Morning Fizz

Morning Fizz: Defy the Recession

Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring housing numbers, contribution dollars, and parking spaces.

By Morning Fizz July 9, 2014

1. Doing the background reporting for yesterday's PubliPola ("In the last year, have you spent a night out in South Lake Union?"), we did turn up a few more numbers worth noting: Between 2005 and 2014, there were 3,002 net new residential units built in SLU, by far the biggest number in any single neighborhood; Capitol Hill and Pike/Pine weren't even close, both in the 1,400 range.

SLU's next-door neighbor, the Denny Triangle, was one of only two other neighborhoods where more than at least 2,000 units were built, 2,192. (Belltown was the other neighborhood that cracked 2,000 during that period, at 2,572 new unita.)

South Lake Union couldn't defy the recession, though: Zero units were built in 2011 and 2012. Zero.

The only neighborhoods that did defy the great recession were Capitol Hill and Pike/Pine, adding 314 units and 292, respectively.

Another piece of information worth mentioning: Nine of the 13 residential projects that came in after the recent SLU rezone, which gave developers the option to build above height limits in exchange for including affordable housing (at or below 80 percent of the median income, $45,100 for a single person) are planning to use the incentive.

This is good news for a program that a recent city study determined wasn't producing many units. According to the city, 62 percent of eligible developments since 2001 did not use the incentive. In South Lake Union, for example, only six of 20 projects had used the incentive zoning program.

We have certainly been critical of the program, and would be happy to get behind it if it actually started producing affordable housing. (Of course, 80 percent of median isn't where the need is; it's affordability at 50 percent—$30,350 for a single person—that housing stock is disappearing.)

2. Speaking of South Lake Union: We've reported before that Dollar-Rent-a-Car in SLU was a $2,500 donor to Forward Seattle, the group that's trying to undo the city's new $15 minimum wage law.

Well, add another $5,000, which came in from CMC Investments on July 3. CMC owns Dollar-Rent-a-Car. CMC owner Doris Cassan is a big GOP donor, having contributed to Mitt Romney ($7,250), Dino Rossi, John Koster, Marco Rubio, and Republican Speaker U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) ($7,500).  

3. The micropark planned for Uptown in Queen Anne, one of now 12 that are in the pipeline as part of the city's parklet pilot program, is in fundraising mode

Now that microparks such as the Uptown edition are in the design phase, it's becoming easier to demonstrate that setting aside two parking spots for pedestrians rather than cars doesn't divert people from nearby businesses as some landlords have worried, derailing an approved micropark at 20th and Union, for example. No, the microparks will actually draw more people, though we'd certainly like to see more ping pong zones


With the bike parking plus benches and seating, I count nearly 20 spots here.

The Uptown parklet, located adjacent to SIFF Cinema is hoping to raise $20,000 to build the project.


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