Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine announced the City and County will each contribute up to $10 million for approximately 200 affordable housing units adjacent to the transit center and future light rail station in Northgate.
“Transportation has the power to transform entire communities,” said Mayor Murray. “The arrival of light rail in five years at the busiest transit hub in Seattle means the Northgate community is poised to become one of the most connected, livable areas of the city. Today’s announcement ensures affordable housing will be part of that future, with residents and families of all incomes having the opportunity to live in a vibrant community with easy access to transit, jobs, and higher education.”
“The arrival of light rail at Northgate presents a remarkable opportunity to create a community where families can live, work, and shop without ever getting behind the wheel,” said Executive Constantine. “By investing in affordable housing, we ensure Northgate continues to be an inclusive and diverse neighborhood, connected to the region by a fast and efficient bus and rail network, as well as bike and pedestrian improvements. This is how we can grow and meet our housing and transportation needs, now and into the future.”
Mayor Murray and Executive Constantine signed a Cooperative Agreement outlining the affordable housing contributions and other details that will guide a future Development Agreement for the redevelopment project at Northgate Transit Center. The new Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) will include housing, retail, commercial, and office development on a four-square block parcel owned by Metro Transit. Bounded by NE 103rd and NE 100th Streets, it is adjacent to the current location of the Northgate Transit Center and Park-and-Ride.
The creation of a sustainable, climate-friendly and pedestrian-oriented mixed-use development at Northgate will be the largest TOD project in King County. With significant affordable housing in a mixed-income community, the Northgate TOD leverages the benefits of the region’s public transit system. Link light rail will reach Northgate in 2021 and is expected to have over 15,000 daily boardings by 2030. The TOD project complements investments by the City of Seattle and Sound Transit in non-motorized connections to the Transit Center, including the pedestrian bridge over Interstate 5.
“I’m so excited to welcome and support 200 new families and the hundreds more in workforce housing to the Northgate community, where they can enjoy all that North Seattle has to offer, from our new schools opening in 2018, North Seattle College, to libraries, vibrant commercial, parks and green space to a soon-to-arrive light rail system,” said Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5, North Seattle). “This project couldn’t be a better illustration of how the voter-approved Housing Levy contributes to creating real affordable housing solutions.”
“As our region continues to grow, it is essential we prioritize affordable housing with excellent access to transit. The proposed Northgate TOD project reflects the compassion and creativity that the County and the City are bringing to this challenge,” said Council Vice Chair Rod Dembowski, who represents Northgate on the King County Council. “I am also committed to the rigorous protection of Thornton Creek, which flows under the site at Northgate. I am working to ensure that redevelopment of the site enhances the creek’s water quality.”
The property will be sold or leased to a developer through a competitive process. The agreement anticipates the County will issue a request for proposal for developers in summer 2017 and construction would begin in late 2018 with the opening of the Sound Transit garage adjacent to the site. Phase one is expected to be completed by the time the Link station opens in 2021, will include approximately 200 affordable units for low-wage workers and their families. The second phase of the housing development will begin after the light rail station opens.
The City of Seattle’s contribution is funded from sources that include the voter-approved Seattle Housing Levy. King County’s funding comes from its Transit-Oriented Development bond fund. The City and County are working on a future development agreement to govern the terms of the funding and cooperation in the project. The development agreement requires approval of both the City Council and the County Council.
In addition to the income-restricted housing, any market-rate commercial or housing development would be subject to Seattle’s new Mandatory Housing Affordability program, which requires either on-site construction of additional affordable homes or payments to the City’s Office of Housing. Additionally, development of the Northgate Transit Center will include ongoing public engagement.
The Northgate Transit Center is currently the largest transit center in the King County Transit system, currently serving over 6,500 daily riders on 11 King County bus routes and two Sound Transit Express bus routes with 1,500 parking spaces provided nearby.