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Eight-story apartment building set to rise across from Broadway Hill Park

Capitol Hill has seen eight-story apartment buildings spring up before but a planned development kitty corner to Broadway Hill Park will need a little extra push to rise on the edges of the dense Broadway corridor where the blocks remain a mix of larger old apartment buildings, duplexes, and single family homes.

Thursday, developers from Sealevel Properties will hold a community outreach meeting at the Century Ballroom to talk with neighbors about their plans for the eight-story apartment building with 150 or so units, and three parking spots planned to rise at the corner of Federal and Republican:

Community Meeting: 1007, 1013 & 1017 E Republican St

Grouparchictect will be handling the design on the project. Sealevel is also the developer behind the Union Street Apartments, a seven-story, mixed-use apartment building designed to “echo” Pike/Pine’s auto row era under construction across from Optimism Brewing.

Thursday’s meeting is not the start of formal design review for the project. That remains unscheduled but the project outreach is part of the city’s new procedures hoped to give neighbors and the community an opportunity to shape projects earlier in the development process. The new outreach meetings come at a time when overall development across the Hill has slowed down. Attendance at the sessions, which are organized by the developer, not the city, has typically been on the light side of things. Thursday’s session was promoted by utility pole flyers in the area of the planned development.

Sealevel’s plans call for the new “workforce” housing project to be 155 units in a mix of microhousing and full apartments. The corner falls within an area upzoned from seven to eight story heights as part of Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability laws. Affordable housing requirements apply to developments in this zone meaning Sealevel will either have to set aside a percentage of the units as affordable housing, or pay into a fund that the city will use to build some.

Adding to the appeal of the area — and, likely, the challenges for the developer — the planned building will rise across the intersection from Broadway Hill Park. The rare new city park on Capitol Hill opened at the corner in 2016. Seattle Parks acquired the land at the northeast corner for Federal and Republican in 2010 for $2 million after a townhome project slated for the property fell through.

The northeast corner properties and the old houses on them are in the process of being purchased by the developer. They include two 1904-built single-story houses, and a 1908 house currently used as a duplex.

Meanwhile, the planned eight-story addition to the neighborhood won’t be the only large mixed-use building near the park. The three-story Wakefield Manor has stood on the southeast corner of Federal and Republican since 1958. The neighbors in its 18 units can look forward to an even denser neighborhood when the new development is completed, likely in 2021 at the earliest.

UPDATE: A representative for the developer tells CHS the plan is for more “voluntary outreach outside of the required outreach” in December and January. “Per city code, there’s no planned onsite parking,” the spokesperson adds. “We plan to exceed the code on bicycle ‘parking’ requirements.”


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57 thoughts on “Eight-story apartment building set to rise across from Broadway Hill Park

  1. 8 stories sucks for that area. I’m disappointed, but don’t see what an be done. I’ll go to the meeting, but just like the article said the developer is having it not to take honest criticism but to fulfill obligation.

    Damn.

    • That area is 2 blocks away from a train station. It makes total sense to build at least 4 stories.

      I haven’t seen any rendering, so I can’t be disappointed yet.

    • Yes, 8 stories will be WAY out of proportion to the surrounding buildings (lower level condos and single family homes). Developers, with the complicity of the City, do not seem to care that this destroys the character of the neighborhood. It’s all about making money, and aesthetics be damned.

      And only three parking spots, for 150 units? Again, they don’t care that they are making an already-difficult parking availability even worse.

      • nope, they don’t care that they’re making parking worse, nor should they. This isn’t Tukwila.

        It’s completely *in* character with its location near a major transit hub and within walking distance of the best job center in the region.

  2. The key phrases here are: “150 units/3 parking spaces”, “micro apartments”, and “workforce”… Meaning it’s an overpriced flophouse for Amazon workers.

    Great.

      • No parking makes perfect sense. If I lived there, I’d store my car in a much cheaper, less dense location, probably further down the light rail line. The car is just for getting to the trailhead/ski slopes/etc on the weekend, anyway.

      • @Kelly: there are maybe 2-3 square miles in the entire State of Washington where one can comfortably and conveniently live without a car. This is at the heart of that area. The entire rest of the city and region and state have their infrastructure oriented with the needs of drivers first and foremost. People wanting to live a driving-oriented lifestyle can choose from *any* of those areas, but those who want to live a more pedestrian-centered life have very few choices. Yet, you insist that we turn back the clock to retool that tiny little area to be car-centric as well.

  3. Density has come to Capitol Hill, that is not the question here. Putting eight stories in the middle of residential neighborhoods is. Development needs to take into account both the need for more affordable housing, as well as maintaining the integrity of neighborhoods. There needs to be a balance between unbridled real estate investment and the well being of communities. Urban development in cities like Portland makes more sense. Mid-rise construction is in formerly industrial zones, or along arterials, valuing the character of each neighborhood, while still allowing for housing density. Appropriate and balanced development is something we need to make work for ALL stake holders, including neighbors.

    • “Mid-rise construction is in formerly industrial zones, or along arterials”

      What I hear you saying is please keep people where there is a lot of pollution and noise and let me keep the quiet part of the neighborhood.

      • I’m guessing you’re under 25 and in excellent shape Ryan?

        Have you ever thought about those who are disabled and can’t walk — or ride bikes — to get around and need to depend on cars and other forms of transportation?

      • Nope, not what I am saying. There is balanced development that takes into account the need for urban density as well as maintaining the quality of life in residential communities. Arterials are not just highways, they lead in and out of all neighborhoods. Designing cities that take all that into account should be the goal.

    • So Jeff, in your view, a neighborhood developed when seattle had a fifth of its current inhabitants should remain preserved as a fossil, despite the fact that it’s right near one of the biggest transit hubs and within walking distance of the biggest and densest job hub within 700 miles?

      Urban development makes sense in portland but not seattle? Why?

      it’s gotta get denser, fast. If it doesn’t, you’re subjecting people to either unaffordable housing, punishingly long commutes, or both.

      • Density doesn’t fix any thing when all of the housing being built is market rate. In fact, new construction frequently replaces older/lower density/lower priced units thus displacing lower income people who won’t be able to afford to live in the new building. Unless Seattle actually commits to the construction of housing that is specifically for lower incomes, the housing/homeless problem is just going to get worse.

    • You say “integrity of neighborhoods” I hear “keeping others away”.

      Mid-rise is the very minimum anywhere near a frequent buses or light rail. Broadway is an arterial, 12th is another one. I’d say that these new 155 units bring balance to an area that is not contributing enough to house more people and reduce driving.

      Bellevue Ave has a nice mix of singe-family homes, apartments, townhomes and a few 8-story buildings. Older smaller houses get replaced with denser units. Expect the rest of the neighborhood to become like this.

      • Agreed, but E republican is not an arterial, it is a neighborhood street. Neighborhoods should be developed, of course. We are seeing a lot of 4/5 story buildings, appropriate to neighborhood streets. That is reasonable. 8 stories is out of proportion.
        I don’t think there are any 8 story buildings on bellevue (6 and 7 , yes). even Jule, Lyric and the new light rail complex are 7 stories.

  4. The big fault in current planning trends is believing the idea that you can build 150 units with only 3 parking spaces and somehow “incentivize” the occupants to not own cars. Scarce parking and proximity to light rail are excellent incentives, but the City/Planning Department NEVER backtest their assumptions. It would be very telling to look at this property a year after it is built and occupied to see how many residents actually own car…I am gonna guess more than 3.

    • You can get a head’s start on that and find out what the current parking utilization is at the large buildings in Capitol Hill, like the Lyric and the Joule.

    • @Eric (and all others complaining about the lack of parking at this and every other Capitol Hill property): do you have off-street parking at home, or do you park on the street? I’m guessing the street, or you wouldn’t be that worried about others taking up street parking as well. So, if having convenient guaranteed parking is such an important amenity to you in your housing choices, why didn’t you choose to pay extra to live in a property with off-street parking? And if you didn’t, then why do you think you have the right to demand that the government require others to only build buildings with off-street parking? Since public right-of-ways are maintained through public dollars, you’re essentially asking the government to require others to pay twice for what you pay for once.

      • Your “guess” would be wrong. I park in my driveway at my little home. But I am concerned for all those people who have no choice but to park on the street, and for whom finding a spot at the end of a long working day is becoming impossible because of the greediness of developers (they make more money if they don’t have to provide parking), with the cooperation of the City.

    • It’s super simple, buy or rent a parking spot in a garage. The city doesn’t owe you a parking spot and you should not expect that you will be able to leave your car on the street.

      Those 155 people have the same rights as you to attempt to park their cars on the street.

      • Why should they – IMHO everyone should only have the right to the parking spaces that their building has frontage on….

        Personally I think all residential areas should have zoned parking and the parking permits shouldn’t be nearly as liberally distributed as they are. They should be allocated per property and only as many as the building has space for on the streets it borders. That would assure that the neighborhood never collected more cars than there are spaces for…. You have one space in front of your house like I do, you get one permit. Want another car? You need to find alternative arrangement to park it.

        Want to have a slightly cheaper apartment because the building hasn’t included any parking – fine, but don’t expect to get that *and* have a car readily available too.

        And don’t whine that it’s not fair and that everyone should have a right to the spot in front of a house, because the homeowner doesn’t ‘pay’ for it…. yes we do…. We may not own that space, but we still pay an extra tax on it – in the form of maintenance. Owners are required to care for the sidewalk and parking strip in front of their buildings. If the sidewalk cracks we are required to fix it – at our own expense. If it snows we have to shovel it, when the grass grows we have to cut it, we have to trim the trees and cut the bushes back, etc, etc. So yeah, I think we should have the right to the parking space…

      • @cd neighbor: speaking plainly, it sounds to me like you’re the one whining. Something like “because I take care of all these other things that are not part of the street, I should have exclusive use of some part of public property too”

        Want to be sure you have a place to park your car? You own your property. If you want to devote some of it to store your car, more power to you – but the street doesn’t belong to you. Sorry.

      • You clearly fail to understand much a all…. Do you get it that I (nor any other homeowners) *do not own* the property that the sidewalk and parking strip are on? So using your logic I should have zero responsibility for them – after all they are public areas, right….. owned by the city and accessible to all, therefore the responsibility of the city to care for and repair. Right? I don’t complain about it… I’m fine with doing the work, but it does gall me when people who don’t, whine that I’m getting something without paying anything… actually yes, yes I am. It’s a hidden tax on me that you are benefitting from. The next time it snows and you walk across my shoveled and de-iced sidewalk, you can reflect on that.

        Also, parking is already recognized as definitely NOT being a fully public free for all. That neighborhoods have zoned parking areas for people who live in them clearly establishes this. These rules were put into place when parking from non-residents began to push out the residents. I see little reason that the limitations could not be altered a bit, if the need again arises.

        BTW – it’s rather hypocritical of you to push for more density, berate me for saying that apartment dwellers shouldn’t rent in a building with no parking if they want a car, then tell me to get a bigger lot…. just listen to yourself.

      • @cd neighbor: oh I understand perfectly, and no, that’s not my logic. I also own property and maintain the sidewalk in front – was out there raking leaves last week – but where I live there’s no free parking, residential or not. I’m not entitled to it.

        But the law states that property owners have to maintain the sidewalk abutting their property, so I do (happily, actually).

        Use of the street is completely unrelated, and my maintenance of the sidewalk doesn’t entitle me to anything. That’s also the law.

        You can invent your own fictional entitlements to justify whatever you want, but they’ll remain fictional until they’re, you know, law.

        Never said use of the street was a free for all. There’s a big difference between “neighborhood use” and “exclusive use for one person” as you’re asserting.

        When did I tell you to get a bigger lot? Cars take up about 100 sq feet.

      • @CD Neighbor, if you want benefits per frontage I hope you are willing to pay taxes per frontage.

        Renting a parking spot from the city should cost somewhere between $100 and $200 based on availability (some streets cannot afford that much parking density).

        We will have to assign parking permits to those people who cannot walk or bike first. The remaining permits should be assigned through a lottery for people with big houses, including renters.

      • No, Sorry – you are still the one who is wrong. I never said each particular spot should be necessarily be exclusive to one person, nor that I think there has to be assigned parking spots – You should learn to read things more closely instead of jumping to conclusions.

        I’ve *only* said the number of parking permits *for a building* should be assigned by frontage, so that the neighborhood remains in balance. Right now every household can get an absurd number of permits – up to 4 per person as I read it, no matter how much space exists in front of your property. So in your 150 apartment building that maybe has space for 10 cars, has the potential to generate hundreds of vehicles… While it is unlikely every person in that building will register 4 cars, the likelihood that more than the number available spaces will is very high. Why should that building have *more* right to the street than everyone else? You want people to give up driving – then put your money where you mouth is and when a building is constructed without parking to encourage this, then let it be without parking for the people who *choose* to move into it.

        @Matt – you don’t think I pay taxes based on my lot size… and that I don’t already pay the city for a parking permit…. interesting…

      • “Don’t jump to conclusions,” says the person who jumped to all sorts of conclusions about what I wrote.

        You’re saying that because you (and whomever lives on your house) uses space less efficiently — fewer people per lot square foot — you should be entitled to a proportionately greater part of public space than people who use space more efficiently. Did I get it right?

      • You also did say “ Why should they – IMHO everyone should only have the right to the parking spaces that their building has frontage on….”

        Then you said
        “ I never said each particular spot should be necessarily be exclusive to one person, nor that I think there has to be assigned parking spots – You should learn to read things more closely instead of jumping to conclusions.”

        Sheesh, you’re not even reading the things you wrote carefully.

      • @Sorry – No, you are completely distorting what I said by selectively quoting. I went on to clarify in the very next sentence that I think parking permits should be allocated per building by the amount of frontage the building has. That does not = reserved parking spaces, no matter how you try to make it so.

        Existing homes were planned with the amount of parking they required vs the neighborhood density for the period in which they were built. There is no reason to not require new construction to now reflect the current reality. If you want cheaper buildings the rest of the neighborhood should not be forced to live with the consequences.

      • Oh – and btw – the density of persons in any residence doesn’t have any impact on the amount of street parking available – that is a fairly fixed quantity. In fact if my residence is less dense, no matter what you think about that contributing to any other issues, my household contributes far LESS to congested streets than does a very dense building. They should have to contribute more to the solution – either by providing underground parking or if they choose not to, by not being granted excessive parking permits.

      • “Existing homes were planned with the amount of parking they required”

        BS. They didn’t build the parking they needed and expected the city to allow them to put it on the street.

        If your house doesn’t have a garage, it was designed for no cars (just like the new building coming up)

        I am all for houses to pay a new tax per frontage that it is used to clean and shovel the sidewalks. That sounds fair and it should be an obligation of the city.

        Providing you with free parking, that’s not an obligation nor a right. If someone sold you a house telling you it came with street parking, they lied to you. I understand you being upset about it.

      • @cd neighbor:
        if you view it as per residence — I.e., per person or family unit, not per city lot — then you contribute to ‘congestion’ equally.

        why is street frontage at all relevant? It’s people that matter, not land.

      • @Matt – yes indeed. My house was built in 1911, when very, very few cars even existed in Seattle, so it was built with exactly as much parking as was expected would be needed…..

        There is one available space in front of my residence and that is all I take up. I don’t contribute to congestion in my neighborhood by taking up more of a finite resource than is possible…

        There is ZERO reason that a building built today should expect to be provided any more parking than it contributes. If a new building with 150 apartments is built is should be built with underground parking for each of those units or expect to not receive any more parking permits than it has street frontage. And btw… you cannot have underground housing so underground parking doesn’t do anything to take away any housing spots at all….

        Put your money where your mouth is. If you truly wish to limit people with cars in the city then limit it – no parking, no permits. I’m willing to accept just a single permit for my residence, even though right now I could actually get 4. Why should 150 people get permits for up to 600 spaces that don’t exist and cannot exist.

      • The city is not here to provide you with car storage (free or not). It doesn’t matter if you buy or own, what year the house was built, how many people live, how much you pay in taxes.

        I’m absolutely happy not letting anyone park their car on the street. If you are not disabled or assisting a disabled person, I don’t see any reason for a private vehicle to be occupying public space. Likewise we don’t let people store other personal belongings on the street. You are not allowed to leave a car in a park, a bus stop or a sidewalk. The rest of the street should not be different.

  5. I lived at the Wakefield Manor back in the late 1990s and it was one of my favorite apartments I lived in on Capitol Hill ($600/month for 650 square feet with free parking in the back!) . Whenever I have the chance to walk by it nowadays, I’m amazed by how that corner has escaped change and development, so this is not surprising news. I’m glad the Wakefield is safe, for now at least!

  6. My only complainat really is add a garage level, please its hard enough to find a place to park. Don’t make it 1600 for 400 square feet and no parking your just making it all worse. This isn’t downtown yet but build a lot of building and.no parking what do you expect to happen. That right the delvoper deosnt care because he can afford to live his own right. Wait for it at the end of project it will changed to senior housing only that awesome that there a place for them but make it a mixed a building. 500 square feet for 900 is affordable btw. And let me guess no pets right.

  7. Agreed, but E republican is not an arterial, it is a neighborhood street. Neighborhoods should be developed, of course. We are seeing a lot of 4/5 story buildings, appropriate to neighborhood streets. That is reasonable. 8 stories is out of proportion.
    I don’t think there are any 8 story buildings on bellevue (6 and 7 , yes). even Jule, Lyric and the new light rail complex are 7 stories.

  8. Excellent news! I’m excited to see more housing like this come to the neighborhood. With some exceptions for need, people are crazy for having a car on the hill anyways. Especially so close to the light rail. I have a parking spot that just sits empty 99.9% of the time and it’s such a waste of space.

  9. Pumped to have more housing in the neighborhood! Especially off main arterials!

    Continues to blow my mind how much folks whine about developments with no parking. We should be celebrating this!
    There is PLENTY of parking in the city / we don’t need to be driving everywhere! We have a solid bus network and rail is continuing to expand. Cars aren’t everything!

  10. Geez! My question was simply whether the City/Planning is backtesting their assumptions. I agree that there has to be disincentives to owning cars, but not so unrealistic that it results in unintended consequences of a lot more cars looking for street parking, thus causing congestion. The question was simply “if it is discovered that the building’s occupants in total own and park 15 cars and there were only 3 spots built, what are the unintended consequences and how can they be addressed? In an attempt to reduce the number of cars circulating in Seattle by not providing spaces, it could unintentionally result in 12 extra cars driving around in circles every night at 6:00 PM looking for spots, which makes congestion worse. This means trying to develop planning principles by incorporating and blending facts into forward looking philosophy rather than pure assumptions.

    • Shouldn’t it be possible for each lot to qualify for a certain number of residential parking zone stickers? Then the apartment developer can build the number of additional spots they think they’ll actually need, and neighbors are not inconvenienced by a deluge of new vehicles.

      If the developer doesn’t have to pay for new spots on-site and can also rent the apartments for more money to car users (in addition to the transit users), it’s a giveaway to the developer, the transit-using occupants pay higher rent than they should, and the single family occupants have a strong incentive to fight any increase in density.

      In essence, the developer is being allowed to store a dozen cars on public property, not just one, since they are benefiting financially from the bonus rents they get to charge.

      It would make more sense for the space in front of a building like this to have commercial zone parking in front (instead of any street parking allowance). My building probably has at least 10 trucks and vans come by for UPS, USPS, Amazon, FedEx every day, and they double park or are in no-parking zones for awhile since they have so many boxes to drop off.

  11. For as much outreach as they claim they have done, as a resident living nearby I have seen very little in terms of flyers or other forms of outreach from this company to announce this meeting. The first time I hear about this was a week too late via CHS/this blog. Well done!

  12. Hey does anyone know what the deal is with the apartments directly across the street on Republication from this proposed development? There is a half-finished 4-story condo building that all worked stopped on about a year ago (?) and has sat vacant ever since . . .

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