Coming To Othello Station: The Future

[ Rendering of Othello Partners’ two proposed mixed-use projects, looking east on S. Othello St across MLK Jr. Blvd. ]

Though all we know for sure is that the part of the future that runs on rails is coming tomorrow.  Hopefully the buildings in the rendering above will materialize someday too.

Othello Partners recently announced that they would break ground on The Station at Othello Park—the building on the right side of the image—in early July, but it looks like the the train opening is going to just barely beat them to the punch.   The project is a big one, 420,000 total square feet, with 350 rental apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail.   Key to the feasibility of the project was the City’s Multifamily Tax Exemption program.

The building in the left side of the rendering is Othello Partners’ follow-on mixed-use project with 342 apartments and 18,000 square feet of retail.  The project recently passed through Seattle’s Design Review process, but the start date is contingent on the future economic climate. 

Together the two Othello projects will put about 700 new units of housing at the station.  That translates to 1000 or more new people living in the station area.  That is awesome.  Transformative.  And there is big potentail for more development on the other side of MLK—see image here—although Safeway recently decided to hold on to their property and renovate the store.

Are the Othello Partners projects too big?  Like Thornton Place, they are not perfect.  For one thing, it would be great if they didn’t have so much on-site structured parking.  But without that amount parking, no bank would have come on board.  And yes, urban form tends to be richer when buildings are small scale, as well as diverse in style and age.  But that ideal must be balanced with the realities of economics and context.  All in all, the Othello projects are exactly what we need to get catalytic TOD on the ground and start reaping the benefits of our investment in light rail.

Here’s what the view shown in the rendering above looked like a year or two ago: 


Here’s a plan view of both Othello Partners projects:


Here’s what it looked like a couple of years ago: