Seattle/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on May 23, 2024
Seattle Mayor Signs New Law to Encourage Workforce Housing, Artist Spaces in GeorgetownSource: Office of the Mayor, Seattle

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell is laying down the law—or rather, signing it—to allow for the sprouting of new workforce housing and artist workspaces in the Georgetown neighborhood, boosting the area's historic and economic landscape. This new legislation, which received a unanimous thumbs-up from the City Council, grants permission for buildings to reach a new height of 85 feet, ten feet higher than the previous cap, in a 9.7-acre corridor along 4th Avenue South, according to the Office of the Mayor.

With this height limit adjustment, developers must tick certain boxes like committing to green building standards, designating at least five levels for residential living, carving out active street-level uses to at least 20% of the ground floor and installing soundproof windows and air systems for all units— and all this to truly capitalize on the unique geography of the zone flanked by industrial areas already boasting 85 feet limits, Mayor Harrell lauded Georgetown as a "treasured and historic part of Seattle" and highlighted that the forthcoming housing and workspace options will pump new life into the neighborhood, create more economic opportunities for artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives, all while forging a more vibrant and affordable community.

With the rubber stamp freshly inked, Watershed Community Development now gets the green light to roll out their new arts community plan, featuring about 900 workforce housing units priced for those earning in the 60% to 80% average median income bracket, alongside communal areas for local talent and workers, noted Ron Posthuma, president of the Watershed Board, in a statement heralding the Mayor and Council's step to "approve extra height to ensure more livable affordable housing in our new Georgetown Live/Work district."

Local officials are all aboard the Georgetown growth train, with Councilmember Rob Saka of District 1 touting how Georgetown is set to pioneer the live/work model for the Duwamish Valley crediting the neighborhood's dynamism to "great partnerships" while Tammy Morales of District 2 chipped in with her excitement on nearly a thousand units hitting right in the historic heartland, the announcement comes on the heels of last year's Maritime and Industrial Strategy, marking a generational update to the city's industrial land use policy and a testament to Georgetown neighbors' longstanding plea for more housing and mixed-use development as expressed during a two-year engagement process with the OPCD, full-throttle support also comes from OPCD Director Rico Quirindongo, who emphasized how this aligns with community visions and stakes out a place for artists, low-income families, and communities at risk of displacement in the sprawling city narrative.

Seattle-Real Estate & Development