one that previously had a lot of mature landscaping. These are not mutually exclusive to city living. The boxy Borg-“resistance is futile” box style all the way to the curb is overdone.

    • @capitol hill neighbor

      “What I dislike about a lot of the new construction is that there is little or no setback from the sidewalk. Living room or other quarters are separated from the sidewalk only by the window.”

      you obviously don’t go down denny at the intersection of bellevue then. there are several examples of decades-old (maybe 100 years?) apartment buildings that are built right to the sidewalk. and that’s just one example among many on the hill.

      i think what you really mean by your comments is that you just don’t like the style of the new buildings. and that’s fair, not everyone is going to like every style of architecture but at least be honest about what’s truly bothering you.

    • I agree. Landscaping can add alot to what is otherwise a mediocre or even ugly building, but when new developments are built to the property lines such greenery is not possible. Even when there is some nice landscaping to begin with, I have noticed that most of the time it is not cared for at all, and goes brown/dead in short order…..especially at apodments.

  4. The failure to account for the benefit of any species other than human is deeply troubling. In the overall arc of history, making it easier to have more people cram onto the planet is not improving anything. With the current building trend there is no space for significant tree canopy, let alone any room for shrubs or plants that would provide sustenance for birds and insects. What few trees remain struggle to get water when all around them are non-permeable surfaces.

    Admittedly, I have a misanthropic streak, and my idea of “vibrant nightlife” includes nighthawks, bats, and moths, so the loss of starlight and birdsong may be more keenly felt, but I wish for consideration of what we have here in the Northwest as a whole. Make it possible for all species to thrive, consider the effects of noise, light, your very presence.

    “Feedback”, up above, said that parking is a privilege, not a right. One could say the same about living here at all.

    • Good sentiment, but dense urban living is far more sustainable for the overall natural environment than forcing growth ever outward, where forests are literally chopped down and paved over.

    • “Good sentiment”? Asking that we figure out how to share this fine city with other creatures and ensuring diversity of life seems more sensible than sentimental. I have watched for decades, here, as we have drained wetlands, fragmented the shoreline, built box stores on field and forest. I live in the Central District and am abundantly familiar with the argument for density. I am asking that we bring consideration of more lives than our human ones into the discussion.

    • I agree, Anne. I love seeing urban wildlife and it breaks my heart to see trees and foliage destroyed displacing all the critters that call it home.

      I’m thankful to be a property manager and have done what I can to accommodate urban wildlife on my property. We need as much vegetation as possible for a multitude of reasons.

    • This literally couldn’t be more wrong. Dense living is far less resource-intensive than the alternatives, and that is exactly what the rest of the planet needs us to be.

  5. I would love it if we could just have tall ass apartment/condo buildings on main arterials. The 6-storey restriction is becoming more and more absurd with all of these hideous 4-storey cubes sprouting up between houses.

    what if the Lyric building was 100 stories? What’s the downside?

    • shadows. seriously. a 100 story tower on broadway would by 1000 feet tall at least and cast shadows in the morning that would probably extend across i5 and in the evening that would extend to 15th.

      the current 6/7 story limites are absurdly low. I’m not sure what they should be, but 10 to 12 would be a good start.

    • The beauty of taller buildings is they are usually more slender so while a shadow may be cast further, we spend less time in it’s shadow because it’s more narrow. I visit Vancouver frequently and don’t recall feeling like I’m kept in a constant cast of darkness.

    • Using your example, a 100 story Lyric would block out much of the sunlight needed for the 1010 E Thomas P-patch, and it would probably be sold….making way for yet another ugly box.

      And I’m not at all sure the 6-story restriction is directly responsible for the 4-story buildings going up in more residential streets…..the latter would be built regardless.

  6. We need to preserve the character of our neighborhoods.
    I’ve hosted over 300 people from all over the world and listen to what they say is awesome about Seattle.

    When people fly into our city for the first time, they wonder in the green-ness of our city. Then they commute here and see we have a lot of great neighborhoods that are very walkable. They tell me how much they wish their city was walkable or pretty.
    They also are curious why these new uninspired apartment buildings are allowed to destroy the ambience of turn-of-the-century neighborhoods.
    If every part of our city is treated the same we will have nothing unique, no individuality. All 7 hills will look alike. Boring.

    • The character before Amazon? Or Microsoft? Or Boeing? Or before WWII? Or before the gold rush?

      Cities change, change will happen, it’s happening.

      Take those 300 hundred people and they won’t be able to tell Seattle from another city in the US.

  7. I’m not completely opposed to higher density buildings, but when it happens piecemeal, 4000 sqr ft lot by 4000 sqr ft lot, there can be unintended consequences, both material and psychic (ie, existing residents feeling like they are living in a perpetual construction zone, or being pushed out). Parking (or lack of) is one of the material ones.

    Another dilapidated house around the corner on 10th between Republican and Roy just went on the market as a tear-down with the listing boasting the development potential. (add that to 11th and aloha’s 40+ units, 10th and aloha’s 12 units, harvard just south of aloha’s 40+, and then 11th and republican) that’s alot of units (over a 100) without a single new parking space.

    I’m not saying that every new unit should have to have a parking space constructed for it, but if you added only 50 cars with the 100-plus new units in these few square blocks, parking will be a problem — it already is a problem– new parking permits or not.

    If RPZ permits were not an entitlement for this new construction higher density construction, it might dissuade car owners from renting in them, or convince these new renters to ditch their cars because they live in the heart of an “urban village” and have fantastic access to the best public transit seattle has to offer (which is not necessarily the best public transit seattle could offer).

    One more thing on RPZ permits: it seems that the city just doles them out for $65 a pop (or whatever the cost is) without any actual cap, which there should be: count the number of street parking spots in each RPZ and the number of permits should be based on that (not saying 1:1, but parking/planning experts can probably figure out the right ratio of permits to spots).

    • I miss-stated the number of units in the 10th and aloha proposal, it is 11. And it is worth noting that this proposed building will be similar in density to about a half dozen apartment buildings on this block of 10th already.

    • the unfortunate reality is that parking is a limited resource and the days of giving it away for free are ending. I know that when the SF homes were built everyone expected to park on the street but not that just isn’t the case. The new model will be renting a permeant garage space for one’s automobile, which will push more people into transit, taxi, uber/lyft, bikes, and walking for local trips.

      I realize this isn’t what the neighborhood wants, because it wasn’t what they bought into a decade ago but if people can afford a mortgage on a $600K-2M home then $100/m for parking shouldn’t be a huge burden, after all it gets baked into rents when the city requires parking in new construction and few people object.

    • AK: I concur: free (or cheap RPZ permitted) parking in the public right-of-way is basically insane in this day-and-age (if it ever was sane to begin with). The people most effected by changes in street parking regulations are not the people living in $1million+ homes in this neighborhood. The vast majority of single family homes actually have parking. It is the small apartment buildings, or homes where multiple people are living with multiple cars.

      As a city we should do everything possible to dissuade people from private car ownership. The problem is if people think they can own a car and park it on the street for free (or the cheap RPZ permit price) they will make the irrational decision to own a car and park it on the street. If that RPZ decal cost $650 instead of $65, I bet alot of people would start to consider ditching their car.

  8. I know I’m likely to be in the minority here, but I love the 1010 E Republican building. It is what we need, and it looks to be finished in higher quality materials than the usual. Plus, smaller apartment buildings allow a diversity of building forms, social classes, and building age in neighborhoods which promotes long term health. A bunch of wealthy single family homes is boring and restrictive, but 500 unit superblocks of mid-income apartments are ungainly and boring.

  9. I love the trope about every single family home being filled with wealthy people. The homes that are being destroyed by the current development boom are, by and large, not mansions, and not occupied by the wealthy. The house at 1010 E Republican is small, and I’m guessing used to be considered relatively affordable as far as single family construction goes.

    I get the density value proposition – but the party line that every house that gets knocked down is a victory for affordable housing is ridiculous.

    • Agreed. Also, this nonsense of “if you can afford a mortgage on a $600k+ home….” is flawed logic from the start. Many people living in these older homes do NOT have $600k mortgages because they’ve been living in them for years. And many of them would tell you “I could never afford to buy my house now”. That doesn’t mean they’re stinkin rich or sitting on a shitpile of cash. You talk about affordability, but this kind of total disregard for existing residents leads to affordability problems for them too when they get forced from the neighborhood they’ve lived in for years. I agree, in some neighborhoods (this being one of them) parking shouldn’t be forced upon the developer. But YES, I do think existing residents should be grandfathered into the RPZ decals eligibility until a property changes hands. As for smaller bldgs allowing for a diversity of “social classes”– yeah, good luck with that. All these apts are going to be stupid-expensive anyway. None of this will result in the pie-in-the-sky ideal of “affordable housing”. They’ll all be occupied by well-paid people who can afford cars and just jam up the neighborhood parking on the street anyway.

    • i don’t know, i think the idea of, because you are used to having something a certain way, that you should be granted special privileges to keep that lifestyle, is flawed logic.

      i agree with you that not everyone in a home is a millionaire. but those people who own houses don’t have a driveway? and if they don’t, did they honestly think that they’d have nearby street parking forever? i think @ak said it best above:

      “I realize this isn’t what the neighborhood wants, because it wasn’t what they bought into a decade ago…”

      so maybe it’s time to face a new reality. one in which, yes, homeowners have to find a way to store their car off the street; at an additional monthly cost (just another cost of monthly automobile ownership like: gas, oil, maintenance, etc) OR they give up their car altogether and think of alternate methods to get around town (uber/lyft, taxi, bus, bike, walk, etc).

      the world we live in is changing. and i get it, not everyone is happy with those changes because we are, as a species, creatures of habit. but we will have to learn to adapt. because i think the days of everyone owning a car being able to get a spot “right out front” of their home, their job, the business they want to go to is over.

      and i say this as someone who owns a car.

    • “i don’t know, i think the idea of, because you are used to having something a certain way, that you should be granted special privileges to keep that lifestyle, is flawed logic.”

      Er, this is the exact logic used by every person protesting increasing rents in Capitol Hill. By your own logic, if you were paying low rent, you shouldn’t be granted a special privilege to keep paying that low rent and should adapt.

    • In the central district when people of color who are long-time residents are displaced by these very same economic conditions, we hear a tremendous whine about “gentrification” and how terrible it is. How is this different? Seems like the same concept to me.

    • Jim, the very fact that the homeowners of which you speak own homes currently valued in the $600,000 range but paid significantly less when they bought them before the real estate boom means they are sitting on a pile of cash. Granted they will have to sell their home to fully access that pile of cash, but this is a very different situation from someone who does not own a home and therefore simply gets priced out of Seattle with nothing to show for it. I see your point that people who own $600,000 homes may not have originally bought them for such a large sum. For this they should feel lucky.

    • Genevieve, I agree too. Destroying older single-family homes and apartments is only a victory for the developer’s bank account. Most of the new buildings are market rate, so it is difficult to understand how this trend makes for more affordable housing. If anything, it makes housing more expensive.

    • Not true, Bob. It’s also a victory for wealthy new residents who can find housing stock available. It’s also a victory for middle-income people who are not competing as much for middle-grade housing stock with wealthy new residents.

      The only people who get screwed are the poor, but as a long-time Seattle resident, you’re probably already aware that Seattle doesn’t really care about the poor anyway.

    • It’s difficult to understand that increasing the housing stock helps lower the price of housing ONLY IF you’re completely illiterate in microeconomics. Saying more new housing would make the price of housing more expensive only makes sense if you’re admitting that the new housing improves the neighborhood’s attractiveness overall which is the opposite of your argument. Granted, supply and demand is tricky in a city like Seattle where demand is sky high and supply is limited. However, burying your head in the sand by blocking the majority of new development will exacerbate the problem and drive up housing costs. Housing prices continue to skyrocket mainly because we continue to be woefully short in supply at the same time as the local economy booms adding tens of thousands of new jobs that attract new residents to price out renters.

    • Doug, economic theory is fine, but I’m not sure it applies in Seattle at the moment. We have added many, many new apartment units in recent years (with thousands more to come), yet the median rental price for an apartment has gone up and up. We can’t build our way out of more expensive housing costs any more than we can build our way out of traffic congestion by putting in more roads. And by the way, I do not favor “blocking the majority of new development”….I just want it to be done sensibly and in tandem with new infrastructure such as a more extensive light rail network.

    • Doug, there’s no reason to dismiss economic theory in this case, you’re just looking at things very, very wrong if you’re expecting to see nominal decreases in median rents.

      No one expects the nominal median rental price to actually go down during a time of increasing demand. That can only happen if supply outpaces demand, which is very unlikely because then the market simply stop producing new units.

      What we do expect to see is that median prices drop compared to the alternative of having fewer units. Here’s an example:

      Bob sells 10 widgets a day, each to the highest bidder. Normally, there are three people willing to pay $4, four people willing to pay $5, and three people willing to pay $6. The median price is $5. If five more people show up willing to pay $7 each, but Bob still has only 10 to sell, the median price has increased to $6.30. However, if Bob increases the supply to 12, the median only increases to $6.08.

      This is how our current rental market is working. Supply is increasing, but not nearly as fast as demand. This means that median prices are also increasing, but not nearly as fast as if we didn’t have new supply coming online (and we really haven’t had that much new supply hit the market anyway – a decent amount finally starts to hit this year. Construction timelines are extremely long).

  10. Someone correct me if I’m mistaken, but it looks like that 1010 Republican building is going to be another set of apodments. It looks like the square footage is in the range of 150-200 sq. ft. for those rentals. We *do* need more housing on Capitol Hill (it’s the only way prices will come down), but not like this. Two-hundred square foot apartments going for $1300/month is not the answer, it’s another symptom of the problem.

    • It looks to me like it’s a regular ol’ studio apartment building (no shared kitchens or any of the other aspects of an apodment). I couldn’t find where the drawings were scaled, but it looks to me that they are in the 250-300 sq ft range.

      Yes, those are small, but so what? I like having the option to live small and save some rent by not paying for things that I never use. Yes, $1,300 for 300 sq ft is a lot of money, but rent isn’t going to go down on anything until we start building more units than the number of people moving to our city.

      Would you rather that the developer make the units a bit larger and charge even more more money? In yesterday’s Curbed Seattle, it showed that you can get a 397 sq ft studio at Vox for only $1,700!! http://seattle.curbed.com/archives/2015/07/what-1700month-can-rent-you-in-seattle-right-now.php

      In this reality, the units at 1010 Republican are looking pretty good.

  11. I think that the huge new apartment building on Harvard and Mercer is gruesome. And I’m gonna have to look at it every day. Does anyone know if it violates the height restrictions and if so, then how come?

  12. The poor granny won’t have a parking space is deeply bogus. Many older people are no longer able to drive, and don’t need a parking space. Others would like to stop driving if they can find an apartment in a walkable, transit-friendly neighborhood. And those that want to keep driving can rent a unit with a parking space.