The incentive zoning or ‘housing bonus’ system in place for years in downtown required developers to replace 1 for 1 any low cost housing they demolished as a condition for increasing the height and density of their buildings. The new HALA-Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) Program does not include this requirement. And wherever incentive zoning still applies in Seattle, city planners intend also to remove the obligation. Hundreds of existing low cost units in Seattle will be lost if this occurs.
A 44-story luxury apartment building at 2005 5th Ave (NW corner of 5th & Virginia) is proposed by a Taiwanese developer that would rise above the empty shells of the historic Griffin Building and the Sheridan Apartments, and will remove 56 units of currently occupied and very affordable downtown housing ($990-$1170/mo. rent at time they applied for permits). Only the facades of these two buildings would remain.
Under the old housing bonus program in place for years downtown, the developer would have been granted slightly less added density, and required to contribute to construction of the 18 units, and replace 1 for 1 the housing they removed. Now under the HALA-MHA program, they’re on the hook only for the 18 units.
A preliminary recommendation giving the go ahead to the project already has been made by the Design Review Board with only relatively minor modifications suggested by the Board.
The developer however must return to the Board with a response before they’re given final approval. No date has been set as yet for that to occur but unless Continue reading