While work Northgate Link moves past construction and into cleanup and testing, developers have been busy drawing up plans for new housing near its stations. Opening day is only three years away, so projects that have started early design review should be able to finish up around the same time that light rail service begins running, though some sites are further behind than others. Using the Seattle in Progress map (which is slightly outdated due to changes at SDCI), it’s clear just how popular Roosevelt and U District stations are, while Northgate is seemingly lagging behind in terms of active proposals.
A few weeks ago, a big 24-story, 227-unit tower at Brooklyn Avenue and NE 47th Street (just over a block from U District Station) picked up design approval and is set to begin construction sometime this year, replacing a former gas station. To the southwest of the station, a national developer is piecing together parcels along 12th Avenue NE for a major project called “Campus Station“, which could feature 240-foot towers and hundreds of student housing units.
Roosevelt Station is by far the most active area for development, possibly along Link as a whole, with 20 planned or recently completed projects in the 7-block-long, 6-block-wide zone that constitutes the neighborhood’s center. In particular, the blocks facing Interstate 5 and along NE 65th Street have become home to several large apartment buildings. Among them, a pair of seven-story buildings a block east of the station at the former Sisley homes will feature 886 units and only 126 parking spaces, a far cry from the 1:1 parking-per-unit ratios seen in places like South Lake Union.
At Northgate Station, the planned “re-imagining” of Northgate Mall by its owners has moved further along in design, adding new details from when we last saw it in March. The updated plan ($) now includes 1,120 apartments with ground-level retail, five office buildings in the middle of the current mall, and a hotel facing Interstate 5. The mall is currently zoned for 95 feet, which could severely squander its potential as a future urban center and waste a potential development goldmine. Our friends up north in Metro Vancouver have figured out that malls are indeed a good place to plop down a few skyscrapers, even well out in the deep suburbs.
If the potential of the mall proper is squandered, then it will be up to the county-owned property just east of the station to take up the mantle as the best hope for Northgate. With zoning for up to 240 feet of height, but no announcement of a developer, progress on this site may be as slow as Capitol Hill’s project, which is finally starting construction with a groundbreaking in two weeks. The Roosevelt TOD site offered by Sound Transit is moving along slowly, having found an affordable housing provider last year, but cannot begin construction until early 2020 due to the site’s ongoing use as a staging area for tunnel work.