In a surprise move earlier this month, King County officials decided to restart the process that could eventually construct hundreds of affordable housing units within walking distance of the Northgate Station.
The decision will likely delay construction of an eventual dense, mixed-use transit oriented development project. The revamped process could yield hundreds more units of housing, including additional affordable housing.
Why King County cancelled the RFP
Metro, which owns the parcel that will eventually become the site of the TOD project, cancelled a request for proposals on June 5. Two companies, Lake Union Partners and Stellar Holdings, answered the original RFP. The developers did not respond to requests for comment.
In a notice sent to the bidders, and in subsequent public comments, county officials explained that they cancelled the RFP to incorporate new and anticipated changes to laws governing the RFP process.
A new state law, which came into effect June 7, allows local governments to give surplus property to developers for free, as long as the property will be used to house families who earn 80 percent or less of the locally adjusted area median income.
Meanwhile, the Seattle City Council is considering whether to upzone the Northgate TOD plot. As Bruce pointed out, an upzone could make Northgate a major urban center.
Diane Carlson, Metro’s Director of Capital Projects, was involved in the decision to cancel the initial RFP. Carlson says that the county wants to take advantage of the statutory changes because of the site’s potential.
“We’ve given [ourselves] an opportunity to potentially create more housing on that site, and we want to take advantage of that,” Carlson says.