Last week, there were a couple of actions that added to the number of potential housing units in central Seattle. One was more straightforward than the other.
First, the Council voted 8-0 to upzone large parts of the International District ($) by up to 30 feet. Utilizing these height bonuses will require construction of, or a contribution to, affordable housing.
The upzone that includes parts of Chinatown, Japantown and Little Saigon will increase maximum heights from 240 to 270 feet on some bocks, 150 to 170 feet on other blocks and 85 to 95 feet on still others.
Council just passed rules requiring more space between downtown towers. Great to see these fucking dinguses win one https://t.co/PhHiG0VTJz
— Heidi Groover (@heidigroover) July 31, 2017
However, we should expect more of legislation sponsored by Rob Johnson and Sally Bagshaw.
On blocks in the zone where towers already exist, the legislation will allow the city’s construction-department director to increase maximum heights from 550 to 640 feet while reducing the maximum size of floor plates.
Developers who volunteer to build taller and thinner will be allowed to construct buildings with slightly more total floor area.
This is a bonus for spacing, not a penalty for not-spacing. And the payoff is more height — and more crucially, more total floor area. This is, in fact, exactly what Anton Babadjanov proposed in his very long article. Floor area is the currency of housing units, so Bagshaw and Johnson have turned what could have turned into the usual development-stifling complaint-fest into a positive force for new housing construction.