Seattle/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on April 19, 2024
Seattle's University District Set for Public Restroom Integration in New Apartment ComplexSource: Unsplash/ Yena Kwon

Public restrooms may finally be on the horizon for Seattle's University District, with plans announced by the Low Income Housing Institute to incorporate facilities into a new apartment complex near a light rail station, KIRO 7 reported. Expected to rise at the intersection of Northeast 45th Street and Roosevelt Way Northeast, this development is part of a broader strategy to tackle the absence of public bathrooms, a convenience long missing in this bustling area.

The initiative, which includes an Urban Rest Stop hygiene center, promises to provide necessary support for not only the general public but also for the homeless population challenging the common issue of finding accessible sanitation in urban centers, The Seattle Times reported; however, the fine print on funding and maintenance has yet to be ironed out, and for a project of this magnitude, complete fruition could take years.

"If you have a restroom, that’s well lit, fast and clean, people will use it," said Sharon Lee, executive director of the Low Income Housing Institute, emphasizing the benefits of the forthcoming facilities in a statement obtained by The Seattle Times. Local leaders have faced criticism for inaction on the restroom shortage after a Seattle Times series shed light on the issue, but there was movement last November when participatory budgeting voters channelled $7.2 million into 24-hour restroom options.

As of yet, that fund remains untapped as Mayor Bruce Harrell's team coordinates with community advisors on its deployment the U District's cravings for public toilets are poised to be addressed by this project, aligning with hopes expressed by area stakeholders like Cory Crocker, president of the U District Community Council, who hailed the restroom proposal as "fantastic" especially in consideration of attendants for the facilities. The complex will offer 160 low-income apartments featuring ground-floor retail while displaying the restrooms along Roosevelt Way Northeast, a thoroughfare with bike lanes.

Sound Transit intends to sell the designated plot to the housing institute at a reduced rate, a competitive process outcome; complementarily the city has pledged $15 million to support construction, an initiative Mayor Harrell qualifies as innovative. This dual-purpose building will include the Urban Rest Stop, envisaged to provide homeless individuals with free access to showers, laundry, and additional hygiene services, according to a news release from the nonprofit.

Seattle-Real Estate & Development