One quarter of the first batch of units in the new Capitol Hill Station mixed-use development have been leased, as of early this month, according to the complex’s general manager.
The major project above the light rail transit station has been seen as a key development for the neighborhood creating hundreds of new homes and thousands of square feet of new commercial space on Broadway. The COVID-19 crisis has delayed construction but the new, mostly “market-rate” apartments are finally hitting that market.
110 affordable units in the Station House development on the northeast area above the station opened earlier this year and faced high demand.
More than two years after the project’s groundbreaking across the street from Cal Anderson Park, which included a ribbon cutting from Mayor Jenny Durkan, the leasing process on the first 94 units of 400-plus on Broadway started in mid-September amid the coronavirus pandemic, general manager Kristin Lipp told CHS.
The remaining units in the development’s other buildings will be open for leasing in February, according to Lipp. One-bedroom market-rate units under 600 square feet are currently listed online for $2,150 per month.
UPDATE: CHS reached out to developer Gerding Edlen to ask more about the development and the impacts of COVID-19 and the ongoing unrest around Cal Anderson and the East Precinct but the Portland-based company did not reply to multiple inquiries. Lipp also declined to provide more information and context about the situation.
The project has had to adapt some of its leasing process in recent months, with staggered tours to allow more time in between for cleaning and virtual options to get a lay of the land. Individuals involved with the project did not answer questions on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected their leasing.
Coronavirus has shaken the local housing market, with rents down 14% since March, according to data from ApartmentList. The median one-bedroom apartment rents for just under $1,500 and two-bedrooms for $1,849. Rents have been going down for months and they were down 4.2% between September and October.
Seattle is obviously not alone in seeing rents plummet, with New York City down over 15% and San Francisco down a staggering 21.7% since March, according to ApartmentList.
Meanwhile, local apartment buildings are also giving more concessions to renters, such as a month of free rent. Over 70% of large Seattle-area buildings constructed since 2017 are giving such deals to leasers, according to The Seattle Times. For example, the Capitol Hill Station developers are advertising two months of free rent on some units to prospective tenants.
14th Ave’s REO Flats, for example, is touting two rent-free months, a waived deposit and application fee, and $500 off move-in costs. The Capitol Hill Station development is offering a similar deal on “select” units.
Gov. Jay Inslee, meanwhile, announced in early October that the statewide moratorium on evictions would be extended to the end of the year as financial pressures continue stemming from the pandemic. This updated order added a freeze on residential rents, but allows evictions for property damage to continue.
The City of Seattle, specifically, has its own moratorium similar to the one at the state level that Durkan extended in August through the end of 2020.
There were still 38 eviction filings in King County courts in October, according to the King County Bar Association’s Housing Justice Project. That’s up from eight in April and 10 in both May and June. The number has been steadily rising in the summer months and into the fall, with October seeing the most filings, per the project’s data. These figures have been previously reported by PubliCola.
Of the 145 evictions since the Housing Justice Project tracked pandemic trends, the zip codes with the most have been in suburbs like Kent and Auburn, but 98122 — which includes the Central District, Madrona, and much of Capitol Hill — has seen seven evictions. To its south, 98144 has also had six.
Of the eviction reasons, 83 were for tenants violating their lease or misbehavior, 43 were because the owner wanted to either sell the property or occupy it, seven were for unauthorized occupants, and five were for nonpayment of rent. Inslee added an exemption to his moratorium in June that allowed landlords to give 60-days notice to tenants that they plan to sell the unit or live in it.
So far in November, there have been 13 eviction filings in King County, according to the Housing Justice Project.
Sound Transit opened the U-Link extension and the new station below Broadway in March 2016. In August 2016, Sound Transit signed a 99-year lease with Gerding Edlen to develop the properties it had acquired surrounding the station. The Portland-based developer is leading the project with designs from Hewitt and Schemata Workshop. Berger Partnership is landscape architect for the entire site and part of the design super team working on the Capitol Hill Station development project. Community Roots Housing developed and operates the affordable housing component of the projects. CHS reported here on the 20 years of community engagement it took to make the development a reality.
At Capitol Hill Station now, the marketing is focused on living in proximity to a bustling transit station in the middle of a busy neighborhood.
The smaller, building off Broadway and looking out into Cal Anderson Park is considered the “luxury” option and is being marketed as… Park:
Welcome to Park—a new look at luxury apartments at Capitol Hill Station. Park connects you to the vibrancy of Seattle, while giving you a thoughtfully cultivated escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Park’s studio, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom, pet friendly apartments reflect the sophistication, timeless beauty, and iconic landscape of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Call Capitol Hill Station home with the community’s most sought after and refined features, finishes, and amenities.
The larger, two-building Ander rises above Broadway:
Ander is pet-friendly, and people-friendly, with plenty of amenities and spaces for entertaining, exercising and lounging. With two, on-site light rail station entrances, transportation is a breeze and puts the excitement of Seattle in the palm of your hand. Explore the arts hub of Seattle and see all that Capitol Hill is made of with dozens of restaurants, venues and shops within walking distance.
Retail planned for the project including grocer H-Mart and The Exploration Academy daycare could also be a big plus for new tenants.
“It’s everything from a quiet night in, with a great book and takeout, to a fun night out with live music and craft cocktails,” the copy reads. “Welcome to Capitol Hill Station.”