From now until Monday, May 22, King County Metro and the City of Seattle are seeking input on their plans for transit-oriented development right on the front door of Northgate’s upcoming light rail station. Take the survey here.
The TOD project would be split into two phases because of the selected site and its current use. Phase 1 would replace the parking lot to the west of Thornton Place and be opened in 2021, concurrent to the Link station. Phase 2 would replace the bus bays and open after buses are moved under the light rail station in 2021. Metro and the City hope to blitz through the public feedback period and release a Request for Proposals by the end of the year, and break ground on Phase 1 around summer of 2019.
The area around the station is currently zoned for a maximum height of 125 feet, but the City is aiming for a new height limit of 240 feet under MHA and/or a Station Area Overlay. The 2014 Urban Design Framework envisioned a few smaller buildings on the property dwarfed by a proper high-rise set back from the station. Newer proposals instead flip the setback, with taller buildings and the station forming a wall between the rest of the neighborhood and I-5.
The public-private TOD at the station could set the tone for how the rest of the Northgate area grows into its identity as an urban center. While the addition of new parking garages around the station is discouraging, flipping acres of asphalt parking into transit-oriented housing and offices will be a huge win for density outside of downtown.