In Seattle, people live above stores, restaurants, medical clinics, offices and almost everything else. If it works in cities, why not suburbia? Who you may ask would want to live above a McDonald’s in Federal Way? Maybe a few employees working there, especially if it was a good deal.
If zoning required almost every new commercial building in King County to provide at least one unit of employee housing, thousands of affordable housing units can be created where no housing currently exists. With a limited tenant pool, developers would need to build affordable housing to fit their market rather than just the luxury units being built now.
Some developers will see opportunity and build even more units creating even more valuable real estate and new revenue streams. Even with lower rents, it is still revenue currently untapped. Some might argue the burden of additional regulation might discourage development, but not everyone considers that a bad thing.
Besides creating afffordable housing, this also reduces traffic congestion county wide by allowing thousands of workers to walk to work. Workers save time and money, other county residents benefit from less pollution, congestion, and open land being turned into housing. It also creates safer neighborhoods by putting “night watchmen” where none currently exist.
Many will rightly see this as less than ideal living, but the working class often already live in less than ideal cirumstances, often far from jobs. Each year their options shrink in King County and the county risks pricing them out of entirely. Business needs these workers and this will ensure at least some of their workers will have a place to live.
thanks for reading.
FINE PRINT; Obviously gas stations, heavy manufacturing, and certain other businesses should be exempt. If a business is unable to find an employee/tenant, another worker employeed within one mile could rent the apartment. If a tenant changes or loses a job, they would have one year to move. Rents could be tied to wages (thirty percent of income) or left to the free market.