By Jack Stubbs
The University District in Seattle—home to the city’s iconic University of Washington and located roughly five miles north of the city’s Central Business District—has a new mixed-use development on the way.
On June 10th, the Northeast Design Review Board gave the green light to a new assisted living development, with the project team having received approval of its required departure necessary to proceed with its design plans.
The project, located at 3200 NE 45th St. and developed by Aegis Living, will ultimately include 112 assisted-living units, 24 memory-care units, 1,430 square feet of commercial space and 63 below-grade parking stalls, according to the applicant team’s submitted plans.
At the recent meeting, the project team—which along with Aegis Living also includes architect Ankrom Moisan and landscape architect Fazio Associates—received its final requirement to move forward in the city’s Design Review process, according to project planner Holly Goddard.
“This was a Final Recommendation (second recommendation) with one departure that was needed due to development standard changes with the recent Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) ordinance,” Goddard wrote in an email. “The Board had fully reviewed the building in prior meetings [and] the Design Review Board recommended approval of the departure to the Director.”
The recent DRG meeting marked the latest chapter for a project that has been in the works for a couple of years, and also fits into larger housing affordability policies being spearheaded by the city. Design work for the proposed project began in the summer of 2016, shortly after the city indicated that the site would be eligible for an up-zone under the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, which is the city’s multi-pronged effort to address housing affordability throughout the city.
In mid-March 2019, the City Council voted unanimously to adopt the citywide MHA legislation, which over the longer-term will implement affordable housing requirements in twenty seven urban villages throughout Seattle.
The Departure granted to the project team by the Design Review Board at the recent meeting means that the in-the-works development met new MHA revisions to land-use code requirements that were implemented in March of this year, according to the proposal submitted by design team.
Along with the recent approval granted for the assisted living development, the University District has a number of other projects in-the-works. On June 4th, University District Parking Associates Inc (EDPA) announced that it had selected Seattle-based developer Touchstone and Atlanta-based developer Portman Holdings as its long-term ground-lease partner for two parking lots in the U-District, which are within one block of the new University District Link Light Rail Station set to open in 2021.
Formed in 1944 by local U-District businesses, UDPA’s purpose is to provide affordable parking in support of the local business community as well as its customers and employees. Similarly to Aegis Living and the rest of the team for the project located at 3200 NE 45th St., UDPA and its project partners will look to contribute to the continued evolution of the U-District at a time of growth for the city of Seattle.
“The addition of light rail next to the University of Washington and in the center of the U-District neighborhood is a once-in- a-generation transformational opportunity. This creates the perfect time to reimagine these lots in a way that is consistent with UDPA’s mission and vision,” said Touchstone CEO Pat Callahan in a press release. “We look forward to engagement with the U-District neighborhood and with innovative office users. I am confident that we will create a great office environment with a compelling sense of place at these locations,” he added.