When I was thinking about transit-oriented development (TOD), I hadn’t really thought of First Hill as the place for it. Today, the Seattle Housing Authority, released news (behind paywall) about a massive development effort for the Yesler Terrace project on the south side of First Hill. From the DJC article:

The Seattle Housing Authority has released a conceptual plan for redeveloping the Yesler Terrace housing project on First Hill that calls for up to 5,000 new housing units and 1.5 million square feet of office space and 250,000 square feet of retail. Between five and eight acres would become parks and open space.

Currently Yesler Terrace has 561 units. The project would start in around 2011 and finish by 2026.

The site is about four blocks east of the Pioneer Square station, and the probable First Hill Streetcar route up Boren passes through the site. See a map below the fold. Now obviously, the transit isn’t the main reason that this redevelopment project is going here, but it’s a huge part of why the project can be so big.
Yesler Terrace Map
Image from the Stranger Slog

16 Replies to “Yesler Terrace”

  1. Surely the yellow area in this map can’t all be Yesler Terrace. Harborview is within this area, and it has a fairly sizeable campus.

  2. That map makes me a little nervous. It sure looks like a lot of parking and street space for a city. And the streets wind around like a suburb. Unless those buildings are really tall, this doesn’t seem like a huge step up in density. Remember that anything that’s built today will probably be around in 50 years.

    Take a look at just a little bit northwest from this development on the map. See all of those shadows, and all of the rooftop area? That looks much more dense than the short shadows and sparse roof area of this development.

    But then I’m basing this off a rendering, and could certainly be wrong.

      1. How did I not know that? I’m in the city every day, go near that area constantly, but I don’t think I’ve ever been on those streets.

        I’m glad they’re changing it.

      2. Me too, it’s a lot more housing and a ton of office space. 1.5 million is about 6,000~10,000 workers. for contrast, Downtown Bellevue has 8.1 million sq ft total).

    1. NewHolly and Rainier Vista once looked like Yesler Terrace. They’ve been redeveloped to more mixed-use, mixed-income traditional-style neighborhoods. The winding streets were replaced with a grid system. I’m sure Yesler Terrace would follow a similar trend.

  3. Yesler Terrace may be “only” 4 blocks from the Pioneer Square station but between the steep hill, freeway crossing, and general pedestrian unfriendly environs it might as well be on the other side of the moon.

    Having lived in the area a few years back I’m glad to see the coming of the streetcar and the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace as well as what has been happening on 12th up near Seattle U. The only bad part about the revitalization of the neighborhood is it will drive prices up. ;-)

    1. I agree with you about Pioneer Square, however this is still a hell of a great site. In the past six years, I have spent a significant amount of time visiting the Terrace. The southern portion has a great view of Chinatown, and is steps from Little Saigon.

      Little Saigon may not be Pioneer Square for those who like to go clubbing. However, the area does have two fruit stands, a tofu factory w/store, FIVE actual grocery stores (plus the smaller Minh Tam’s Market), three delis, a BBQ shop, and several restaurants.

      Honestly, if I could live in average to good market rate housing in this immediate area, I would. If the area had all of this with nicer residential above, it would be the mixed-use, mom & pop, walk-to-everything you need, ultra desirable urban enclave that everyone wants to live in.

      Of course, it is not as desirable due to the relatively higher-crime residential areas surrounding the commercial district, but this new development may just help change that…. it will bring prices up. Hopefully not enough to ruin the area with Subways and other chain restaurants.

      1. I loved living just a couple blocks from Little Saigon. Eating at the delis was often cheaper than cooking at home even with the dirt cheap produce and meat from the local grocery stores and fruit stands. The restaurants are pretty damn good too, Malay Satay Hut, Tamarind Tree, Seven Stars Peppers, Pho Bac, etc.

        Reasonable housing can be found in the area if you look hard. There are some newer condos/townhomes and rentals. There are also some single family homes, though most of these are small and likely to be fixer-uppers. Most of the area rental stock is fairly run down sadly.

        In addition to the redevelopment at Yesler Terrace there is also the development on the former Goodwill site which should offer some housing options as well.

      2. I think the first tenants of the ground floor retail you see will be chains – but they’ll age, and they’ll get interesting, like the rest.

      3. Of course. To be honest, I just hope that the redevelopment does not include quite that much retail… espically given the planned Goodwill redevelopment not too far away.

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