With one last step in design review, hopes for 2018 start of construction for Capitol Hill Station projects

Above the future Capitol Hill Station developments (Image: Alex Garland)

CHS is back in business just in time for the Capitol Hill Station “transit oriented development” projects set to create 400 affordable and market-rate apartment units and 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space along Broadway to finally pass through design review.

Probably.

The four buildings face a second round of review in the design “recommendation” phase Wednesday night.

Two months after getting sent back to the drawing board in the final segment in the review process, the project’s lead developer Gerding Edlen is back with proposed facade, color, and material changes for the design as the search for daycare and grocery service providers to anchor the commercial aspect of the project continues.

Gerding Edlen’s Jill Sherman tells CHS they are not at a point where they’ve signed with anchored tenants. So whoever the grocer and daycare services may be is still up in the air. The project’s planned childcare did move to another building, however, closer to the park. The review board also suggested changing the configuration of the childcare space, reducing frontage along Broadway. There was no decrease in square footage.

“What we’re trying to do now is show we think we can design a daycare and what the storefront looks like in a way that will be attractive and interesting for pedestrians,” Sherman said. “We originally proposed a daycare because we knew it was a community priority.”

The developer continues to look for daycare providers. A provider Gerding Edlen had been negotiating with decided the space was too small and the pick-up/drop-off location for parents was too far away. Meanwhile, Gerding Edlen is still actively searching for a grocer and is currently dealing with multiple offers, though Sherman would not disclose what companies are under consideration.

In 2013, the Seattle City Council approved a development agreement allowing developers to plan for 85-foot tall buildings along Broadway in exchange for going above minimum affordable housing requirements long before recently proposed upzones in the ongoing HALA discussions. Overall, the development plans call for more than 400 apartments with around 40% of units to rent for below market rate for 12 years and Capitol Hill Housing’s Site-B North’s 110 units designated for “permanent affordable housing.” Plus, here’s a development rarity, there are 24 three-bedroom units, and 84 two-bedrooms. Combining those, that means nearly a third of the housing can be for families and multiple roommates.

The housing, placed around Capitol Hill Station, will be spread across the four project sites, combining to make 428 new units. 176 of those will be affordable housing. The affordable housing will be reserved for those under 60% Area Median Income (or below $40,320 for one person; $51,840 for three people). The development will include community sites, like space for the farmers market and a public plaza, a community meeting space, retail, and pedestrian and bicycle friendly streets.

There will still be 59,000 square feet of community and commercial space. For a look at the kinds of commercial opportunities Gerding Edlen has created, check out their yearly environmental and community impact report.

Gerding Edlen and Sound Transit signed a deal for a $17 million land lease in August 2016. Instead of paying a regular rent for the duration of the lease, Gerding will pay a lump sum of $17,435,000 after it sells the project or no later than 2033. Until then, Gerding will pay an annual rent of $222,350. As part of the deal, Sound Transit retains a $4.8 million stake in the three properties. Seattle Central College has been given a right of first refusal to develop a fifth parcelSite D on the west side of Broadway, next to the school’s Broadway promenade. Capitol Hill Housing will operate Site B-North and its 110 “permanently” affordable apartment units.

Sherman called Wednesday’s hoped-for final stamp of approval from the review board potentially “a huge milestone” but there are still a few more steps in the Seattle process to bang out including the Master Use Permit. Construction is hoped to begin in the spring of 2018 with the projects finally open in late 2019 or early 2020.

via CHS, Capitol Hill Seattle

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