SLU To Gain 28-Story Apartment Building And…Church?

Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood is home to many things- fabulous restaurants, tech giants and soon, a new church?

You read that right. According to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, the part of town affectionately known as “Amazonia” (remember that part about tech giants?) may soon be getting some new residents, but these residents won’t all necessarily have laptops and badges with them.  Some may have a Bible or hymnal in tow.

But, it’s not a done deal yet.

Preliminary plans have been filed with the city by Greystar Real Estate Management for a proposed 348-unit apartment tower and church. The site for the possible construction is adjacent to Denny Park at 200 8th Avenue North and covers an impressive 29,000 square feet.

The hitch in their giddy-up at the moment is that the property is yet to be sold, but the current owners identity sheds some light on why there is a church component in this proposed deal.

The property has been owned for nearly 60 years by Seattle Unity Church.  The sale of this land would help fund the building of a new church for a congregation whose current place of worship is “wearing out” according to church staff.

The prospective plans for the site include a 28-story mixed use apartment building, and a new church of unspecified size. The apartment building would include decks, setbacks and 4 levels of underground parking.

It’s no secret that South Lake Union’s popularity has exploded in recent years, as has development in the area, with numerous other projects in talks or already in progress right near this proposed site. Seattle Unity Church’s founders were forward thinking to have bought the expansive piece of property back in the 1960’s when SLU was called the Cascade neighborhood and Amazon wasn’t a word used in conversation unless you were naming jungles and rivers of the world.

Since the site is currently only zoned for building up to 240 feet, it would seem that Greystar has their work cut out for them to really get this project off the ground (pun intended) as re-zoning would be a must.

Stay tuned for more information and to see if this project officially gets the green-light.

After all, miracles do happen.

Chinese Developer Plans 26-Story Apartment Building in SLU

Chinese real estate developer Create World America recently purchased the property at 427 9th Ave. N in South Lake Union for $16.25 million. They bought the property from Wilshire Capital Partners, who originally paid $5.85 million in late 2013, and spent the last few years acquiring permits for a 26-story apartment building.

Now Create World America will be taking over the project, and hopes to begin construction in October of this year. CEO Lili Lu told the Puget Sound Business Journal that the project should cost approximately $120 million, and is a joint effort with another Chinese company, Modern Land Co., and VIA Architecture.  

This 26-story apartment building is conveniently situated across the street from the complex of buildings currently leased by Amazon, and will feature mid- and high-end units. In addition to the residential apartments, there will be an underground parking garage with 70 spaces.

This recent purchase is just one of Create World America’s moves into the Seattle area, with a two-phase project for apartments and condos in downtown Bellevue and a 40-story Pike Place Market condo project.

Featured photo source:, rendering from VIA Architecture

Apodments: Coming soon to East Lake Union

Apodments: Coming Soon to East Lake Union

EastlakeResidentialCommunity_bigThe new Apodment style communities in Seattle are making city living affordable for many but at a price to others. Much like micro-housing, an Apodment is a large complex that caters to low-income families, students and single residents.

Thanks to the dorm style living, residents are able to rent out a room with a private bathroom while sharing a kitchen and living space with many others who also enjoy lower monthly rent. While these structures are great for developers and students many people who are seeing them built in their home neighborhoods are not as welcoming. Most of the residents that feel these developments are intrusive voice problems with an existing parking situation that is sure to worsen. Many of these new structures do not offer any parking whatsoever.

After demolishing a 100 year old single family home and a duplex, two lots will be used to house 115 units at 2820 Eastlake Ave. This is a much higher density than what residents are used to on Eastlake according to a letter written to the city council. The letter expresses many of these local concerns in depth including the lack in ability for locals to comment on these developments and that these types of properties are not sustainable housing choices.

On the bright side, the developer of the property, Kelten Johnson, says he plans on offering “an efficient, clean, safe and affordable housing alternative to Seattle students and the workforce community” at prices ranging between $500 and $600 a month. These are significantly lower than an individual apartment in the area.

The new apodments are sure to bring changes for all in the Eastlake area and throughout Seattle. It is apparent this compact style housing is growing in popularity, with permits already issued for another handful of these complexes. Only time will reveal the true pros and cons of these apodments from a social, economical and sustainable point of view.



More High-Rises Impact Bustling South Lake Union

A new apartment complex is coming to South Lake Union, located at 403 Dexter Ave. N.   According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the quarter acre lot was sold to Wilshire Capital Partners for $4.1 million.  Recently, it has surfaced that Wilshire Capital Partners has submitted plans for a 24-story apartment complex that will house about 250 units, a small retail space and 85 parking spots. This project, though, is just another on their to-do list.

Two additional apartment towers in South Lake Union are set for construction to begin this coming fall. At 427 9th Ave. N. Wilshire is planning a 26th story apartment tower, as well as a seven-story complex at 525 Boren Ave. N.   Via Architecture, will be designing the three Wilshire apartment buildings.

With Amazon’s headquarters sitting pretty in the middle of South Lake Union, it’s caught the attention of real estate developers looking to cash in on the substantial growth of the area.  Wilshire Capital Partners are amongst many bringing apartment complexes into the area. 

Rent Soars Through The Roof

With Seattle’s big businesses booming the economy and population growth soaring, affordable housing is becoming increasingly rare.

The average monthly rent of a Seattle apartment is now $1,284—a $94 increase since the beginning of the year, according to the Seattle Times and Apartment Insights Washington. Rent prices jumped 4.1 percent in the second quarter of the year to total a 7.9 percent increase since the beginning of 2014. Yikes.

The Ballard neighborhood experienced the highest housing price hike of 12.3 percent, bringing its average rent to $1,628 for an apartment.

Why is this happening? There are a number of reasons. One is the Seattle City Council’s decision to increase the minimum wage to $15. Landlords know that their tenants are going to potentially make more money, so they are adjusting costs accordingly. It’s a contradictory cause and effect.

Another factor is the influx of workers moving to the city for positions at, mainly, Amazon. The population of Seattle grew 2.8 percent last year, faster than any other U.S. city, increasing demand for housing. These high-wage techies can afford to pay the price for a swanky apartment, leading to the development of mega-condo buildings popping up all over Seattle. As tenants upgrade to new housing and strive to snag the most lucrative location, landlords are able to increase rent on older housing.

Efforts to implement affordable housing are in effect, but there is no telling how promising they will be. Seattle City Council members recently held a meeting to research how other cities were approaching the issue—which is difficult to compare since no other city has ever had a minimum wage as high as $15. City leaders aim to have a plan for development of affordable housing by the end of the year to be ready for the legislative process in 2015.

Featured image found here.