Any Link riders through the Valley have no doubt noticed the monolithic Station at Othello Park going up for what seemed like forever. Well, it’s done*, and the Seattle Times wrote it up:
Other developers will judge the Station at Othello Park’s success by how much rent it can charge and how quickly it fills up.
A new project is doing well if it leases 20 apartments a month, researcher Cain says. By that measure, the Station is right on target.
As for apartment rents, Cain says, the Othello project is charging about 40 percent more per square foot than older buildings in the Rainier Valley, Beacon Hill and the Central District — but about 12 percent less than the average rent at similar new buildings on Capitol Hill and other neighborhoods closer to downtown…
But Southeast Seattle is a new frontier for the industry. Before the Station at Othello Park, “that area hadn’t seen any conventional [for-profit] new construction in many years,” Cain says…
“I have heard lots of developers say they are waiting to see how the Station at Othello Park does,” said Al Levine, the [Seattle Housing] authority’s deputy director.
It’s nice to hear that the initial reports are good, but as with everything else let’s not judge the first project of a hoped-for rebirth of the Rainier Valley based on a few months of data.
Because of developer hesitation, this is, however, a relatively important project. And if it turns out that the Rainier Valley is so hopeless for market-rate development than not even light rail can rehabilitate it over the next decade or so, then that would call in question, if not light rail as a whole, then the decision to go through the Rainier Valley in general and especially via MLK in particular.
* The article implies it’s done, but a source tells me the complex is leasing but not quite done with construction.