It’s a good thing Tuesday night’s Sound Transit forum to discuss ‘transit oriented development’ was the last in the series. It sounds like people are ready to move on and start working.
“We are about to launch a campaign,” said Cathy Hillenbrand, a member of the working group that has been meeting with Sound Transit about the development process. “You can do a little or a lot. You don’t have to give the rest of your life to Sound Transit’s TOD process.”
“Our goal is to build something really spectacular on this TOD site,” Hillenbrand said as other members of the community working group circulated the Century Ballroom handing out informational bookmarks and a sign-up sheet for volunteers. You can see the group’s study of the potential for Capitol Hill light rail development in this CHS post where they shared the reports.
The development process will shape the kinds of retail, housing and community spaces that will fill the land surrounding the Broadway light rail station when it opens for service in 2016.
Around 50 people attended Thursday night’s meeting which included a presentation from Sound Transit outlining status of the development process and questions from the audience. Sound Transit summarized the development forums and outlined their interpretation of the community feedback received at the meetings. A copy of Sound Transit’s presentation is embedded below. We’ve also included notes from the night’s session. If you attended, please chime in with any takeaways, additions or corrections.
- During the community question portion of the forum, Louise Chernin, executive director of Greater Seattle Business Association, pointed out what she called a “glaring omission” in Sound Transit’s interpretation of community feedback to date. Chernin said a consistent community request has been the inclusion of a community center in the station development — and that many want that community center to have a LGBT focus.
- How might this community center come to be if Sound Transit is required to achieve “fair market value” in its development of the property? Tony Russo of the Capitol Hill Community Council said Sound Transit may not be able to cut a community center a break but it could require the space be designed into the station if outside funds are organized. “They can’t ‘subsidize’ but they can ‘incorporate’ if we bring in resources,” Russo said.
- And this fair market value — how will that be determined? Sound Transit said an appraiser will be responsible for producing that analysis about three months before the process begins for developers to apply for the project in 2012.
- The meeting mostly avoided moments like this — there were lots of good Q&A back-and-forths — but it’s always fun to hear non-answer answers:
Q: How will developers be selected? Will it just be price?
A: “There will be evaluation criteria that will use a number of factors.”
- Deputy project manager Ron Endlich did say that there will be a public process for potential developers to come before the community and discuss their qualifications.
- Sound Transit officials were asked if it was possible the agency would sell the land around the station vs. leasing it to developers. ST’s answer was that sales were unlikely given concerns about losing control of land above the underground station — “To protect integrity of station box, we may want to have more control over buildings built above our station.”
- The portion of the station development near Seattle Central sounds like it might in a bit of limbo. About SCCC, Endlich said, “They’ve expressed interest in potentially developing that site. You know the state budget is not looking good right now. They don’t have additional resources to develop a variety of projects associated with the community college. That’s one area that we have more work to do.”
- The community TOD workgroup meets next Wednesday to make plans for a larger community meeting. In the meantime, if you would like to get involved, send a note with contact information to email@example.com.
- Here’s the long-term development schedule from Sound Transit. Mark your calendars.