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Seattle: Aiming higher around Sodo

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Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Aiming higher around Sodo

To make that growth possible, city planners unveiled their first recommendations Friday for raising building heights in parts of south downtown.

Taller buildings could replace pockets of parking lots and underused properties around Pioneer Square and the International District. The effort could also unleash a wave of eco-friendly high-rises on industrial land around Qwest Field.

sodo_building_heights.gif

related story - Smith unfurls $750 million plan near stadiums

related website - The South Downtown Study

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Interesting article on Seattle height limits I found.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/loca...heights04m.html

High-rise boom coming to Seattle?

By Bob Young

Seattle Times staff reporter

JIM BATES / THE SEATTLE TIMES

The Seattle skyline may change in coming years, as the City Council endorsed raising limits on building heights. The Denny Triangle area should see the most action, but more giants such as Columbia Center are highly unlikely to appear in the city.

The Seattle City Council cleared the way for sweeping changes to the downtown skyline Monday, and several developers stand ready to take advantage of new rules allowing taller condo and office towers.

Projects that have been waiting for the go-ahead to go taller include two condo towers near Pike Place Market and another condo tower close to another neon-lit Seattle icon: Elephant Car Wash.

Called a "milestone" and "turning point" by Councilman Peter Steinbrueck, the new zoning is expected to usher in a wave of residential towers in the next several years. It repeals height limits voters set on downtown buildings in the 1989 CAP Initiative, when residents feared runaway growth.

Now, in the hopes of bringing more residents downtown and curbing sprawl, buildings will be able to soar hundreds of feet beyond those limits if developers meet certain requirements, such as contributing to a fund for low- and moderate-income housing downtown.

Real-estate experts say conditions are ripe for a surge in downtown high-rises, driven largely by empty-nest baby boomers who want to live near cultural amenities.

"A lot of out-of-town developers are focused very deeply on Seattle and have not made moves yet because they're waiting for this zoning change," said Matthew Gardner, a local land-use consultant.

Several factors put Seattle on the brink of a boom, including relatively high incomes, heavy traffic and limited land supply.

"Add to that the trend of baby boomers wanting to move downtown, and it bodes well for increased density and residential development," Gardner added.

William Justen, a former city planner who is developing a 400-foot condo tower at 1521 Second Ave., near Pike Place Market, said the downtown area should be able to support 10 high-rise towers in the next five to six years. Developer Greg Smith also wants to build a 400-foot condo tower near the market.

How high a building can go depends on location. Under current rules, the tallest building allowed downtown is 540 feet. Now there will be no limit.

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Practically speaking, the change is unlikely to produce buildings as tall as the 76-story Bank of America Tower

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I ran across the SODO article on Planetizen and thought I would see what the opinions are on the Seattle forum. The Nashville UP Forum has been discussing midrise vs highrise for the last few months, particularly for our SOBRO (south of Broadway District). Much of what has been discussed is worth reading. Obviously, SODO is much more mature than our SOBRO, but there are some similar issues. I encourage you to check it out and participate.

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=23446

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.ph...pic=23047&st=40

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.ph...opic=20667&st=0

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