Tonight at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, the city council will host the second (and last) public meeting on the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace—which is arguably the largest and most complex redevelopment project to hit downtown Seattle in generations. This has been years in the making, folks. It will introduce thousands of new residents from diverse income brackets to downtown Seattle.
Once again because it bears repeating: Tonight is your last chance to publicly voice your thoughts and hurdle criticisms at the Seattle Housing Authority's proposed rebuild of the 70-year-old low-income apartment complex.
Under the SHA proposal, 561 wood-frame units that currently overlook I-5 on First Hill would be bulldozed and replaced with a series of new buildings and towers—some up to 85 feet tall—spread across eight blocks. The towers would holding 1,801 apartments serving a range of low-income and workforce-housing residents**, and another 1,200-3,200 market-rate apartments and condos.
Courtesy of SHA
Of course there are critics of the plan, and of course some of their points are more valid than others.
Some argue that the number of low-income units proposed for actual Yesler Terrace site—as opposed the greater, eight-block redevelopment "zone"—is appallingly low when compared with the number of higher-priced apartments. "The small number of low income units compared to market rate is disgraceful," writes a group calling itself Citizens Rethink Yesler.
Others worry that transportation infrastructure in the area can't support such a dramatic population influx. (HOT TIP: Buses have wheels!)
City council members will be discussing a slew of amendments to the Yesler Terrace legislation tomorrow morning—among them, an amendment to expand the number of family-sized apartments in the plan (as opposed to one- and two-bedroom units) and an amendment that would prevent SHA from shuffling more than 20 low-income units (in the 60 and 80 percent AMI brackets) off site to make room for richer residents. Here's a .pdf of all the proposed amendments if you're curious; I'll be posting more about them tomorrow.
**For the detailed income/unit breakdown, check out this handy presentation: .pdf.