For first time in forever, developer planning a new Capitol Hill condo building

The Capitol Hill condo project will be a twin to this development already underway in Eastlake (Image: Build Urban)

They’re far from frozen but industry analysts claim Seattle’s rents have finally cooled. Want further proof? A Seattle developer has announced plans to pass over the lucrative rental market and take on all the risk — and, hopefully, all of the reward — of building a condominium building on Capitol Hill.

A planned six-story condominium development at 127 Bellevue E will be made up of 44 small, relatively inexpensive units you can buy, not rent.

“The plan is to provide affordable, walkable, sustainable housing in a city that has a shortage of inventory in core locations,” Ed Gallaudet, president of developer Build Urban, said. Continue reading

Africatown gets $1M+ boost from Seattle’s first Equitable Development grants

Africatown has been awarded a major grant as part of more than $5 million in funding for equitable development in Seattle.

“Seattle is facing an affordability crisis, which has displaced far too many and left behind many of our neighborhoods and businesses,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said about the grants. “To tackle these challenges, our City is investing in community organizations who are leading the way in creating true economic vitality and opportunity within Seattle’s most underserved communities.”

Africatown will receive $1,075,000 for “capacity-building” and “development expenses to include affordable commercial space to the Midtown affordable housing project,” according to the City of Seattle announcement of the award. Continue reading

If you hear somebody talking ‘Comp Plan’ in your favorite Capitol Hill cafe, it’s probably Housing Now shaping plan to take on Seattle’s restrictive zoning

Housing Now is a small group on a big mission

While the repealed Employee Hours Tax was not a Housing Now campaign, the Seattle group has learned from mistakes that were made. With new understanding of how things get done — or don’t — in Seattle, the group has vowed to take on the city’s restrictive zoning laws.

“The Comprehensive Plan stems from the Growth Management Act at the state level which requires every city and county to designate growth areas.” Housing Now’s Alex Broner said in a Sunday afternoon meeting earlier this month on 12th Ave across from Seattle University. “They took our already exclusive zoning system in 1994 and codified it into the City Comprehensive Plan.” Continue reading

Here’s how to keep track of two years of construction coming around Capitol Hill Station

Capitol Hill Housing’s Station House is slated to open in 2019

The ribbon has been cut on the project to surround Capitol Hill Station with housing, retail, and community development. Come 2020, commercial activity will return to the block for the first time since 2006 and a whole bunch of new Capitol Hill neighbors will call this stretch of Broadway home. But, first, current neighbors need to deal with two years of construction and the rise of two new tower cranes in the heart of Broadway. Here’s how to keep up to date.

This Capitol Hill Station Project Page from the development’s lead contractor Lease Crutcher Lewis will be used to keep the neighborhood alerted to coming construction, the latest milestones, and when big new elements of the construction process will be moving into place, a project representative tells CHS.

The first update for July deals with a key element of the earliest stages of the project — digging up a lot of dirt: Continue reading

Seattle housing notes: Last chance to comment on plan for more backyard cottages, MHA upzoning battle begins

While we are looking at Seattle’s built environment this morning, here are a few other items of note going on in the city:

  • Backyard cottages milestone: Today — 6/25/18 — is the final day to comment on Seattle’s plan to allow more backyard cottages in neighborhoods across the city. As CHS has reported, “accessory dwelling units” are an effective way to put more of Seattle’s buildable land to use creating homes new neighbors. The city has studied three options:
    + Alternative 1: no action; current rules maintained.
    + Alternative 2: one in-law apartment and one backyard cottage allowed on the same lot; parking no longer required for ADUs; the homeowner may live elsewhere.
    + Alternative 3: two ADUs allowed per lot (either two in-law apartments or one apartment and one cottage); an additional parking space is required only if two ADUs are built. Continue reading

What’s next for Seattle’s head tax? Sawant pivoting on ‘Tax Amazon Movement’ after repeal

Even as they voted to repeal it, Seattle City Council members said Tuesday that an employee hours tax is probably the city’s best route forward to creating an alternative, non-regressive revenue stream to combat Seattle’s affordability crisis. The moves begin, now, to come up with a new, stronger tax plan.

District 3 representative Kshama Sawant, who has claimed the “Tax Amazon movement” as a follow-up to the successful $15 minimum wage fight, will be first out of the gates for shaping what comes next, saying Tuesday in council chambers that a “Tax Amazon Movement: Campaign Launch & Organizing Conference” is still happening. Continue reading

Good news, Amazon, Seattle won’t be taxing you after all — UPDATE: Repealed


UPDATE 2:10 PM: In a vote interrupted by a chanting crowd and District 3 representative Kshama Sawant’s refusal to voice her yay or nay despite threats from President Bruce Harrell that he would close council chambers if outbursts continued, the Seattle City Council voted 7-2 Tuesday to repeal the city’s yet-to-be-implemented, unanimously-passed head tax on Seattle’s largest businesses.

As she seemingly goaded on her supporters in the council chambers, Sawant paused and let the chants swell before finally casting her vote against the repeal. Continue reading

Up against a wall of *if*, here’s *how* Seattle head tax money would be spent on Capitol Hill


If it survives a voter referendum cooked up this week by business and economic groups opposing the plan… And if the spending plan put forward by the City Council somehow can survive mayoral opposition…

How much of the roughly $237 million over five years in head tax revenue will come to Capitol Hill? The short answer is, some, but it’s too early to say exactly. A Seattle City Council resolution, however, gives a starting point. Along with the head tax, the council approved a companion resolution that laid out broad preliminary plans for the windfall of cash.

The resolution is non-binding and could change during the council’s budget process in the fall. Additionally, the Mayor Jenny Durkin’s office has indicated that she opposes the preliminary spending plans, council staff say. Continue reading

Seattle approves plan for ‘reasonable’ tax on its largest businesses to help pay for housing, homelessness — UPDATE

The Seattle City Council Monday afternoon chose a smaller, simpler, “reasonable” compromise to create a new tax on the city’s largest companies to help pay for affordable housing and homelessness services.

In a 8-1 vote, the council — some reluctantly — chose a new version of the plan introduced as Amendment 24 during the afternoon full council session with sponsorship from eight of the nine members — all save Capitol Hill’s District 3 rep, Kshama Sawant.

UPDATE: The council unanimously approved the final ordinance modified by approved Amendment 24 with a 9-0 vote.

“I’ve been really struggling with how I feel about this compromise because I’ve been really, really focused on the spending plan and the dire needs of our communities,” co-sponsor of the original legislation Lisa Herbold said before the vote. But she said she was proud the plan for a new tax had “evolved more towards progressivity” and would do things like protect the city’s small businesses. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Special Yesler Terrace crew begins work to address Seattle’s affordability crisis

Change is coming for Yesler Terrace. But, in the meantime, weeds keep growing. CHS found this work crew taking it easy on a slowly warming Seattle spring day not far from Washington and Yesler, just off Broadway. Continue reading