Dan, I hope you are correct about the SE. That change will come with the light rail,but.. What’s the pulse on how developers feel about the perceived crime and bad reputation of the SE? How do they overcome the preconditioned habit to drive to most everywhere someone needs to go? What are the incentives for local and big box businesses at or near transit stations to give up or reshape their land in order to meet the density needs of transit stations? Are there any precedents across the nation of new rail changing this scenario?
In general, I’m a bit perplex about your article. It’s good writing and reports well on the conditions of both locations but it’s beating an apple to look more like an orange. The comparison is not that similar. You started great by pointing out the existing zoning and land use is more advantageous than SE Seattle and go on to point out that most of the stop locations are near Bellevue and Redmond town centers. Although I would argue with you about Columbia City and Beacon Hill’s access to (your coveted downtown) being not as good, the rest of the SE is a bit land locked by I-5 and the lake. But, it’s those same characters make for a different urban situation than Redmond or Bellevue or Capital Hill or Ballard. I’m not convinced that a blank type of development is the best solution.
We can not bury our heads in the sand over the current habits, behaviors and opinions of SE seattle. An integrated and thoughtful approach is needed with the SE seattle area. There are many cultures in this area and some have experienced what it is like when a government comes in a takes something away. That is a huge hurdle to get over. I have yet to hear a single plan from the development community in regards to understanding the diversity of the SE.
Readers, don’t get me wrong, I am NOT against TOD. I am against the current methodology of how that process occurs. I’m questioning the analytical analysis of the article. I’m waiting for the deeper investigation and recommendations that should be done in a highly complex region.
Does not get me all panting and breathless to ante up incentives. In return, would you be willing to change the state constitution to allow mandated inclusionary (not incentive and with no benefit) zoning such as is used in other states?
Wasn’t the Bel-red planning hand in hand with development interests at the ready?
Just zone appropriately and see who wants to come up with a good idea. If it makes sense, tweak accordingly.
The light rail will be there for the forseeable future. No need for desperation.
@ 4. the statement in the third sentence is correct. In SE seattle, the difference in land costs has not been enough to offset lower rents, hence no market-rate apartment buildings have been built in SE since something like 1975.
People are hoping that the lift in rents due to LINK will be enough to make new multi-family development work. If new development does work well, or even if people think it will, land values will rise. It’s incumbent upon developers to recognize where the market rates for land values are above or below what the residual value of the land would based on assumed value and cost of development, and to exploit differences where they exist.
@5 – I agree. The incentives are very overrated – you could zone SE seattle to the moon and not have development occur. Another way to think about it is, if there is no market for the first 20 units of housing on a site, why would allowing 50 units be helpful to development? What is needed, IMHO, is investment (e.g. other people’s money), either in the buildings themselves (TIF) or in community amenities, like parks and community facilities. Light rail helps make SE much more competitive for MF development relative to other parts of the City but more amenities are needed along the Rainier corridor. I think LINK by itself moves SE Seattle from the just about least desirable corridor in the City to develop MF housing to at least on par if not above anything north of about 105th, for example.
Seattle as a policy should invest in small parks close to the stations and much Better ped and bike connection to the lake and Genessee and Seward parks.
In SE seattle, the difference in land costs has not been enough to offset lower rents, hence no market-rate apartment buildings have been built in SE since something like 1975.
Townhouses have been, so it seems that you can make money selling rather than renting homes there, no? If townhouses pencil out, what makes a 3- or 4-story stick condo building financially unfeasible? (Bonus points for not mentioning insurance costs or fee-simple ownership.)
[...] city. As in, transformational public investment and redevelopment at our pathetic excuses for light-rail station areas. And no, the complex, human-scale, walkable urban fabric that was destroyed by the Boston City [...]