75 feet up and down Broadway — Seattle ‘Preferred Alternative Zoning’ plan released

With reporting by Kelsey Hamlin

With Mayor Tim Burgess’s noon press event in a Capitol Hill park to kick off the next phase in the process, officials have released the first look at the “Preferred Alternative Zoning” proposal at the core of Mandatory Housing Affordability, citywide changes intended to help create some 6,000 units of “rent restricted homes” across Seattle by connecting affordability mandates to upzoning parts of around 6% of the city.

“Today we continue our push to address Seattle’s housing affordability crisis,” said Burgess in the city’s announcement (in full at the bottom of this post. “With this plan, we will extend our requirement that new developments contribute to Seattle’s affordable housing supply. We’ve already implemented this requirement in the University District, downtown, and elsewhere. Now it’s time to bring this requirement to other high-opportunity neighborhoods so that we can hasten our progress in building a more inclusive and equitable city.”

“The MHA is not just about affordable housing,” said Seattle City Council member Rob Johnson. “It’s about the terms of those units.”

The City Council will consider the proposal and hold public hearings before the plan is finalized. New affordable housing units created under the plan must maintain their rates for 75 years.

“It’s a very long piece of legislation,” Johnson said. “Each of these individual neighborhoods requires some TLC [Tender, Love, and Care].”

You can view the newly released map here and navigate to specific addresses. Hashed areas indicate proposed zoning changes. The proposal comes after months of public feedback after the framework for MHA was first set last fall.

Additional public feedback is expected to run over the first six months of 2018. Johnson predicted legislation for these changes wouldn’t actually happen until July or August 2018.

The proposal released Thursday morning includes transitioning Broadway from around Cal Anderson Park all the way north to beyond Roy to 75-foot height limits and “neighborhood commercial” zoning that would allow seven-story buildings with commercial use throughout. Some of the bigger changes would also come around the Miller Community Center where planners are now proposing a less aggressive upzone than one potential alternative had originally proposed. Moving toward the Central District, most proposed changes are focused on the area around Madison and 23rd with notable exceptions around 23rd and Union and 23rd and Jackson where surgical upzoning has already been approved.

Under the MHA framework, affordability requirements chained to the upzoning vary by “scale” and developers can choose to pay fees instead of including the rent-restricted units — Continue reading

23rd and Jackson’s MHA-ready Community House project set for final review phase

(Image: Environmental Works)

The first Central District development project planned to align with the city’s coming Mandatory Housing Affordability program will move to the second and final phase of the city’s design review process Wednesday night.

CHS first wrote about the Community House project at 22nd and Jackson in November 2016 but the development was expanded to add a second adjacent building the following spring and arrives now in front of the East Design Review Board with a plan for a combined 128 units of low income and affordable housing above a new Community House Mental Health Agency facility and street level retail:

Design review: 2212 S Jackson

The project from Community House, Ally Community Development, and the architects at Capitol Hill-based Environmental Works is being designed under the framework of an expected upzoning of the area to allow 75-foot buildings under the MHA program. Under MHA, the 75 units planned for the seven-story building in the project will be available to tenants making 60% or less of the area median income. The 53 units planned to rise above the new upgraded Community House facility in the six-story building will be used to house Community House clients. Continue reading

Review board says Bonney Watson development needs better connection to Cal Anderson Park

Mill Creek Residential will need to take another crack at their plan for two mixed-use apartment buildings that will eventually rise on the site of Broadway’s Bonney Watson Funeral Home.

At Wednesday night’s meeting of the East Design Review Board, board members asked the developer to come back after presenting them with a laundry list of more details they want to see before the project moves on to the next phase. Continue reading

After years of impending development doom, Redwood’s end accelerated

When you have been declared dead as many times as much-loved Capitol Hill dive bar the Redwood, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the final days include a plot twist. CHS reported to start the week on the Wednesday night design review for the project set to replace the bar and the Redwood’s plans for a November 18th goodbye blowout.

Even a funeral that has been planned for years can’t outmaneuver the cold, hard cruelty of the lease. Owner Lisa Brooke tells CHS the bar just found out it needs to be moved out by November 1st. So, the Redwood is pushing up its wake to a Halloween goodbye party. You can dress up as the sad neighbor. Or a Port Angeles hipster.

Lisa and Mat Brooke say they plan to move some of the old guts of the Redwood to the Olympic Peninsula to open up a new joint in PA.

But don’t get your hopes up for yet another reprieve after years of warnings that the Redwood’s end was coming.

“Mat jokes we’re the bar that cries wolf, but this one’s the real deal😢,” Lisa assures us.

Capitol Hill’s turn for upzoning: HALA process to begin next month

Earlier this month, Mayor Tim Burgess signed off on the Uptown neighborhood’s rezoning but that was only one part of a 30-year plan. Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA), which sits under the larger Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) program, puts Capitol Hill and Central District up next in the Seattle City Council process.

The mayor’s office will hand Capitol Hill, Madison, Ballard, and the Central District over to City Hall next month for the start of the rezoning process. This is when the Council will work out the upzoning details and timeline. The majority of zoning slated for Capitol Hill will change to Low Rise 3 and Neighborhood Commercial 3 and 2 zones (or NC3 and NC2, at 75 feet or 55 feet height maximum). They mostly permit one more story. These categories have square footage limits codified in them as well.

The City Council will likely vote on Capitol Hill zoning changes in 2018, but Jesseca Brand with the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods said we’ll see housing built under the framework before 2021. Continue reading

Redwood has goodbye date as plans for new building — and possible future bar space — take shape

The future of the Redwood

This being Capitol Hill, it’s probably not hugely surprising that the public design review process for a seven-story microhousing project should be fully in synch with the fate of the dive bar it is set to replace. In an announcement coinciding with the project’s first review in January, CHS reported the news that the Redwood would be closing November 16, 2017. We can now report that, with the second and likely final design review meeting for the project coming up this week, the Redwood will NOT be closing on November 16.

It’s a Thursday, turns out. One final blowout on November 18th makes a lot more sense. UPDATE: Uh oh. Change of plans. The Redwood’s final night is Halloween.

“We plan to close our doors Saturday November 18th (thinking the weekend would be a good last chance to say goodbye),” Lisa Brooke tells CHS, “then we move all our stuff out and will bring it to Port Angeles, where we hope to open a bar/restaurant.”

The Redwood’s heart and soul will live on — it’ll just be on the Olympic Peninsula. Someday, a little Redwood could possibly rise again on Capitol Hill, however.

600 E Howell
The 76-unit Blueprint Howell development planned for the Redwood’s lot is designed by S+H Works to emphasize a “narrow and articulated” form that would focus the mass of the project along Howell and the west of the property while locating the street-level commercial space on the southwest corner of the lot. To make the preferred layout work, developers are asking for a series of zoning departures on the building’s setbacks — back in January, the design board was cool with the exceptions.

Design Review: 600 E Howell

There will be no parking spots for cars but the building should have space for about 56 bikes.

The project’s 1,200 feet of commercial space won’t be ready for years but it could eventually be home to a reborn Redwood or another project from the Brookes. Continue reading

Developer behind Bonney Watson deal has plans for two six-story buildings to join Broadway — UPDATE

Last week, the designs were finalized on one of the most significant development projects Broadway has ever seen. Consider this part two.

Mill Creek Residential and the architects at Weber Thompson are readying plans for two six-story buildings to flank Cal Anderson Park atop the site currently home to the soon to be dearly departed Bonney Watson funeral home, extending a pulse of “transit oriented development” south from Capitol Hill Station.

The companies plan to unveil the initiative publicly Monday night at the monthly meeting of the Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council — “In order to smooth the process, the applicant will be providing light snacks and beverages” — as the second most significant new development lined up for Broadway moves toward a November 1st start of the public design review process.

Design Review: 1732 + 1812 Broadway

Here is how the developers describe the ambitious project:

The Broadway Commercial Corridor is recognized as both Seattle’s longest continuous pedestrian commercial street and most vibrant and interesting commercial street. The blocks adjacent to the project site have the highest pedestrian volumes in the neighborhood due to proximity to SCCC, the Park, and Station. Broadway is noted for activity day and night thanks to its eclectic mix of shops and services as well as its prominent gay, eclectic, and street youth cultures. Redeveloping the existing parking lot and two story commercial structure with a variety of commercial uses and housing for a diverse demographic, with likely participation in the MFTE program, will stitch together a gap in the existing urban fabric. The positioning between these neighborhood features provides an opportunity to enhance the entry corridor of East Howell Street and create an inviting pedestrian gateway experience oriented toward the Park. Critical components to creating this gateway include; a strong massing for gateway identification at the larger neighborhood context with better activating the current inactive pedestrian experience with porosity and eyes on the street at ground level for safe vibrant pedestrian-oriented streets.

Continue reading

Community market stand small part of patching big hole with 23rd and Jackson Red Apple closure

(Image: Clean Greens)

When the Central District Red Apple closed this month as Vulcan readies plans to redevelop the store’s corner of 23rd and Jackson, residents of the CD lost a community resource and one of the only big grocery markets in the area. Lottie Cross, the director of Clean Greens, a nonprofit market stand and CSA, and 55-year resident of the Central District, came to the rescue. Providing no-pesticide, herbicide-free collard greens, potatoes, tomatoes, cantaloupe, pumpkins, sweet corn, and many other vegetables, Clean Greens is filling a small part of the big hole left by Red Apple’s closure.

“They (Vulcan) came to me,” Cross tells CHS. “Last Saturday was our first day in the new location — we sold way more than usual. At least 50 people stopped by and almost bought us out.”

Formerly located at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church on Saturdays, the Clean Green market stand now pops up across the parking lot from the old Red Apple, near the Walgreens. According to Cross, Vulcan partnered with Clean Greens to provide access to healthy food “for as long as possible.” It’s up to the weather to decide how long the stand is there, but Cross expects to have a presence through December, and maybe after.

Cross tells CHS that any leftover vegetables go to Operation Sack Lunch, a nonprofit that provides free vegetarian meals throughout Seattle. Vulcan supplies a tent, and funding for one person to run the market stand, but other than that, it’s a purely volunteer organization. The purchase of seeds, the lease, and payment for their farm manager, Tommie Willis, comes from money raised through the CSA program, which runs from July to October. Continue reading

Plans for Africatown Plaza rise at 23rd and Union

Garrett, center, with Forterra’s Michelle Connor and Chris Persons of Capitol Hill Housing (Image: Africatown Plaza)

The newly formed Africatown Community Land Trust entered an agreement with Capitol Hill Housing and Lake Union Partners, the Seattle development company that bought the Midtown Center block in May. The announcement cements the project surrounding Lake Union’s $23.25 million deal to purchase the Central District shopping center land.

UPDATEWe have updated this information to correct an error regarding ownership of the site.

“We’re working to maintain fertile ground where a Black community that has been here for over 130 years can grow and thrive in place, K. Wyking Garrett, president of the land trust, said in an announcement of the agreements. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Station development designs finalized

By the end of 2019, you might be living above Capitol Hill Station. The development projects to create four new buildings and a public plaza above the bustling transit terminal passed through the final step in design review Wednesday night.

Still, not everybody is satisfied.

One man stood up during public comment to say, “I think this project should’ve been built yesterday.” He then urged the board to reduce the number of parking spaces. “This is a transit-oriented development, right? Like, y’all, come on guys.”

The four building designs finalized Wednesday night will create more than 400 affordable and market-rate apartment units and 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space — and, yes, more than 200 new parking spaces below ground for residents and shoppers. Continue reading